Meet Sam and Emi Sakai, professional triathletes in love with Niseko

Sam and Emi Sakai have triathlon running through their blood and Niseko is their new summer love.

Niseko residents know that the Niseko summer is the ideal environment for training - whether as a runner, cyclist or triathlete...but the word is out on our little secret!

Local triathlete Jess Ripper has helped to put Niseko on the map in terms of international triathletes - and now we are seeing more and more people from around the world coming to take advantage of the incredible conditions here in Niseko.

The combination of temperate climate, uncrowded roads, incredible food, luxury accommodation and onsens make it a heaven for athletes - from beginners to pros.

Sam and Emi Sakai (who definitely fall into the "pro" category) tell us why they have fallen in love with Niseko.

Samemi Couple Yotei 2

Sam and Emi may have only been coming to Niseko for a couple of years, but they have already woven themselves into the fabric of summer here. With their smiling faces and relentless training, they are most certainly a welcome addition!

Experience Niseko: Please can you give our readers a little background into who you are?

Sam: Ha... I am not famous. My job is a Triathlon Coach. I am IRONMAN-U certified. I also act as a sales rep for some triathlon and endurance sportswear to retail stores. Maybe I'm also a professional amateur triathlete. :-)

Emi: I have been a professional triathlete since I graduated from University. It's been my professional career for almost 17 years now.

I have won the biggest Japanese Triathlon race three times - the All Japan Miyakojima Triathlon Strongman. This is tied for the record number of wins by one women. I will get one more title maybe I hope in 2017!

EN: What do you love so much about triathlon?

Sam: We are not sure but definitely triathlon is our Life and we can not live without it!

EN: What do you love so much about Niseko?

Emi: I did training a camp at Higashikawa Asahikawa city for many years until 2014. But we had the chance to do a training camp here in Niseko in 2015 and we were amazed. We couldn't believe there was such a great place as Niseko for both training and living. Beautiful nature, mountain views and potato flower - we love it like crazy! :-) Also the local residents are so kind - we made so many friends and fell in love with our new foreign friends!

EN: Why did you come to Niseko this time?

Sam: No need to explain. Niseko is the best place in the whole of Japan for training camp in the summer season.

EN: What would you say to people who are thinking about coming to train in Niseko? Why should they come here?

Sam: We have so many training locations here. For example, if you wan to go for a hilly ride, you can see so many mountains. If you want to go for a flat TT session, you can ride to the Toyoura area also. And do not forget we can get our water at Kutchan public pool and Niseko Alpen hotel too.

Samemi Emi Airi Swimming

EN: What about your Samemi brand... what does that mean and where can people buy it?

Sam: Ha ha... Samemi items are still not for sale anywhere. I only sell to my community by hand.

I am a super lazy business man... :-) "Samemi" has a very simple meaning: SAM and EMI's brand. Then I decided my brand is Samemi Endurance. It is 'General Store and Service to Triathlete by Triathlete', it is our policy.

EN: What are your upcoming races?

Emi: IRONMAN Taiwan on 2nd October and IRONMAN Busselton on 4th December.

Sam: IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships Sunshine Coast on 4th September and IRONMAN Hawaii World Championships on 8th October.

EN: Good luck! Do you have any plans to come back again soon to Niseko?

Sam and Emi: Definitely YES! We never been to here Niseko during the winter snow season. We are not snowsports athletes, so maybe we can not enjoy winter season at here! :-) But we have to try to see why winter athletes are so in love with Niseko with our own eyes! And of course we plan to return next summer!

You can learn more about Emi on her sponsor's blog at (Japanese only). Or you can follow Sam ( and Emi ( on Instagram.