First Sprouts of Spring
The beautiful contrast between the snow-capped mountains of Niseko and spring greens is a sight (and taste!) not to be missed.
Throughout April, small sprouts can be spotted as they slowly push through the snow to change the scenery in Niseko from white to green. Many of these plants can only be found in Hokkaido and taste amazing both raw and cooked. Here are some of the plants which you may see around town during this spring and are well worth the pick!
Fukinoto, otherwise known as Japanese Butterbur is a common mountain vegetable which grows throughout Hokkaido. They are often the first signs of spring for locals as they appear from the ground in mass. So far, they have only been spotted along the roads but will soon appear at the bottom of mountains and fields. Fukinoto has a unique taste and is often prepared as tempura or in a stir fry seasoned with miso.
Easily identified by its long green leaves, Ainu Negi (Gyoja Ninniku) is a type of wild garlic which makes a great addition to salads and is used to season meats. It grows mainly in Hokkaido and can often be found in shaded parts of forest around Niseko.
Tara no Me
Tara no Me is also nicknamed the "The Devil's Walking Stick" due to its unusual thorny stem. The plant is found in shaded parts of the forest close to well drained slopes. Similar to Fukinoto, Tara no Me is a great vegetable to enjoy as a tempura dish after removing its tough base and outer layer.
Yachibuki, otherwise known as Marsh Marigold, can be spotted growing close to the Shiribetsu River in spring. Yachibuki grow in large groups and is prepared by blanching to removing the bitter taste or made into a paste with miso and served over rice.
These are only a few of the plants which are shooting up in Niseko. With ski slopes operating until the end of May, make the most of this spring by skiing on the mountains whilst also enjoying some of Hokkaido's freshest plant produce.
Love yourself a bit of nature? See when Hokkaido's famous cherry blossoms will bloom this spring.