The Complete Guide to Niseko Summer Activities
Niseko is an outdoor lover's paradise with a huge range of summer activities.
Whether you're an athlete, an adventurer, a gourmet traveller, or simply trying to keep your kids happy for the duration of your holiday, the Niseko summer truly has something for everyone. We've put together a comprehensive list of summer activities, all of which you can try in and around Niseko.
Niseko’s Shiribetsu River is the destination for some of the best whitewater rafting in Asia. A melting snowpack creates an exhilarating spring rafting experience, which becomes a little more mellow and relaxed during the summer. Expect stunning alpine scenery, gorgeous seasonal colours and crystal clear water.
Avid golfers looking for a round at one of Asia's most scenic and challenging courses should look no further than the Niseko Village Golf Course, which was named Japan's Best Golf Course at the World Golf Awards in 2014.
The Arnold Palmer-designed Niseko Golf Course and the Niseko Tokyu Golf Course are similarly world-class, challenging courses set to a breathtaking Mt. Yotei backdrop.
Niseko has a very active local cycling community, and it's not hard to see why. Quiet roads, mild summer temperatures and attractive country landscapes make for a perfect road cycling environment.
Niseko also has a busy cycling events calendar, the pinnacle of which is The Niseko Classic, held in July each year.
After the winter season has ended, Niseko's Grand Hirafu ski resort is transformed into an exciting downhill mountain biking course, accessed by the Hirafu high-speed gondola.
Niseko Hanazono also has several areas for beginner and intermediate riders (of all ages) to develop their skills.
There are several beautiful spots around Niseko to enjoy kayaking, including the spectacular Shirabetsu River or the Oshoro Bay of Otaru. Kayaking is a fantastic family activity and an even better way to take in some of the Hokkaido's natural scenery.
For an experience like no other, try sea kayaking in the nearby Shaoktan Peninsula, famous for the mesmerising colour of its water known as "Shakotan blue".
There are tennis courts all over the place in Niseko, many with unimpeded views of Mt. Yotei and the surrounding mountains. The 5 courts at the Izumikoyo 2 complex are open from late May to late October and offer racquet hire.
Park golf is an easier, shorter, more relaxed version of the more traditional game. One club is sufficient for the entire round, and the balls and holes are much bigger.
Park golf is a popular activity for families and friends during the Niseko summer, and there are a number of courses in the area.
Hiking and walks
Niseko is surrounded by mountains and natural hiking terrain, with a variety of trails to suit all tastes and abilities. Most of the mountains around Niseko and throughout Japan have set courses and maps. Some of the courses are short, lasting about an hour while others can be broken into several days. A must for hiking enthusiasts is the hike up the majestic Mount Yotei. It has several trails heads culminating in a trail around the caldera at the top. The unforgettable views from the peak shouldn't be missed.
Horse riding is one of the more relaxing ways to see the Niseko countryside. Niseko Horse operate in Niseko Village and cater to budding riders of all ages and abilities. It's a wonderful way to spend a day out in Niseko and one that you won't forget.
If jumping off waterfalls, swimming through crystal clear mountain water and jetting down whitewater rapids sounds appealing, then canyoning is the activity for you. It's a thrilling experience and you'll get to see some of the best scenery Hokkaido has to offer. Tour operators run canyoning trips to a number of places near Niseko, including the Sakazuki river, which is surrounded by oaks, maples and wild flowers.
The Shirabetsu river is home to a variety of freshwater fish, including rainbow trout and cherry salmon, which can be caught from June onwards. No license is required to fish in Hokkaido. For those in need of some local knowledge, there are a number of operators in the area, including the Niseko Outdoor Center and NOASC.
Head out under the Niseko moonlight and experience a exciting new world of sights, sounds, smells while in search of the elusive Niseko stag beetle. Kids Night Trekking adventures are organized by the Niseko Adventure Center (NAC) and run from July 9 to August 23.
The nighttime trek is suitable for children of all ages, however kids under 6 years old must be accompanies by an adult.
Test your nerves on a Zip Line Tour at PURE at Niseko Village, which involves flying through the air at breathtaking heights while attached to a pulley-mounted cable. The course totals 1.4 kilometres in length and is the longest in Japan. There are family-friendly tours available for those after a more relaxed experience.
The tree trekking course at Pure at Niseko Village is a forest adventure for kids (and adults) of all ages. Fly along the treetops on an environmentally friendly setup consisting of zip lines, hanging bridges and nets. And don’t forget to take in the view!
Inflatable parks are just as fun as they sound! Filled with giant obstacles, mazes and slides, they're the ultimate playground and will have your kids smiling for days. Try the PURE Adventure Park at Niseko Village or the Hanafuwu Inflatable Park in Niseko Hanazono.
There’s no better test of balance than slacklining, which is similar to tightrope walking and involves walking between two fixed points on a piece of tubular webbing. There’s also no better place to try it out than in the safety Niseko Hanazono’s facility, where the line is suspended three metres in the air above a giant air-filled cushion called the Bagjump. Find out if you were made for the circus by making it from one end to the other and, if not, enjoy the comfy landing!
Thanks to its growing international popularity as one of the world's best ski destinations, Niseko has developed a vibrant eating and drinking scene over the last ten years. And while the warmer months are undoubtedly quieter than the busy snow season, they are nonetheless a great time to try some of the region's best cuisine—when much of Hokkaido's famously tasty produce is in season.
A trip to Japan represents a wonderful opportunity to try authentic Japanese food, and for this there is no better venue than Niseko newcomer An Dining (Ki Niseko's in-house restuarant), which is spearheaded by celebrity chef Shinichi Maeda. Maeda's goal is to support local farms and businesses by using much local produce as possible, which he then transforms into the exquisite Izakaya-style dishes you'll find on your plate at An Dining.
Barbecues are an iconic Niseko pastime, and the smell of freshly charred meat and vegetables is never far away during summer. In a place know for its fresh, seasonal produce, tasty beer and favourable climate, there's no better way to spend a Niseko summer day.
Ice cream making
There’s nothing better than a cold, refreshing ice cream on a hot summer day, especially when it’s made using freshly squeezed milk and top quality Hokkaido ingredients. Sign up for an ice cream making workshop in Niseko with Saison Club, where you’ll be rewarded sweetly for your efforts!
There are numerous farms around Niseko where you can try your hand at fruit picking, which is an enjoyable family activity, not to mention a healthy way to see the great outdoors. Best of all, when you're done you can gorge yourself on fresh, juicy, fruity goodness!
Niseko Outdoor Center offers year-round 2 hour jam making classes, which you may be best off scheduling once you're back from your fruit picking adventure. It's a great family activity for the rare cloudy or rainy Niseko day, and you'll have a healthy spread for your morning toast for the remainder of the trip.
Soba noodle making
Hokkaido is an agricultural hotspot and attracts foodies from all over the world, who visit for the fresh farm produce, abundant seafood and fascinating food history and culture. Add to the culinary experience by signing up for a Soba noodle-making class, run by the Niseko Outdoor Center (NOC). Using Niseko’s pristine water, you’ll learn to make Soba noodles by hand under the expert guidance of the NOC team. Noodles will never taste as good!