Niseko: The Established Japanese Ski Spot Sharpening Up Its Act
Where to stay?
It’s got to be the new Setsu Niseko hotel. Located in a prime position, just a short stroll from the vibrant Main Street, it serves as an ideal base for those looking to enjoy the town’s cultural delights while having a calming oasis to return to. The real showstopper, however (aside from the spa treatments, brought to life through a collaboration with award-winning skincare brand Lapidem Tokyo), is the dining offering, comprising five dazzling in-house destination restaurants. Michelin-starred chefs plate up fresh and seasonally sourced seafood in a contemporary chop house; all-day gastros showcase European-inspired classics; and a traditional Japanese eatery offers forkfuls of mouthwatering ramen. The cherry on the cake? An in-house ski rental service sees an attentive team sorting lift passes and tailored lessons for newbies.
Where to go for dinner?
Few things are more satisfying than tearing off your helmet and settling down for a feast in some snow-buried bothie, but there’s also a lot to be said for heading back to base, scrubbing up and indulging in a cozy dining space. The Barn by Odin, designed to reflect a traditional Hokkaido farmhouse, dishes up bistro-style cuisine in a setting characterized by high, wooden ceilings, floor-to-roof windows and enormous communal tables. Snag the soul-warming tartiflette – all creamy potatoes, smoked bacon and onion topped with nutty Reblochon cheese – alongside an extra-large serving of fries, too, obvs. There’s also a top-notch veggie menu on standby.
And for a drink…
If there’s one thing more important than ensuring you’ve buckled up your ski boots correctly, it’s hunting down the hottest après spots. When it comes to securing an Aperol, visitors to Niseko are spoiled for choice. There’s the speakeasy-style Bar Gyu+, where a quirky entrance necessitates crawling through a fridge door, and the Powder Room, the resort’s first-ever nightclub, where killer cocktails are served and DJs take to the decks. Also check out Niseko Taproom, whose craft ales are renowned among local circles as some of the best in Japan.