While Niseko boasts many options for touring or in-bounds riding, it’s not the Japan we came to see. The base area of Niseko might as well be Aspen or Vail, just with a few more noodle options and Australians. Additionally, with so many Westerners flocking to the area (us included) English is widely spoken and businesses accommodate to travellers. It’s too easy and comfortable, taking the adventure out of the whole experience.
However, I must admit it after two weeks of not having a real cup of coffee it was great to find this small coffee shop, Honda Coffee, in Niseko.
And if you do end up going out for a night in Niseko, the Fridge door bar is a must. It was great to see three of my local breweries’ stickers on the door!
We’ve found Furano to be more of our speed. Furano is surrounded by farmland and the Daisetsuzan National Park, the largest national park in Japan. You never really know if the place you’re walking into has an English menu or how much English is spoken by the staff. Go outside the city into some of the smaller towns and it’s almost a sure bet ordering dinner will be a challenge. But don’t let this deter you, because it’s those places off the beaten path that you’ll always remember.
After a few days of constant snow, the rain crust was buried and we found ourselves back on the skintrack riding some of the deepest powder yet!
There are a lot of great touring opportunities in this area. For lift-assisted options, there’s Asahidake, Kurodake, and now Furano Resort thru their newly established backcountry gates. If you want to hike, head over to the Tokachi area. Either way you choose, you’re bound to find some good snow and a great onsen to soak those tired legs.