Niseko’s Green Season

A place of natural beauty, outdoor excitement, the freshest food, and soothing hot springs, the Niseko area is renowned as a getaway where one can enjoy the best of Japan’s pristine northern territory. Well known for its world-class skiing and snowboarding, Niseko continues to delight Japanese and international travellers during winter.

It’s no coincidence that conditions for a great winter resort also make for a great summer destination. Long a popular destination for Japanese travellers, Niseko’s green season is becoming increasing popular globally for its comfortable summer climate and combination of scenery, activities, food and facilities.

William Jefferson

MT YOTEI 

Also known as Ezo Fuji for its resemblance to Mt. Fuji (Ezo is the traditional name for Hokkaido) Yotei is the centrepiece of Niseko’s landscape. Its distinct outline is visible from afar, and on approach reveals a different profile depending on the aspect.

Rising abruptly from relatively low surroundings (100m-300m), the slopes of this 1,898m stratovolcano proceed through the four seasons somewhat of their own volition. Winter comes earlier and endures longer on its summit than its flanks, which in turn progress at their own pace in relation to the valleys below. Passage to Mt. Yotei’s rugged summit begins at one of the four established points in Hirafu, Makkari, Kyogoku, or Kimobetsu, allowing access to the crater rim hiking trail and a hut for overnight stay.

KOYO 

Diverse flora throughout the Niseko Range offer some of the most impressive displays of autumn colour in Japan. A network of roads lead to pristine mountain forests where birch, maple, Japanese rowan and other deciduous vegetation cover the slopes and valleys.

Beginning in late September, rich red and yellow leaves, bright white birch bark, and deep green sasa foliage layer the landscape to create unique and stunning views. A 30-40km section of Route 66 known as the Niseko Panorama Line is the
main artery through the Niseko Range with smaller roads branching off into more remote areas. Roadside parking areas and a visitor center at Shinsen Numa offer options for getting out of the car to enjoy scenic vantage points.

PONDS AND WETLANDS 

Nature enthusiasts flock to the alpine ponds and wetlands within the
Niseko Range. Shinsen Numa, Oyu Numa and Kagami Numa are
among the most popular, with boardwalks that meander across the
marshlands and along the edge of the ponds.

Buried under metres of snow for half the year, fields of bright yellow
lilies, wispy cottongrass and various wildflowers emerge in late spring,
decorating the landscape and creating unique alpine nature viewing.

Shinsen Numa

In the 1920’s, boy scout leader Toyomatsu Shimoda bushwhacked his way to the network of ponds and declared it “a place where Gods and mountain spirits reside”. Shinsen Numa offers the full spectrum of the natural alpine environment including seasonal wildflowers, mirror ponds, and autumn colours.

Oyu Numa

A bubbling cauldron of hot spring water and mud, Oyu Numa provides an above ground view of the region’s mostly subterranean thermal riches. This pond is easily accessible via a 100m path from the parking area. Prime viewing is in autumn, when cooler temperatures create a striking juxtaposition of billowing steam clouds and bright autumn foliage.

Kagami Numa

The trail to Kagami Numa (“mirror pond”) can be rough in places, but it goes through beautiful forest and rewards you with picturesque views of the surroundings reflected in the pond’s still surface. The trail head is the closest to Hirafu, and can also be reached from the Tokyu Golf Course parking lot.

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