From white water rafting on the Shiribetsu river or stand-up paddling at nearby Lake Toya to mountain biking down volcanic slopes or playing golf at the 18-hole Niseko Golf Course, there are plenty of ways to entertain yourself during the warmer months.
With its elevated rope courses, zip-lines, free-fall platforms, bouncy slides and horse rides, the recreational park PURE provides a wonderful day out for the whole family.
Come spring, the snowmelt raises the water levels of the Shiribetsu River by almost two metres, making it ideal for white water rafting. A 12 km-long course runs from Hirafu Station to Niseko Station across what is known to be Japan’s cleanest river. Although it will take you past several exciting challenges, the course is easy enough to navigate while enjoying the valley’s stunning beauty.
The 18-hole, 73 par Niseko Village Golf Course is seen as the jewel in the crown of Hokkaido’s golf scene, thanks to its excellent facilities and the area’s dry and pleasant summer. With the photogenic Mount Yotei in the background, we really can’t think of a better place for practising your shots and improving your handicap.
Indeed, regularly hosting Japan’s largest cycling race, the ‘Tour de Hokkaido’, Hirafu is a much-loved cycling destination thanks to its stunning landscape, comfortable summers and a massive variety of cycling trails.
Looking at its well-developed infrastructure and the sheer number of international visitors, it might be hard to believe that the wider Niseko area was once better known for its potatoes than for its powder. Relive its starchy past by hiring a scooter and driving through some of its vast rice paddies and buckwheat farmlands. Close your eyes and feel the wind in your hair. Be sure to visit one of the many farmers’ markets on the way and sample delicious fresh local produce.