Niseko in Hokkaido was long known as the powder mecca of Japan domestically, and it was only in the 1990s when murmurs began circulating of it being an untapped skiing Shangri-La. Today, it has evolved into a laidback and internationally recognised haven for outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, adrenaline junkies, culture vultures and gourmet travellers.
Niseko Village sits within the Niseko United ski area that accesses inter-linked ski resorts boasting a combined 2,191 acres of skiable terrain, and strategically located at the base of Mount Niseko Annupuri offering award-winning hotels with spa and onsen facilities, a dining and retail village hub, luxury residences, an international snow school and alpine activities. In summer, the resort transforms into a popular destination with world-class golf courses, an outdoor nature park and a host of active pursuits. Set in stunning landscapes of timeless beauty all year round, Niseko Village is always in season.
NISEKO MOUNTAIN RANGE
Niseko is blessed with mountain ranges including Mount Yotei, also called Ezo Fuji or the Mount Fuji of Hokkaido, that rises majestically across the Shiribetsu River and Mount Niseko Annupuri on the eastern side. In 1963, Niseko was designated as a protected area within the Niseko-Shakotan-Otaru Kaigan Quasi-National Park and is characterised by ancient caldera lakes, clean rivers and undulating farm fields. Lying close to the Sea of Japan and Uchiura Bay, Niseko enjoys a cornucopia of fresh seafood and is just a short trip away to coastal seaports.
THE NISEKO STORY
In 1894, the indigenous Ainu-Kaributo tribe people knew Niseko as Kaributo before first settlers arrived in the 19th century. Hardships endured by the settlers living in triangular wood and foliage shacks included rice as a luxury enjoyed twice a year due to scarcity. Daily locally grown staples were potatoes, sweet corn, millet, mountain vegetables and yamame, a trout-like river fish, until a railway connected the once remote town. On 1 October 1964, Kaributo was renamed Niseko, originating from the Ainu word 'Nisekoan' to mean ‘a sheer cliff jutting over a riverbank deep in the mountains'.
In 1897, Takeshi Arishima first received a government land loan but soon returned it due to hardships until 1908 when it was given again. Succeeding this time, he transferred ownership to his son, Takeo Arishima, and named it Arishima Farm. Takeo Arishima strongly believed that natural resources should not be privatised but shared by people who work the land to create stronger ties. In 1922, Arishima made history when he renounced ownership, offering each tenant 450 hectares for free, shaping Niseko's agriculture future where until today, local farmers remain as passionate about their crops.