It's official - Japan borders open from October 11th
Autumn. For most storm-chasers it’s just the season before winter, when the air gets colder, the colours around the mountains change and the first snow on Mt. Yotei begins to appear.
But for the locals in Niseko, the Autumn season is much more than just the calm before the storm. For us, it is the perfect chance to start getting in shape again for the months of shredding and powder-chasing to come, and it’s also one of the best times of year to enjoy some of the most beautiful scenes that nature in Niseko has to offer, something most visitors that come here unfortunately do not get to see.
Speaking with locals who have lived for years in Niseko, it seems like Autumn is one of their favourite seasons in Niseko, and with good reason. Due to the weather cooling down and the beautiful colours in the mountains, for many of the locals living here, Autumn is the season of hiking!
One of the best things about living in Niseko is that we are surrounded by mountains, and each mountain has hiking trails. And lots of them. In fact, there are more hiking trails in Niseko than we could hope to count, from easy walks to Hangetsu, the lake at the foot of Mt. Yotei, to more challenging hikes like the summit of Mt. Yotei itself and every level in-between!
One of the local favourite hikes is over Annupuri, one of the mountains many visitors in the winter would only recognise if covered completely in snow. In the Autumn however, Annupuri offers panoramic views and vivid colours all around.
The hike itself is not as challenging as it first appears, and most people can hike this mountain at a steady pace without any problems at all. For the more adventurous hikers, you can start in Grand Hirafu and hike through to Annupuri, a more challenging hike but well worth the rewards.
For those looking for just a day hike, starting from the Annupuri car park you can summit in under 3 hours, and the whole trip car park to peak and back should only take about 5 hours for even the slower hikers.
When locals don’t have the time for a hike, or if they’re feeling sore from the previous days hike or trail run, then luckily there is also plenty of serenity to be had in Niseko in Autumn as well. On of the locals favourite places to just sit and enjoy the moment is Fukidashi Koen, a park just outside of Kyogoku town, about 15 minutes driving from Kutchan. This park is actually home to a natural spring, where you can collect and drink some of the best tasting drinking water in the world and is also where Seicomart source their spring water from for bottling in Hokkaido!
This location is a great place to sit and enjoy the tranquility of nature in Niseko, and no one would blame you if you wanted to stay for a picnic as well. Another benefit to watching the world pass by here is that it is only a short 50m walk from Kyogoku onsen, which is the perfect place to sit and soak if the weather starts to turn too cold or if you have been on your feet all day, hiking or walking through the natural beauty of this amazing place we call home.
Whether hiking through the mountains, or spending time reading at Shinsennuma or Kagaminuma overlooking the natural ponds, or even just walking with loved ones through the giant trees that surround the walking paths at Yotei Nature Park in Makkari town, one is reminded of the natural beauty that exists in Autumn and we wonder what it would be like if Autumn lasted a bit longer… But then we remember that as much as we love it, we love the winter more. After all, that’s why we’re here. That won’t stop us from recommending coming to Niseko in the Autumn though, because if you do have the chance, you will not regret it.
Contact us today to learn more about autumn in Niseko.
Japan borders are open & getting here is easier than you think! Check out the NISADE Guide to getting you to Japan this winter.
2022 Niseko Autumn Food Festival showcases Niseko’s finest restaurants and bars dishing up delicious delights, join us in Niseko Hirafu 15-18 September.