Summer in Hokkaido is mild compared to other parts of Japan. Many Japanese would come up north and stay in Niseko for a few months to escape the summer heat. With Niseko becoming an all year destination, it is good to see that the public infrastructure is improving as well. One of the most iconic Japanese icon, the Shinkansen or also known to the world as the bullet train has arrived in Hokkaido with services connecting Tokyo and Hakodate city started in March 2016. The construction already started to continue the Shinkansen track all the way to Sapporo city with Kutchan station, the main train hub for Niseko visitors, to be one of the stop along the way.
Although it will be awhile for it to be completed in 2030, travelling between Sapporo, Niseko, Hakodate and Tokyo will become a lot more convenient and faster. It provide visitors a superb alternative to go to Tokyo for approximately the same amount of time removing the inconveniences getting to the airport, transferring trains, lugging luggage between places, checking-in and waiting for the flight. Japan Rail Pass holders will definitely love it!
The summer night bus (also known as Kutchan night-go-bus) between Kutchan station and Grand Hirafu, the largest of the four resorts, has been running for some years now during the busiest summer holiday period in July and August. Our good friends at Niseko Promotional Board has done a wonderful job of making bus timetable each summer and winter in English to make it really easy for our international visitors. Please find the timetable for summer 2019 on the link below
The buses would have the destination written in English at the front of the bus. While in Kutchan, why not try a local favourite Torimatsu which is featured by the late Anthony Bourdain in his TV show “No Reservation”?
Introduced in summer 2018, there is now a bus service between Kutchan and Lake Toya (Toyako in Japanese). Lake Toya is one of the largest volcanic caldera lake in Japan and one of the most recognizable tourist spot in Hokkaido. There is one service each day one to Lake Toya and one from Lake Toya, running everyday from 24 July to 18 August 2019 and on selected dates from August 24 to 16 September 2019. For more information please visit Niseko Tourism website.
Photos courtesy of Lake Toya Official Instagram
Top things to do in Lake Toya:
- Visit hot springs / onsen.
In Hokkaido Lake Toya, Jozankei and Noboribetsu are perhaps the most well known for hot springs. Take a relaxing dip at one of the many around the Lake Toya accommodation district.
- See fireworks
From April 28th to October 31st 2019 at 20:45 daily, you can enjoy fireworks display (weather permiting). Please visit Lake Toya Tourist Association website for more details.
- Canoeing and hiking
If you rent your own canoe you can paddle to Nakajima island in the middle of the lake and it is quite a nice easy hiking area the shortest course only take an hour and the longest course is a few hours long.
Thinking to visit Niseko in summer? Vacation Niseko is proud to introduce Midtown Niseko, our brand new hotel with budget traveler in mind. Midtown Niseko is scheduled to open in August 2019 offer twin or triple room options with en-suite bathroom. It also have shared kitchen area . Please contact our Niseko reservation specialist using the button below or visit Midtown Niseko website here.