One of the best parts of experiencing summer in Japan is the festivals and events that seem to dot the calendar every weekend throughout the warmer months. Referred to as ‘matsuri’ in Japanese, these events celebrate anything from a local shrine’s special day to praying for a good harvest. These lively and community-oriented gatherings are reason enough to make the trip up north in the summertime! Here are our top picks for festivals in the Niseko area this summer season.
Niseko has become a great place to retreat the harsh humidity of summer and enjoy the great outdoors - especially on a bike! With multiple races and fun events being held over July and August, it’s the perfect time to get some exercise, challenge yourself or enjoy the festivities around these exciting races.
With 6 races over 2 days, the Niseko Classic bike race event is a huge feature in the Niseko summer calendar. Now part of the UCI Grand Fondo World Series, the event has grown from a local meetup each year to an international recognised biking event, with a 15km Time Trial and 40/80/140km Yotei Funride on the Saturday, and a 70/140km Road Race on the Sunday.
The Hanazono Hill Climb is held in August around the Kutchan Jaga Festival, and starts in Kutchan town, eventually making its way to Hanazono getting gradually steeper. The perfect oppurtunity for a physical challenge, this race is an exciting addition to the fun of the local festival!
Kids can participate too in the Strider Enjoy Cup, a fun race for little ones on bicycles that use just the legs to push. It’s very easy for preschool-aged children and encourages them to develop balance, leaning and steering - all while having the time of their life!
When? Niseko Classic: 6/7th July 2019, Hanazono Hill Climb: 4th August 2019, Strider Enjoy Cup: 14th July 2019
With gorgeous scenery and calming landscapes, having a yoga festival in the beautiful summer environment of Niseko is a no-brainer!
Workshops, mindfulness activities and group lessons will be held over the course of the festival, so come and enjoy a peaceful weekend connecting to the earth and the inner self.
When? 26/27/28th July
Arguably the biggest summer festival in the Niseko area is the Kutchan Jaga Festival, celebrating the town’s proudest produce - the humble potato. It’s held to congratulate the community on another successful harvest and to wish for another, with games, musical performances, parades and of course, plenty of delicious food! Make sure to be there for the taiko drumming and nighttime fireworks - they’re not to be missed.
When? 3/4th August 2019
Held in Niseko’s hub of Hirafu, the annual festival will be endless fun with games, market stalls, live music, fireworks and amazing food provided by locals. Come to Sunsports to see the town come alive with community spirit and meet others in the area!
When? 24th August 2019
Now in it’s second year after a successful premiere in 2018, the Niseko Autumn Food Festival is back this September! It will feature thoughtfully created dishes crafted by local restaurants, focusing on delicious in-season ingredients. Staying true to its reputation as an emerging foodie destination, Niseko’s scene includes Michelin starred restaurants such as Kamimura and local favourites like Bar Gyu+ and BangBang likely to return to exhibit the freshest in autumn produce.
When? September 12th - 15th
You can see a full list of What’s On in Niseko this summer here.