Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Niseko Trip Report -- Days One and Two

Hi everyone!  We're back!  Our trip to Niseko, Japan, was pretty great.  We arrived at Chitose Airport at just after 3 pm on Wednesday (Japan being an hour ahead of Hong Kong) and we were immediately whisked away in a private van by our impatient driver.  The ride from the airport to Hirafu Village took two hours through climbing, winding hills.  However, we were blessed with very clear roads and good weather, as this same journey can take up to four hours in snow or bad conditions. 
We stayed in an apartment at the Freshwater, which was really nice, its only flaw being slightly thin walls.  It was a two bedroom apartment with an attached en suite studio, a big kitchen with dishwasher (yay!), a jacuzzi tub and separate washer dryer.  The trend continues where we stay at much nicer places than where we live... We were blessed with a beautiful unobstructed view of Mount Yotei, which I understand is not always possible because when it snows visibility is not good.
The pictures above were actually taken the next morning.  On our first night, we could not ski because we arrived at just after 6 and night skiing stops at 8:30 in Niseko.  Instead we headed to Abu-Cha-2, a popular ikazaya in the Hirafu Village that serves lots of drinks and food.  
 Typical of Japan, no one even batted an eye at the huge plush teddy bear that was sitting at the bar.
 They had a ton of whiskeys and sakes and beer.
 The place was bigger than it looked.  There was a very rowdy and slightly sloppy wedding celebration happening in the main front room, and then lots of families and groups eating at tables throughout the back.
We ordered a refreshing radish and shiso salad to start, some yakitori skewers, a delicious salmon hot pot, and a delicious beef sukiyaki pot (last one not pictured). 

 The next day we rented our ski gear and headed for the slopes. We didn't have as early of a start on Thursday because I had a pesky call that ran for nearly three hours.  Unbelievable!  But thankfully then it was done and there was not much immediate follow up.
As you can see, there wasn't that much fresh snow during our trip.  We had a nice lunch at the Lookout Cafe near the mountain peak.
 This is the sweet view from the restaurant.

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