This was an article I wrote for Magazine Issue 32 | Feb/March 2017.

There’s always a lot happening in Hirafu, but there’s so much more to see and do in the greater Niseko area. Immerse yourself and experience life as a local by hiring a car from Pro Earth Rentacar and tour to some of Niseko’s not so well known attractions. We got ourselves an Audi Q7 and were able to enjoy the sights and sounds in total comfort.

Arishina Memorial Art Musuem

Located on the outskirts of Niseko Town, this art and historical museum allows guests to view local and regional art pieces as well as ancient artifacts from the Jomon period found in the area. Enjoy the view from the top of the spire and look across the farmlands. When you reach the ground floor, refresh yourself with artisan drip coffee; a popular way to prepare coffee in Japan.

Niseko View Plaza

The heart of Niseko’s farming community can be found right here at the “Niseko View Plaza”. Hand crafted cuisine, souvenirs and farm-fresh produce, all in one place. The best part is that everything is made from locally grown crops, and the produce even identifies the farmer that tended the fields.

Ostrich Farm

One of Niseko’s more unique farming enterprises, this Ostrich Farm makes and sells Ostrich Sausages which are very rare in Japan. With a visit to this scenic farm, you will be able to catch a glimpse of a working farm in Niseko, as well as seeing a herd of Ostrich – the largest bird on earth. Truly one of the most unique experiences in Niseko.

Rusutsu Onsen

Bathing in an Onsen is one of the most popular pastimes in Japan, and one that every visitor to Japan should experience. The Rusutsu Onsen is one of the very few that is 100% naturally heated, and naturally flowing. As the water flows underground, it is warmed by the thermal heat from subterranean lava flows. The cost of entry is only 200 yen, which is only used to cover the cost of cleaning the baths.

Makkari Flower Center

The Makkari area is well known for it’s colourful flower fields during the summer months, and you can find flowers and plants for sale inside the Makkari Flower center. You can also find dedications to local hero “Takashi Hosokawa”, a famous Japanese singer who grew up in the area. Enjoy a crepe, ice-cream or coffee from the stall right outside – all made from locally sourced ingredients.

Second Hand Store

Largely unknown, this barn-style second hand store is a treasure trove of hidden gems. When locals move house, or run out of space most of the unwanted items end up here. Get lost amongst the antique wares or grab yourself a bargain souvenir.