Summer in Hokkaido is iconic for so many reasons: Furano has its rolling, Instagram-able lavender fields, Biei has its striking blue pond, and Shakotan has its stunning coastline. But many first-time visitors to Hokkaido may wonder what there is to experience in Niseko in the summertime. It might seem like there’s less to do than other places in the prefecture, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find endless activities and attractions in Niseko! Whether you’re a foodie, an adrenaline junky, a family man or someone looking to relax, there’s something to keep you busy all summer long. This is your guide to all-things summer in Niseko, broken down month-by-month so you can choose the best activities for your chosen stay dates.
Niseko is one of Hokkaido’s most active geothermal regions, with plenty of onsens to discover. After a long day of activities, visiting an onsen is the perfect way to unwind and pamper yourself.
Some of the most popular onsens in Niseko in Summer are:
EdVenture is one of Hokkaido’s most popular kids activities, running from June through to Autumn. Its week-long programs encourage kids to discover nature, grow their confidence, make new friends and develop their English skills. Days 1-3 of camp include fun activities like skateboard making, fruit picking, farm visits, rafting and tree planting. The final 2 days of camp take kids (and an accompanying parent) on an overnight camping trip to BBQ, play and learn new outdoor skills.
Niseko is a great place for cyclers, with a mix of road, gravel and mountain trails for all kinds of riders to try. The beautiful scenery, mild temperature and quiet roads make it perfect for cycle enthusiasts looking to get out into nature and explore the area by road.
Rafting is one of Niseko’s most popular activities, with visitors from all over Japan coming to experience the fun of rushing down the Shiribetsu river. In the green season, the river can be rafted on from as early as April (high water level), and as late as October (low water level).
There’s nothing more refeshing at the end of a hot summer day than a fresh, milky soft cream! While there are seemingly infinite places to drop into and grab a cone, there’s one place in Niseko that is worth the journey - Milk Kobo. The famous dairy farm produces all of its own milk and creates delicious sweets to enjoy onsite or to take home, such as cheese tarts, poundcakes, roll cakes and cream puffs. But the star of the show is the frosty soft cream, with its distinct dairy taste and bright white color.
Some of Hokkaido’s best produce comes from right here in Niseko, so naturally, many talented chefs have flocked to the area. You can taste delicious, fresh dishes made with seasonal ingredients all summer long, made by some of the best local and international culinary talent. Check out our restaurant guide for a full list of places to try.
The vibrant moss phlox (or shibazakura in Japanese) that blooms at Mr Mishima’s garden in Kutchan is a yearly event that even a veteran Niseko resident looks forward to. Rolling hills covered in bright pink, purple and white blooms with Mt Yotei in the background is a sight right out of a picture book, and one worth travelling for. Catch the flowers in full bloom in early June.
Speaking of flowers, another special time of year in Niseko is the blooming of lupine flowers. In a range of colors from pink and purple to orange and yellow, these magical-looking flowers spring up all over the area in June next to daisies and other wildflowers. Take a scenic drive, walk, or bicycle through the streets in June and you’re bound to see these unique blooms as you go.
The Niseko Classic race is a highlight of the summer events calendar in Niseko, where some of the world’s best cyclists come to compete in a road race through the Niseko mountain range. Held on a weekend, many smaller events are held around the race such as live music, children’s activities (including the annual Strider cup) and food stalls, making it a great time to visit and get in on the action. Applications to participate in the race also open earlier in the year, so if you are a keen cyclist, be sure to sign up and challenge yourself in the race!
Just like the legendary phenomenon of 逆さ富士 ('Sakasa Fuji' or ‘upside down Fuji’), Mt Yotei (also known as Ezo Fuji) can be gazed at in its stunning mirror form, called Sakasa Yotei. June is a great time to witness Sakasa Yotei, as rice farmers begin flooding their paddies, the winds are calm and the wintery clouds finally disperse. Head out into the farms in Kutchan, Niseko and Makkari on a nice day to take some beautiful photos of Sakasa Yotei!
As you can probably already tell, there are many different flowers to see in Niseko throughout summer! But the most iconic of these flowers is the potato flower, synonymous with Kutchan and its famous potato farms (so famous, in fact, the local mascot is a skiing potato!). In July, the growing potatoes, which are eventually harvested in Autumn, enter their blossoming phase and their above-ground leaves become dotted with cute pink and white flowers. On a drive through the farms around Niseko, you’ll see potato flowers as far as the eye can see.
HANAZONO Resort has two new additions to their summer activity lineup in 2022, including a mountain zipline and a nighttime light installation. The new zipline is one of Japan’s longest, and will have you zooming through the Niseko forest with incredible views of Mt Yotei. Mountain Lights will be a brand new installation by British light artist Bruce Munro. Munro has had popular exhibits all over the world, including installations in Australia, USA and Europe and now Niseko joins the list of his stunning light displays. Mountain Lights will be located underneath the new HANAZONO Symphony Gondola. Both activities open July 1st, 2022.
July is the hottest time of year in Niseko, so it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy the crystal clear lakes and rivers in the region. Cool off with a dip in the Shiribetsu river, which is calmer this time of year after the spring melt, or take a quick trip to Lake Toya and SUP in the blue water. On a nice day, you can even see Mt Yotei - the best view is from a canoe on the lake itself!
Japan’s favourite summer past time is BBQ! Pick up some tender meat and fresh, in-season vegetables from the local markets and spend the afternoon relaxing, chatting and eating with loved ones. July is a great time to BBQ as the afternoons are nice and warm, vegetables are in season (pick some up at Niseko View Plaza!) and BBQ rentals are readily available at your accommodation.
The Kutchan Jaga Matsuri is Niseko’s biggest summer festival, and celebrates a healthy potato harvest and the unique community of the area. In classic matsuri fashion, expect to see food stalls, parades, games, activities and of course, fireworks! This is a great event for spending an afternoon in town with family.
Did you know that there’s a special kind of golf that originated in Hokkaido? Park golf is a unique hybrid sport of croquet and golf, and is one of the most popular sports for どうみん (people from Hokkaido) to play in the warmer months. As you drive through the countryside, you’ll see signs for park golf everywhere! It’s easy to pick up and fun to play in a group, so try it in August when you’re in Niseko at Asahigaoka or Niseko Athletic Park.
As the heat becomes less intense in August, the ideal time to go hiking emerges. Niseko is blessed with many hiking trails, from challenging summits like Shiribetsu-dake or the majestic Mt Yotei, to relaxed nature walks like Shinsen-numa or the Asahigaoka trails. With well-tracked paths, a gentle climate and stunning views throughout the journey, hiking in Niseko is one of the best ways to enjoy summer.
Hokkaido is known as the ‘wild’ prefecture in Japan, teeming with untouched nature and wildlife. Niseko is no different, with the summer season bringing the peak time to go animal watching. Some animals you are bound to see this time of year include the kita kitsune or northern red fox, the great spotted woodpecker (Niseko Town’s mascot), Ezo deer and squirrels.
Which activities are you excited to try on your summer trip to Niseko? If you’re looking for more inspiration for your holiday planning, check out our itinerary guides, or visit our Summer Services page for a full list of additions our team can assist you with.