Niseko: A winter wonderland

A photo essay by Chris Barnes (also see this  interview with Barnes)

Niseko is known as one of the best ski resorts in the world, famous for its almost endless supply of dry powder snow, its spectacular back country, and its accessibility from Sapporo. If mountain activities are not your thing, explore the surroundings of the area and it won’t be long before you appreciate Niseko as not only a world renowned resort, but also as a place of natural beauty.

Mt. Yotei in Hokkaido
Mt. Yotei, directly opposite the Niseko resort area, has a hypnotic way of showcasing its beauty. On a sunny day, it’s hard to take your eyes off such a spectacular mountain.


A holiday house in Hirafu village.
Hirafu village, at the foot of the Niseko resort area, is known for attracting a large number of foreign visitors and workers. The village is lined with spectacular holiday houses that are bustling with foreigners from early December through late March. Most of the houses remain vacant throughout summer.
A boarded up shed
Summertime in Niseko is a time when surrounding farms come to life. As the harsh winter approaches, farmers pack up their sheds and pray that they’ll survive the winter.


Back country terrain in Niseko
The Niseko resort back-country is considered some of the best and most easily accessible in the world. Iwanai, a coastal town just a 40-minute drive from Niseko, can be seen from the peak of Mt. Niseko/Annupuri.


Hirafu main intersection
The main intersection of Hirafu village.


Woods in Hirafu
You can find yourself lost in the woods, so to speak, a mere 10-minute walk from the bustling centre of Hirafu village. It’s not uncommon to see squirrels scattering along the snow, foxes slowly wandering around amongst the white Birch trees, or to hear the fascinating drumming of the Great Spotted Woodpecker.


Chris Barnes is a Gold Coast, Australia, based photographer currently traveling throughout Europe and East Asia. Find out more about Barnes and his work in this Hokkaido Explorer interview.

Originally posted 2013


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