While spring skiing in the Niseko resorts is available up until May, there are plenty of other activities in the area to enjoy, from the more gentle vegetable picking to more action options like cycling.
As the snow starts to melt, the rapids are at their highest and fastest and rafting is open from April.
The town of Niki, about 1 hour’s drive from Zaborin, has many vineyards and orchards – full of flowers blooming for their cherries, peaches and apples. Further on is Otaru, famous for its canals and old stone warehouses. Besides the historical streets, there are many restaurants specialising in fresh seafood – cooked or raw – as well as sweets that are Otaru specialities.
The cool summer climate is perfect for golf and cycling and there are several golf courses located near by, with stunning views of Mt Yotei and Annupuri Mountain range. Many world-class cycling competitions such as Niseko Classic (140km Union Cycliste Internationale event) and Niseko Hill Climb (16km climb on the road in front of Zaborin) are also held during summer season.
Picturesque Toya Lake is located only an hour away from Zaborin. Its “Windsor Great Peak of Toya” golf course offers stunning vistas and “Michel Bras Toya Japon” which was awarded two stars in the Michelin Hokkaido edition. We also recommend driving around Shakotan Peninsula known for its memorable seascapes and succulent sea urchin (in season in June and July).
With one of the shortest seasons for Momijigari (紅葉狩り) – red leaves viewing – in Japan, Hokkaido also has one of the most spectacular. Those lucky enough to time it just right, Zaborin in perfectly positioned in the midst of its own little wood, surrounded by beech and Japanese oak leaves of burnished gold and red, and an air cool, and crisp with warm woody fragrances.
The weather makes it an ideal time for trekking, with the obligatory post-walk soak. Those eager to try onsens beyond Zaborin, there are many in the local area, from secluded ones like Goshiki onsen to traditional ones like Konbu onsen.
There are also many trekking courses of varying levels near Zaborin: from an easy boardwalk strolls, the Shinsennuma swamp, to trekking through the ridges of the Annupuri mountain ranges, and many others.
If you are a whisky lover, we recommend you to visit Nikka Whisky Distillery made famous by a popular TV drama in Yoichi town, which is about 1 hour’s drive from Zaborin. Founder Masataka Taketsuru learnt his craft in Scotland in 19th century before introducing it to Japan. After completing his contract with Suntory, he opened his own distillery in Yoichi, because Hokkaido provided perfect conditions to make Scotch as he knew it. There is plenty to see as well as the opportunity to taste their world award winning whiskies.
Located in one of the snowiest region in the world, the Niseko resort is world-famous for its champagne light powder snow.
The Niseko resort encompasses Grand Hirafu, Hanazono, Niseko Village and Annupuri – all on Mount Annupuri and interconnected with an all mountain pass and includes almost 50 kilometres of ski runs. In addition to the many resorts of Annupuri, day trips to neighbouring Moiwa or Rusutsu are also popular.
Those less inclined to ski will enjoy visiting Otaru for the Candle lit path festival or Sapporo’s famous snow festival. Savour the winter delicacies of seafood and meats, such as local game.