The debate about which country has the best ski slopes will continue to rage around alpine fireplaces well after the Moscow Mules run dry ( It’s Japan by the way) but one thing not up for debate even from the Canadians is who rules the after slope hot-tub experience. That is safely in Japan’s and also probably Niseko’s hands.
Thanks to sitting on one of the world’s largest fault lines Japan is blessed with an endless supply of mineral rich volcanic water and they make the most of with their very rich onsen culture. The history of onsens dates back to at least 712 AD with the first recorded use being on the small island of Shikoku down near Osaka. Word spread quickly of their health benefits and onsens maintain their rightful place as an important aspect of Japanese culture.
The average 40 degree temperatures and rich mineral content are the perfect combination to relieve tired stressed and sometimes cold bodies and and I’m sure you will agree any story told in an onsen becomes infinitely more interesting.
If your new to onsens to worth taking the time to get to know some of the etique around their use and remember to be a little quiet in your conversation and manner once inside. The website below has some great tips on how to get the most out of the onsen experience.
So here is Niseko Chiropractic’s Top 5 onsens around Niseko selected for their amazing views, value for money and likeness to a true Japanese onsen experience.
You will need a car for most of these and winter conditions can make some journeys are little challenging so check the local weather often and seek advice from your hotel reception before heading out.
The following are in no particular order.
5. Goshiki Hot Springs
If you like your onsens hot, traditional, on mountain tops with that rich sulphur smell then Goshiki Hot springs was made for you.
As and added bonus it’s located at the start of many of the Anapuri hiking trials and is a very well deserved treat after blazing some of the steep but spectacular walking trails above Niseko which if you are here in Summer is not to be missed.
4. Hot spring yukichichibu
Located high above Niseko just below the Goshiki hot springs this likes its twin above can be little dodgy during the heavy snowfalls of the winter months but those that brave the journey are rewarded with a truly remarkable Onsen experience.
Yukichichibu is Niseko Chiropractic’s personal recommendation for a traditional Onsen experience.
Yukichichibu features a mud bath for ladies and is located near a natural volcanic pond with the strong sulphuric scent that reminds you that this is a very special place. The water here has a very high mud and mineral content so this is an onsen that matches it’s onsight ramen. Thick, soupy and rich.
3. Niseko Town Onsen (Kiranoyu )
You won’t get an amazing mountain view or that thick muddy onsen experience but you will get an honest community onsen that will give you a great insight into the everyday onsen experience of Niseko townsfolk. Also a great place to pick up some local Niseko fruit and vegetables too at very reasonable prices.
It’s the cheapest onsen on the list here with an entry fee of 500 Yen for adults and free for kids under 5. The sauna is great way to warm up any aching bones and muscles on some of the more colder days. Kiranoyu onsen is located right opposite the historic Niseko train station.
Kiranoyu Map link
2. The Hilton Onsen ( Higashiyama Onsen )
The hilton makes our list here for one reason alone. The aspect. located high on the mountain with a large pond directly next to the outdoor onsen you really do get the feeling that you are just that little bit special as you gaze out towards Mount Yotei
Being a ski in ski out hotel this can get very busy in peak periods and is the priciest option on our list at 1,000 Yen for casual usage but it’s well worth a visit if you find yourself in this neck of the woods.
1.Kanro no Mori
A classic Japanese style onsen hotel. If you want to experience what Japanese people do when they go and stay at an Onsen hotel and relax Kanronomori is a great introduction.
The onsen pools are very large which is an experience in itself but the location here is worth a visit alone. The food is also very good at this hotel and worth a meal if you can spare the time. Also a good place to escape some of the crowds around Hirafu.