There is nothing better to ease away the aches and pains of an exciting day on the slopes than the saunas and pools available at an onsen.
The Grand Hotel has a lovely outdoor pool area where you can sit in a warm pool surrounded by falling snow.
Don't be put off by the fact that the site is in Japanese. Look up onsen etiquette and there will be plenty of help when you arrive to buy tickets, point you in the right direction.
Google map: bit.ly/zALYzj
BDL is a lodge for skiers and snowboarders based in Niseko Village on the island of Hokkaido. It offers simple comfortable accommodation including breakfast, its own restaurant and bar as well as a range of Backcountry guided tours that are all well priced. It attracts a mix of international punters and professionals alike.
The lodge is well linked to the resort free bus service which allows you to access some of the best snow in the world. Yes, the rumours are true, it does not stop snowing and it didn’t when were there. The staff (a mix of Canadian and Japanese) know Niseko like the back of their hand. They are also extremely helpful before you arrive and will offer you assistance with internal flights and transfers.
The backcountry tour packages they offer range from one day to longer trips in Niseko but also to Rusutsu and beyond. We did a day's guiding with Andrew, who took us through the back gates of Niseko for an unforgettable day of powder riding.
Once you have done all that you can return to the lodge and relax in their wonderful but strange massage chair!
+81 136 44 1144
Google map: bit.ly/qqpywa
Black Diamond Lodge
Higashiyama 24-3, Niseko-cho
Nearest Airport: Sapporo Chitose
Nearest train: Hirafu
A pension I stumbled upon earlier this year in Niseko, Japan.
Niseko is widely regarded inside Japan as having some of the best powder you'll find, and is quickly becoming Japan's worst kept secret abroad.
Hence my surprise when my friend and I rock up in April, bump into a friendly little guy with a whispy goatee who insists on us calling him Tohsan and his wife Kaasan (Dad and Mum) who gives us a beautiful huge log cabin meant to hold 30 people for £15 a night each with meals. He then kitted me out fully for another £15, gave us a lift to the slopes where we got a nice big discount for coming during the spring season.
We had the run of the place, the powder was still coming down in bucketloads and we ended the day with a home cooked meal from Mum listening to jazz, followed by a soak in the hot spring bath down the road. Job's a good 'un.
Turns out Dad built the log cabin with his bare hands. He's got the pictures on the wall inside to prove it!
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