The Travel Diary: Things to do in Niseko, Japan

Hilton Niseko Village is located on the southern slopes of the world famous Niseko Annupuri Mountain in Eastern Hokkaido, Northern Japan.

Niseko, Japan's winter wonderland is the Hokkaido ski destination renowned for its powdery snow, making it one of the go-to destinations for Asia's ski enthusiasts.

Winter's powdery snow stays in Niseko through the spring, so if you missed the holiday ski rush, you still have time to enjoy the skiing and local hot springs. We check where to stay, what to do and where to feast once you leave the slopes.

Also, check out our Travel Diary: Things to do in Hokkaido.

Where to stay

This 34-square-metre panoramic family room at the Hilton Niseko Village offers picturesque views of the mountain.

Stay at one of Niseko's most luxurious hotels at the foot of Niseko Annupuri Mountain, Hilton Niseko Village Hotel, which acts as the perfect base from which to enjoy a huge variety of outdoor activities including skiing during spring/winter and golfing during summer.

Enjoy a soak in the hotel's natural hot spring bath or unwind with a massage at the hotel's spa after a day out on the slopes. For business guests, there are five fully equipped meeting rooms suitable for up to 800 guests. As for families, with Hilton Niseko Village Hotel's family policy, children under 6 years old may stay for free when sharing a bed with their parents.

The hotel embraces the creative touch of renowned local graphic installations by Emi Shiratori featured throughout the hotel.

Located at the base of Mount An'nupuri in Japan, The Green Leaf Niseko Village lies in the heart of one of the world's best skiing destinations. The recently refurbished 200-room destination hotel provides an inviting ski-in ski-out base, tranquil spa and natural onsen facilities, as well as complimentary wireless Internet service and a wide variety of bar and dining options featuring local seafood and seasonal Hokkaido produce.

Hilton Niseko Village Hotel, Higashiyama Onsen 048-1592 Niseko N, Niseko-cho, Japan 048-1592, +81 136 441111, www.hilton.com; The Green Leaf Niseko Village, Higashiyama-onsen, Niseko-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido, Japan 048-1592, +81 136 44 3311, www.thegreenleafhotel.com

What to do

SkiJapan.com has specialised in Hokkaido's best ski resorts for the past 16 years and continues to be Hokkaido's longest serving and largest inbound ski and snowboard tour operator.

While Niseko has always been one of the best ski destinations in the world, 2012 has been the best spring conditions in Niseko's 50-year skiing history this March. After receiving more than 18 metres of snow in the past three months, Niseko has a 4.2-metre base at the top of the resort and the least crowded slopes in memory.

"Niseko still gets falls of dry powder throughout March, so there is more snow to come. But March snowfalls aren't as frequent as in January and February, which means milder weather and sunny days as well as an uncrowded village and slopes," says the general manager of SkiJapan.com, Marcus Williams. "What's more, fewer visitors this year means lift lines are non-existent and the powder on the mountain has remained untracked longer than usual."

An alternative activity that might interest the world's 50 million golf tourists out there is Mount Yotei -- the centrepoint of all outdoor activities near Niseko.

Yotei Golf has launched a website that features a special land package of seven-night accommodation in a modern western-style condominium complex, five rounds of golf and airport transfer plus car hire for US$1,100 for quad share to US$1,550 for twin share.

Seven Niseko golf courses are participating in the program, which will start at the end of the current ski season in May, including an Arnold Palmer-designed course, Niseko Fukui, its sister course, Niseko Village, and another, Hanozono, that is regarded as among the best of Hokkaido's 170 courses.

Where to eat

Ezo Seafoods is a seafood supplier and oyster bar located in the heart of Niseko Hirafu, offering seafood lovers the best of Hokkaido seafood.

For some great local seafood from the Sea of Japan and Shirebetsu River, you've got to try Ezo Seafoods, where the fresh delicacies are cooked and presented by Australian owner and chef James Gallagher and his Japanese wife.

Ezo Seafoods is a seafood supplier and oyster bar located in the heart of Niseko Hirafu, offering some of the best seafood from Hokkaido that's sourced directly from coastal fisheries and Sapporo wholesale market to ensure the quality and freshness.

Purchases are simple; either visit their physical shop in Hirafu Village between 4pm to 9pm, or order by phone/online and then pick up at Ezo Seafoods. Seafood platters, fresh crab and certain items require some lead time for ordering, so it's recommended that you order in advance.

Ezo Seafoods, 170-165 Aza Yamada Kutchan Cho Abuta Gun Hokkaido, Japan 044-0081, +81 0136 22 3019, ezoseafoods.com

For more information on Niseko, please visit SkiJapan.com. Additional reporting by Paul Myers, Asian Travel Media.

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