You want deep, deep powder? It’s well documented that Niseko is one ofthe snowiest places on the planet. The average snowfall is 14 meters andmost of that falls as pure powder, so with a moisture content of around4%. The 2017 / 18 season is well on track to reach this target withclose to ten meters falling between the start of November and the end ofJanuary alone. At Hakuba the average snowfall is ten meters and snowquality is normally excellent though general consensus is it’s not asconsistently light as you’ll find in Hokkaido. WINNER: Niseko gets tenout of ten snorkels!
Culture This is a hard question to answer because Japan’s culture ishugely diverse. In terms of history, Hakuba is a clear winner. Theresort is located on Japan’s main island of Honshu which has beenpopulated for thousands of years. In some ways, a visit to Hakuba islike stepping back in time. You can visit the Zenko-ji Temple which wasbuilt in the 7th Century, stay in a traditional Ryokan (bed andbreakfast) that is hosted by a Japanese family or bathe in one of manyancient onsens (hot spring). Niseko offers a more modern take onJapanese culture. You won’t find as many historic buildings but you’llcertainly come across plenty of options for exploring Japanese cuisine.The area is also a ‘hot bed’ for hot springs! The island of Hokkaido isvolcanic and naturally abundant with minerals, making it almost asfamous for onsens as it is for skiing and snowboarding. WINNER: Hakubaby a whisker! It’s hard to compete with temples from the beginning oftime.
Village Life Over the last ten years, Niseko has grown into aninternational resort busting at the seams with options for dining anddrinking. Hirafu Village, where you’ll find most of the accommodationand nightlife, is a vibrant hub for those who want to ski, stay andplay. From the quirky to the highly sophisticated, you’ll definitelyfind an array of bars and restaurants to suit your taste and budget.Hakuba is also growing and changing rapidly. There are bars andrestaurants aplenty and loads of options for accommodation, from moretraditional pensions to large hotels or luxury apartments. The area isspread widely, however, which means it can sometimes be a long walkbetween drinks so you may find yourself occupying your ‘local’ for mostof your stay. WINNER: Niseko. You just can’t beat Hirafu’s eclectic andlively ‘village vibe.’
Maybe the best solution is to plan your trip including both locations?... Wouldn't it be nice!
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