Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), recently broadcasted a live stream focused on sustainable initiatives – celebrating the extraordinary natural surroundings in the town of Niseko, Hokkaido Prefecture, and traditional arts and crafts in the Nagara River Basin, Gifu Prefecture. These two areas were selected as “Top 100 Destination Sustainability Stories” by Green Destinations, an international certification body for sustainable tourism destinations.
Hosted by Vaughan, an Australian-born, Tokyo-based promoter, business owner, and media personality, the broadcast highlights ways to enjoy nature and related activities in Niseko with an awareness for environmental conservation; and touching on efforts to celebrate and share the profound cultural heritage of the Nagara River Basin in Gifu, which has flourished thanks to this irreplaceable natural resources.
The livestream covers a number of different attractive features based around Niseko and Gifu, which we have highlighted in the excerpts below.
Mt Yotei or Ezo Fuji, Mt Fuji of the Northeast
These days the term Niseko has become so much more than just the name given to the scenic regional town located in Hokkaido, Japan's rugged north.
Gliding down Mt Niseko Annupuri with a spectacular view of Mt Yotei
Niseko is essentially a brand name synonymous with luxury, incredible natural views, world-class accommodation, clear, crisp sunny winter skies and the one natural feature that kicked it all off; powder snow. The snow in Niseko is so abundant, so pristine, and so pure it's unparalleled.
In recent years, or now decades, Niseko has gone from a well-kept local secret to a world-renowned destination. The growth in popularity is in large part thanks to the international guests – largely Australian– that make the annual pilgrimage here to enjoy the beauty of Japan's more untouched pockets and to explore, meticulously manicured runs, an international ambiance and plenty of off-slope attractions that epitomize the charm of après-ski culture.
Panoramic view of Mt Yotei from Mt Niseko Annupuri
The town's main resorts are all situated on the Niseko Mountain Range; they are Niseko Village, Annupuri and Moiwa. These three big names draw skiers and snowboarders throughout the season.
To make the entire resort more convenient for guests, the Niseko United Shuttle Bus service provides easy access to the various ski resorts. Some buses also connect the town to the mountains.
Given that Niseko's biggest drawcard, its greatest cultural asset, and most vibrant industry is built on the area's incredible natural beauty, it makes sense that this town is passionate about sustainability and ecological awareness.
You can find out all about the latest key attractions and activities in Niseko like skiing, snowboarding and the culinary appeals of the region. The video also goes into detail about JSTS-D (Japan Sustainable Tourism Standard for Destinations) "Model Destinations" and efforts.
One of the featured local businesses is Hakobune Niseko, a sustainability focused accommodation registered with the “Sustainable Travel” program.
Vaughan speaks with Andrew, who moved to Niseko from Australia and manages Hakobune Niseko, about his life in Niseko as well as his favorite local haunts – so tune in to get local tips on the best places to visit when you're in Niseko! Some key sightseeing spots include Niseko Distillery (Whisky and Gin), Chitose-Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival, and National Ainu Museum and Park.
Niseko Distillery is an art piece in itself…
ohoro GIN Standard
Blending some of the best ingredients that Niseko has to offer, Niseko Distillery's very own ohoro GIN Standard was awarded the Country Winners Gold at one of the largest international gin competitions, World Gin Awards 2023 in England. Meaning ‘to continue on’ in the local Ainu dialect, ‘ohoro’ GIN is made with flavourful botanicals, including sweet gale and Japanese peppermint from Niseko with pristine high-quality underground water from Mt Annupuri.
For more information about Niseko Distillery, visit their official website.
Breathtaking Chitose-Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival
For more information about Chitose-Lake Shikotsu Ice Festival:
For more information about Upopoy National Ainu Museum and Park: