If you’ve been following my blog over the years, you know how much I enjoy the summer heat and beaches. This year however, I decided to have a white Christmas instead and Japan was the perfect destination that’s famous for it’s fresh powder snow. Apparently Hokkaido receives as much as 6 months of snow in a year until April, so there’s definitely heaps of opportunities for you to plan you next getaway here and it’s a great destination for spring skiing. I stayed at The Kiroro, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel which is an amazing destination in Hokkaido to really enjoy your winter holiday to the max. I can’t recommend it enough especially if you want to pick up skiing or snowboarding and have a relaxing getaway.
I wasn’t too sure what to expect for my trip as I’ve never snowboarded/ski before, but after just a day of private lessons, and a second day of further practice by myself, I was up and running and able to hit the intermediate slopes! I really recommend getting an instructor from their academy if you’re a first timer like me, you really only need a day to learn the basics and they have a rental store that will take care of all your needed gear and clothing which is super convenient. Skiing is way more affordable than in Australia, and you have much better snow to enjoy in. I think I have a new found appreciation for winter sports and cant wait to get back on a snowboard.
The Kiroro is located about an hour and a half away from New Chitose airport in Hokkaido, and they recently completed an extensive renovation and although we arrived at night, it was so exciting arriving and being mesmerized by the beautiful hotel with the snowy mountains in the backdrop. We couldn’t wait for the view in the morning. It’s the perfect retreat for a family getaway as there’s heaps to do, and that includes non ski activities as well. I didn’t get a chance to experience them all unfortunately as I was focused on snowboarding and enjoying the powder snow, but there was snow mobiles, snow rafting, banana boats, winter segways, snow buggys, snow bubbles and a snow park with snow tubes! The one thing I really enjoyed about the slopes here was that there was far less people as most of the crowd would be in Niseko and you’re mostly among other hotel guests, so this would be the perfect place to learn and enjoy the snow without worrying too much about a crowd.
With the amount of lifting I do, I though I’d be fine with snowboarding but do prepare for some muscle soreness after a day of boarding. The best thing to do once it’s dark is to retreat to the hotel’s onsen for a nice hot bath. There’s an indoor and outdoor onsen at Kiroro, and Adrian and I both hit the onsens daily after boarding and I loved that they had rows of reclining massage chairs to pamper you further after your hot bath. There’s also a stone sauna and a indoor swimming pool, but unfortunately we were both too glued to our massage chairs to give it a go.
We had dinner late almost every night cause of the relaxation facilities. There’s a total of 8 premium restaurants within the hotel itself, as well as a beautiful courtyard area called Kiroro Town that houses a convenience/gift & souvenir store so the hotel is pretty well self contained and everything’s in easy reach. Our best meal was at ‘Fuga’, their Sushi House and if there’s one thing you need to try in Hokkaido, that would be uni, or sea urchin. It taste a lot fresher and sweeter somehow in Hokkaido compared to what I had in Melbourne, and it’s probably the best place to try it if you haven’t tried it before. We also had Italian at ‘Alla Moda’, which was a good reminiscence of our time in Italy and anyone who’s been to Italy will be extremely critical of their pasta, gladly ours was perfect el dente so again, highly recommended!
I’ll end this post with further pictures of this beautiful hotel. Hope you enjoyed this post and I’m already planning my next escape to Japan! Check out Momentum Hokkaido for more skiing destinations in Hokkaido. Furano probably tops my list as my next destination.