Visitors and residents alike enjoy an embarrassment of riches when it comes to hot spring baths in the Niseko area. Known as ‘onsen’ in Japanese, natural hot spring water comes bubbling to the surface in certain areas, which become the natural choice for onsen facilities. In the early days of settlement and development in the Niseko area locations such as Yuki Chichibu Onsen, Goshiki Onsen, Niimi Onsen, and Yamada Onsen were some of the locations where Onsen facilities were build because the hot spring water flows from Niseko’s volcanic depths up to the surface naturally and is easily piped in to baths.
As accommodation and other facilities increased in the area, it became necessary to ‘tap in’ to Niseko’s subterranean onsen by drilling onsen wells in areas where it doesn’t naturally flow to the surface. Among all the construction projects underway in Niseko this summer, it is no surprise to see an onsen well rig drilling away at a site near the top of Hirafu-Zaka.
According to the Geological Survey of Hokkaido, some of these wells reach an impressive depth of over 1000m, which is well below sea level.