Niseko is best known to international travellers as one of the greatest ski destinations in the world. It’s a winter wonderland. A delight in white. You know it, and we know it.
Yet for inbound domestic travellers, Niseko—like much of Hokkaido—is also seen as an incredible green season destination.
People travel here to escape the burning sun of the south, to escape the suffocating humidity, the storms, the frequent summer earthquakes, and to actually enjoy nature and breathtaking surroundings.
Hokkaido is green in the spring and summer, and red and orange in the fall, with blue lakes, springs and seas, and silver mountains, and is absolutely gorgeous in the green season. But this fact still doesn’t yet seem to have spread abroad with the speed and vigour that it deserves, and it’s a shame for each and every potential traveller and tourist who is absolutely missing out!
The Ginto Trail is another fantastic project that aims to provide more activities for locals and travellers in the summer, helping to continue to cultivate Niseko’s reputation as a true year-round destination. Located on the edge of Hirafu village, the trail is just under 2km long, and provides the community with access to a myriad of potential activities, including (but not limited to) trail running, hiking, and of course, mountain biking.
Sponsored by a group of local businesses passionate about Hirafu and the local area, the trail is carved into thick forestland, creating a unique spot for summer activities in the heart of nature. But the realisation of this project is no easy task: Countless hours of hard physical labour have been required just to de-root blankets of thick sasa grass – the hardy and widespread bamboo which covers most of the region, as you can see in the video below.
After clearing the sasa, work then began on trail-blazing and pounding out the path, with careful attention being paid to the width of the flow trail and to the planning and shaping of various ramps, bumps, and other trail features for downhill enthusiasts of varying disciplines. This phase is estimated to be finished in the next week, with the next phases of the project to commence towards the end of the month. These plans will also introduce a circular cross-country circuit and a smaller 300m enduro course, both of which will transition into the mega trail.
We’re extremely excited about what this trail means and the activities and space it’ll provide for tourists and the local community. Stay tuned for more updates!