As summer unfolds in Niseko, a captivating transformation takes place. The once pristine white landscape gives way to a kaleidoscope of vibrant colours, beckoning explorers to embrace the great outdoors. Amidst this natural playground, a tapestry of thrilling activities and festive celebrations awaits, providing ample opportunities to forge a profound connection with nature and immerse oneself in the cultural tapestry of the region. If you find yourself drawn to Niseko for a summer sojourn, here are a few unmissable festivities to enrich your journey.
Shatokan Fire Festival: Walking Through the Flames at Bikuni Shrine
Each year, between July 4th and 6th, the Shakotan Fire Festival takes place at Bikuni Shrine. Festival goers gather to offer prayers for maritime safety and a successful fishing season. The port is adorned with vibrant fisherman’s flags during the festival, creating a picturesque sight. Alongside this, food and drink stalls are set up, and the streets come alive with the procession of portable shrines and floats. The festival’s main attraction is the Tengu no Hiwatari, where a performer garbed as a tengu, a mystical Japanese mountain spirit, fearlessly walks through a towering pillar of flames, symbolising purification.
Tasting the Fresh Flavours of Shakotan Town with Seasonal Uni
Shakotan Town is a one and a half hour ride from Miru Niseko. Make a day out of it and enjoy a leisurely road trip to this seaside town. While you’re there, stop by Cape Kamui and the Shimamui Coast to admire the gorgeous blue of the ocean. The sea of Shakotan, also known as Shakotan Blue, is crystal clear and, from a distance, spreads peacefully into the horizon. But one of the main attractions of Shakotan town during the summer is their seasonal delicacy, uni or sea urchin. Sea urchin is a popular delicacy throughout Japan, and you can find several places to enjoy delicious sea urchin in Hokkaido. Shakotan town is renowned for having the best uni in all of Hokkaido. This particular sea food is highly sought-after by locals and tourists alike. Those visiting Niseko in the summer intentionally make the trip to Shakotan just for a taste of Japan’s best.
Kutchan Shrine Festival: Celebrating Nearly 90 Years of Time-Honoured Traditions
If you’re seeking an enchanting cultural experience in Niseko this summer, look no further than the annual Kutchan Shrine Festival. This year the festival will be held from July 27 to 29. This eagerly anticipated celebration is a time-honoured tradition that locals have cherished for nearly 90 years. During the festival, witness an authentic Shinto ritual where Kutchan’s designated intangible cultural property, “Akasaka Yakko,” parades through the streets to pray for the safety and prosperity of the town and the continued development of the tourism industry. This Japanese festival is a testament to the region’s profound historical and cultural significance. This cherished event provides a glimpse into the deep-rooted traditions that have shaped the identity of Kutchan. Indulge in the lively ambience of the festival as you explore the colourful street stalls scattered throughout the town. Savour mouthwatering local delicacies, indulge in refreshing beverages and mingle with fellow festival-goers. The warm summer season in Kutchan creates the perfect backdrop for this joyous occasion, where unforgettable memories are waiting to be made.
With an abundance of summer festivities awaiting you, a visit to Niseko promises an endless array of thrilling experiences. Immerse yourself in the breathtaking sights that surround you, indulge in delectable seasonal delicacies, and partake in the time-honoured cultural traditions that have shaped the essence of Niseko. Beyond its winter wonderland, Niseko reveals itself as a hidden gem of a summer playground. Make sure to include the myriad of must-visit festivities in your itinerary as you plan your next summer trip to Niseko.