Quadracious Powder and More
When I went to Niseko in January 2009 it snowed every day I was there. This year it did too, but the snow was deeper and there may have been even fewer people at the resorts. I wore myself out skiing fresh tracks through knee deep powder during the day and skiied (very fast) a few groomed runs at night and then soaked in the onsen to end each day.
The snow at Niseko is incredible, the lift tickets are not expensive, and there is even a Royce cafe at the bottom of the Niseko gondola. Better yet, there are no crowds. At times it feels that one is at his own private ski resort. At Nagano (see below) it is easy to make lots of new friends but there are also a lot of people waiting in lift lines and on the runs, and the season is shorter. It is hard to go wrong with mountain resorts at Japan. I have had an amazing experience each time I have gone, but I rank Niseko at the top for pure sport.
From Niseko I went to Otaru for one night to see the canal and have some sushi. From the tourist map, let me describe Otaru as “enjoy walking up and down on romantic slopes in Otaru. Please feel and learn the historical background with building up your physique.” So I did, moving with ease from the quadracious powder of Niseko to the physique-building walks about the romantic city of Otaru. See the canal at twilight here.
Otaru is well-known for sushi and I had some excellent sushi including parts of this flying fish. I concluded this quadracious trip by lugging my skis and other luggage from Sendai to Narita via taxi, shinkansen, local trains, and lots of heavy lifting and walking.