Quite honestly, Niseko with kids was a fabulous way to spend our Christmas because they were so, SO happy with all that powdery snow!!! There are many places in Japan that has snow and where you can ski but we were told Niseko had THE best snow. So off I went with my researching skills and I must say I did real good. It was perfect. If anyone wanted to go to Niseko with kids, ask me and I’d be able to help you.
Accommodation in Niseko if you go to Niseko with Kids
First and foremost, if you wanted to spend 2 weeks in Japan (1 week Niseko and 1 week Tokyo), on a moderate budget, you would need to save RM50,000 before you could do it. That’s what we spent, on a MODERATE budget. Japan is very expensive. Flights alone were RM12,000 for the 4 of us. You may be able to get cheaper accommodation in Niseko but you really have to book 6 months in advance. I kid you not. I tried booking 3 months in advance and the whole town was fully booked already which is why we ended up with a RM2,400 PER NIGHT one bedroom apartment. I think that is even more than what we paid for our suite in Zermatt, Switzerland, yo!!! PENGSAN.
It was a nice enough apartment. It is called YOUTEI TRACKS – you can google it. They have a website. There was a fully equipped modern kitchen and a bathroom and the heaters were all working well. There was a huge balcony that overlooked an empty plot of land filled with snow (perfect for snow play) and Mount Youtei beyond. Everything in the apartment worked beautifully and there as even a cabinet to put your boots in that dried them and a washing machine and drier, and best of all, WIFI!!!! There was a DVD player and they had DVDs to rent, a cafe downstairs for hot coffee or hot chocolate if you didn’t want to make it yourself, comfortable beds and futons, all good. I guess you get what you pay for. Location was excellent too as it was midway between town and the mountains, so walking to both directions was just nice. The supermarket was literally a 5 minute walk away, that’s perhaps 200 meters away? And the mountains were another maybe 300 meters because it seemed like that as you had to walk UPHILL. So yeah, I would highly recommend accommodation there as everything was perfect. If I went back to Niseko, which we are certainly planning to do, we would stay there again.
We actually made a trip to the Hilton Niseko and Greenleaf (which is a YTL resort), both were cheaper than ours and thank goodness we didn’t stay there because they were both located away on it’s own from everything!!! It was a half hour bus journey to get to these resorts which meant that if you stayed at the Niseko Hilton, you would eat from either of their 6 restaurants (very expensive I am sure!) or travel 30 minutes by bus one way to town. Same for Greenleaf. There is NOTHING there apart from the hotel rooms and the skiing. The good thing about Hilton Niseko is that it is a ski in-ski out hotel, meaning once you came downstairs, you could start skiing just outside LITERALLY. Whereas at our place, we had to do that 300 meter walk uphill to the ski hub first. No biggie though!!! I would rather be in town to explore the town rather than be stuck in ONE hotel and ski ONLY everyday. But if skiing is your thing and you are a professional skier, then by all means, stay at the Hilton Niseko.
One thing you need to understand about Niseko is that it is divided into 4 main areas. Each are about 30 minutes away from each other by bus. Really not worth the hassle. Plus you would have to pay extra bus fares every day and it is not cheap. So best just to stay in Niseko Grand Hirafu where the town is. Unless you really want to be cooped up in the hotel and snow and nothing else. The furthest away is Niseko Annapuri, then Niseko Village (where the Hilton Niseko is and Green Leaf), Niseko Hirafu is where the town is, and finally Hanazono on the other side.
Food in Niseko
Well, duh. There are loads of Japanese restaurants!!! But a few Western places too and you need to either BOOK or go early because most places are full very quick. I can tell you where was good and where wasn’t but too many to list down here so if you really need to know, call me. Sashimi is good everywhere in Japan, so no matter where you go, it is always good. Even the lousiest places are still better than the ones you get in KL – LOL! There was one Australian owned place that did Japanese, OK….that was the ONLY place where I did not enjoy the food at. Everywhere else, even the supermarket rice balls, were good. Generally, you just need to decide what you want to eat and then just go to anywhere that serves it. A good thing to do would be to check them out online first and call for prices if you are worried about cost. Otherwise, just be brave and go. Everywhere is good except for that one Australian place. And the reason we ended up there was because we were late one night for dinner and EVERYWHERE else was full and had a 45 minute wait.
Niseko with Kids for Skiing
First and foremost, if you are new to skiing, let me advice you. Waterproof boots are a MUST. If you need help on where to shop and where to get them cheap etc, I can help you with that too in KL. Actually in Niseko, you can rent everything from boots to ski jackets, to ski pants, ands boots, and skis, and the whole works. But because we didn’t fancy using stuff that other strangers had used, we actually went out to purchase our own ski jackets and pants, and snow boots. And because we hardly had any winter clothes due to us never experiencing winter before, we went on a shopping spree to Marks and Spencers just before Niseko. You just WILL NOT survive in Niseko snow without waterproof boots. The snow goes deep. If you wore your normal sneakers or any other shoe, then be prepared to have wet socks.
ALSO, when you book your accommodation in Niseko for the first time, it is quite likely that you will go through a Niseko agent who will be able to advise you on everything Niseko; well, actually, this is not necessary IF YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO. Thus, if you call me, I can help you again…..Otherwise, just deal with your Niseko agent direct. The thing is, with the Niseko agent, chances are they will push places and products where they will benefit the most? Like we were told to book our ski instructor early and rent from this place and that place etc but we chose to take the risky way and decided that if we couldn’t get a ski instructor since they claimed they would be fully booked by the time we got there, too bad. We would just learn from YOUTUBE or something. What were we thinking??? But seriously, everything you want to learn is on YOUTUBE these days, don’t you agree???
Well, we got lucky and unlucky with a ski instructor. Lucky because we actually did manage to hire one cheaper than the Niseko agent had quoted. He was RM1,500 per 2 hours – ouch, right??? Well, unfortunately, that is what Ski Instructors in Niseko cost. To be fair, he was a private instructor so you could probably get it much cheaper if you went for a group class. The bad part was, when we had our VERY FIRST LESSON, it was AT NIGHT, because it was the only time an instructor was available…..AND it started raining half way!!!!!!!!!!
Like What the FISH!!!! Could it get any better??? And the kids REFUSED, absolutely REFUSED to cut the ski lesson short and wanted to ski in the rain. Now just think for a minute, nigh time (colder weather) + rain (colder weather) + Niseko on a mountain (fucking cold already) = FROZEN MAMA; do you agree? The kids for some reason refused to admit the cold and I swear, after my whole body was frozen and I was wanting to cry already, I stood firm and said STOP RIGHT NOW. And T2 being T2, excited as hell on her first time skiing, kept begging one more time, Mama. Please? Mama, one more time…..
I must have allowed it at least 5 more rounds before I started shouting. T2 would ignore me and just continued stomping her way uphill and waited for the ski instructor to bring her skis uphill before she went for another round downwards.
I’ll be honest. It was damn fun. The kids had a blast. They learnt real quick, within the first 30 minutes of their lesson and they were at it over and over and over. The next day, we didn’t need a ski instructor anymore and took to the slopes ourselves.
Another thing that you must have either rented or bought is ski gloves, the waterproof type. Otherwise there is just NO WAY that they can make snowmen out of normal gloves or ski. It is just way too cold. Pants must be waterproof too. We got ours from Uniqlo. With reference to ski jackets, if you do not want to be all puffed up like T2 was in her Marks and Spencer jacket, then you need to invest a bit more for a high technology jacket from one of the expert makers such as North Face or Columbia. T1 and the Hubs got theirs from North Face so they wouldn’t look like The Michelin Man but they cost about RM1,000 each. Me? I got one of those puffy ones because I couldn’t find a colour I liked at North Face. I’m fashionable like that. So I got mine from Universal Traveler at Pavilion for RM500. It was good. It kept me warm and guess what? I left it on the bus on the way down from Niseko and the Hubs was pissed!!! Brand new jacket gone!!!
Due to incredible Japanese efficiency though, all it took was a phone call and RM50 for them to find the jacket and post it down to our hotel in Tokyo. Simply awesome. Thankfully, I had a back up jacket that I used for a few days before my ski jacket arrived and it wasn’t too bad as Tokyo was nowhere as cold as Niseko.
Honestly, with snow, you do not need much else to entertain the kids. Although there were adventure parks and snow tubes and rock climbing activities at activity centres for kids, we did neither of that. All we did was ski, make snowmen (although my kids got creative and started building other things with snow, namely a race car which they dug into the snow and then sat in……..CRAZY KIDS!!!), watch DVDs (the entire STAR WARS series over and over), walked around the area, played more snow, had snowball fights, attempted snow angels, ate loads of Japanese food, browsed around shops (and found rubber boobs! which incidentally T2 really wanted!!! What’s with breastfeeding and the never-ending relationship with boobs, huh?), and took ski lifts and cable cars to other mountain tops. And played more snow again!!!
Niseko rocks. We will be back!!!**************************************************************************
Who is Mamapumpkin?
Mamapumpkin spent 7 years in London committing crimes to gain her Bartlett BSc in Architecture. She spent 7 years as a Stay At Home Mom raising her children as documented in this Mamapumpkin blog since over 10 years ago and thereafter returned to the Corporate World stronger than ever. Her last job as Country Director of a British Railway Signalling organisation saw her getting ill with an aortal and mitral heart valve regurgitation and early stage cancer. Through her journey from working to not working to working again, she sets out to prove to all women that they can do anything and everything that they set out to do; as long as they have that fire of desire burning within and the drive to work hard. Even better with oodles of love, passion and integrity.
Despite being ill, she has grown a network marketing business from very little knowledge and experience in the otherwise infamously known MLM (Multi-Level Marketing) industry, racing from an income of ZERO to RM 100,000 monthly in merely 2 years. She is a firm believer of the MLM business model but realises the pitfalls too and understands how and why the majority of people would shy away (or zoom far away) from any MLM business.
She is now pondering the title of her new book, From Zero to 100,000 RM monthly in 2 years and has a sequel in the pipeline with the aim of helping real professionals succeed in the World of MLM. Always the giver, Mamapumpkin has supported orphans for over 30 years and has now extended her care to the sick, single mothers, and even struggling families. She believes that with the MLM business model, we can all have a life of our own desires to enable real contribution into the world.
A beautiful life without limits.
Mamapumpkin currently manages the Homeschooling Hub Malaysia on Facebook. She also runs Working Women Malaysia (not THAT kind of Working Women!), Mamapumpkin - Creating A Life of Abundance, and Funky Moms on Facebook to offer REAL support to all women who want career and life success. She is a living testimony that women really can have a lot. Being financially free has enabled her to travel the world anytime anywhere doing anything, and she spends most of her day to day with her children, reading and supporting other women.
For enquiries, please contact her at mamapumpkin at gmail dot com or WhatsApp her at +6012-2333840