Niseko has endless natural beauty to explore. Hiking is a great way to discover the wonder of Hokkaido's landscape, with many trails now open for the summer season. While it may be tempting to just head on out to see the sights on a hike, its best to know the basics if you haven't hiked before so that you can really enjoy your time exploring nature's finest in Niseko. Here's some handy tips to get you started on your hiking adventures.
Wear Layered Clothes
Hiking will get your blood pumping so be sure to wear clothing that is easily layered. It's a good idea to wear a long sleeve top or shirt as well as long pants to protect your skin from any pesky branches or long grass along the way. Quick-dry clothes are best to keep you dry if you work up a sweat and for any water on branches you may come across along the trail. A fleece sweater should be packed in your backpack too in case of any chilly winds and to keep warm once you've arrived at the end of your hike.
Bring Protective Gear
Some extra gear is handy to keep you safe from the elements. A waterproof, lightweight rain jacket is ideal for any unexpected showers. A hat for sun-protection, ideally with a chinstrap to keep it secured in windy conditions. Gloves are useful to not only protect your skin from sunburn or from foliage that may cause a rash, but also to keep your hands warm.
When hiking, you will come across various terrain including dirt, rocks, grass, wood-planks, puddles and more. High-cut, good-quality hiking boots are recommended for grip, support and comfort, giving you the ability to cross any sort of terrain. Something you feel comfortable wearing is important, too. Waterproof shoes are also beneficial for staying dry in all conditions.
What to Bring
Some must-have items for any hiker.
- Lightweight backpack (15-30 litres)
- Water bottle
- Instant food or snack
While you may not use all of the below essentials on your hike, you will be very glad you packed them on that odd occasion you need them.
- First aid
- Small towel
- Poles (useful for decending)
Choose the Right Route
If you're a newbie, choose your hiking course wisely. The first step is knowing your own physical limits and choosing a trail to suit. Key factors to consider are distance, elevation and the type of terrain. Start with short, easy walks and work your way up to longer or more difficult trails. Ask others for information and it pays to do your research.
There are many trails and walking paths in and around Niseko perfect for beginners like those around Lake Hangetsu and Shinsen Numa pond, and at the foot of Mt. Annupuri, such as the “Haru-no-Taki (Spring waterfall) course” and the “Koubou course.” Mt. Iwaonupuri is another popular hike for beginners, from children to adults.
Hiking is about enjoyment and reaching new personal goals. Enjoyable hiking hinges on stamina, not speed. When you hike, you walk slower than normal because of terrain and inclines, and that's okay. Settle into your natural pace and rhythm for your best introduction to hiking; an experience you'll want again and again!
Want to try hiking with the help of a guide? Find out more about our Hiking Tours in Niseko.