Niseko is known for 2 things, skiing and dairy products. Skiing you can enjoy during the winter months but dairy you can indulge in year round.
Posted by Jennie
Niseko is post card perfect. This wasn’t immediately apparent to us because we arrived at our ryokan close to midnight, exhausted after a plane ride from Tokyo and a van ride from Sapporo. But what greeted us the next morning was awe inspiring. We came at the heels of autumn and the leaves were just beginning to turn. The air was crisp even as the sun was shining and the sky, a dazzling, brilliant blue.
It was one of those days that the world was at its most pristine.
And it kept getting better. Our morning began with a visit to Niseko Milk Kobo, a working dairy farm that has been in the Takahashi family for decades. It has all the elements of a Travel and Leisure cover, a striking red barn, sprawling green grass, healthy Holstein cattle and the dormant Mt. Yotei standing proud in the distance.
The big red barn has been converted into a coffee shop to showcase their milk products. The choices may be limited but they are all homemade and incredibly delicious. There’s milk of course, cold and pure tasting. Cheesecake that’s so unbelievably light. A Cheese Tart that’s rich, creamy and silky. Lots of ice cream and butter. The only downside is that you can’t bring anything home!
Like I said this is a working farm so you can see cows grazing in the open pasture or being milked. We are told the secret to the quality of their dairy products. It is in the grass that the cows consume, which is far more superior to the U.S. variety. To maintain the quality of the cow feed, the grass in the Takahashi farm is replanted every five years.
The grass, the air, the stress-free environment, all make Hokkaido dairy products the most highly regarded in the country.
Where we stayed.
Moku no sho is a luxury retreat, luxurious even by Japanese standards. It is a ryokan and onsen about 3 hours from Sapporo but only 10 minutes from Niseko Milk Kobo. It is a mix of modern architecture that combines wood, steel and leather with minimalist Japanese aesthetics. Indigenous Ainu and modern Japanese art enhance the look. The spacious library is the centre of the ryokan. Soft jazz music plays and the most inviting oversized camel leather sofas lure you to sink in. A modern open fireplace warms the room. Towards the afternoon, out come the smores for you to roast should you want to.
The rooms have booth western and tatami sleeping options. The living room even has a massage chair. Unlike big city Japanese hotels that are known to be cramped, rooms here at Moku no sho are the opposite with separate living and sleeping quarters.
Step outside and take in the ancient forest all around. There is a terrace deck where you can warm your feet in the waters from the hot springs nearby. Relax as you listen to the sound of flowing water from the river below. It’s a place you may never want to leave, except you’ll have to because it costs an arm and a leg!