Today we left Sapporo and rode the train to Niseko (ニセコ町). The town and surrounding region is widely known for the ski slopes on Mt. Yotei (羊蹄山 youteizan) and the surrounding peaks, including Niseko Annupuri (ニセコアンヌプリ). The train ride to Niseko is rather long as the train is basically a bus on tracks. To get to Niseko, we took trains on the Hakodate Line from Sapporo, changing trains at Otaru Station. The train we rode from Otaru worked like a city bus instead of a train, with passengers taking stop number tickets when they get on and then paying the fare on the display for their number when they get off. The train also didn’t go much faster than a bus down the single set of tracks. The stations the train stopped at on the way were tiny. I will be sure to get some pictures on the way out of Niseko; I didn’t have a good position on the train to take many pictures out the window.

After ariving at Niseko Station, we dragged our meager luggage through the snow and into town in search of food and other essentials. It was a very quiet town and we spent quite a bit of time walking around trying to find a store that was open so we could get some food for the next couple of days. After collecting some food, we realized that we had to be on the other side of the railroad tracks and river in order to get to the lodge, so we started trudging back down the hill again in the snow. The sun was starting to set as we made our way along the streets on the other side of the bridge.

Finally, we arrived at the driveway for the Niseko Tuorist Home (ニセコツーリストホーム).

The Niseko Tuorist Home is quite an interesting place. The proprietors don’t really speak any English, so they were a little surprised when we made the reservation as we’re just a bunch of foreign students. However, we knew enough Japanese to make it work. The owner was even nice enough to take us out in his car to get all of our ski equipment rented, and agreed to take us to the slope tomorrow! Talk about service! The room we had to stay in was a pretty reasonably sized Japanese style room. It was a bit on the cold side, so we had to fire up the heater, but I suppose that’s pretty standard for Hokkaido.