THE Japanese love a good celebration, and because Christmas is not such a big deal here, New Year (shogatsu or oshogatsu) goes off with a bang. It’s perhaps the most important holiday in Japan and families typically get together to celebrate. In Niseko there’s no shortage of events, so check out our events calendar on p21 for a few ideas on how to welcome in the New Year.
There are celebrations at every ski resort in Niseko, but the main event happens at the base of Hirafu, on the slopes above the Kogen Hotel. Along with fireworks, live music and taiko drum performances, the most spectacular part of the night will be when more than 100 skiers and snowboarders carrying flaming torches high on the mountainside form the numbers ‘09’, before skiing to the bottom. Not to be missed!
January 1 is said to be a very auspicious day in Japan, best started by viewing the New Year’s first sunrise (hatsu-hinode)… so long as you didn’t drink too much of that free sake the night before!