People who can read Japanese will know Pension Island, or Ai-land, is actually a very clever cross-lingual pun. When owners Yoshiyuki and Kazuko Ishikawa decided they had had enough of farming 15 years ago, they decided to move to Niseko and open a pension. And rather than make it simply a shell where visitors could shelter from the snow at night, they wanted to make it a place where people really felt at home. Ai means love in Japanese, and visitors can definitely feel the love when they stay there. Two hot meals are served everyday and each new visitor is introduced to everyone else staying there on their first day. Kazuko is actually a qualified ski and snowboard instructor and is more than happy to give guests free lessons. Yoshiyuki is the chef and specialises in Chinese food cooked in a Japanese style so it’s much lighter and less oily. Contact them through their website (made for free by a satisfied customer) at www.niseko.ne.jp/island.