【Column】Hokkaido's Best Outdoor Adventure Town

May 31
Written by Ross Findlay; Australian 29-year resident of Niseko Kutchan and NAC Niseko Adventure Centre CEO.

When I was a kid, I was never inside. The kids in the street spent every free moment playing in the park, exploring the forest, climbing trees, swimming in pools or the river, riding our scooters, bikes and skateboards. Endless, there was so much to do outside and nothing to do inside.

Now as an adult with a family I get to choose where I want to live and raise my family. So I naturally want the best town for playing outdoors in Hokkaido.

Firstly, I want a town that has lots of outdoor sport options. For winter I want a lot of powder snow to ski in, xc ski trails, places to snowmobile, a freestyle park for my boys, and winter waves to surf in close by. For the green season lots of forest trails, mtb trails, and a great river for kayaking, sup and rafting. Good waves close by would be even better.

The best town is not only going to be about its outdoor activities, I would also be considering its community, its cafe & food culture, wages and education.

Outdoor activities are great fun, and sometimes I enjoy running a trail in solitude with the sounds and smells of nature around me. But it is also great to have a whole town full of people that love to enjoy outdoor sports and lifestyle. People that enjoy a good adventure.

I enjoy a good cafe latte and a yarn with my friends. A town with a good cafe culture is a must. You need somewhere where people can gather and talk about their adventures or plan a new one. It is the hub for the outdoor community.

Being an Australian, but living in Japan I believe in an education that prepares for the global world we live in. I would want my kids to be able to communicate in English as well as Japanese. I would want them to be creative and able to express their own ideals. Tertiary education would be an excellent fit for an adventure town.

Unfortunately, no matter how much good fun and lifestyle there is in outdoor adventures, money does make the world go round. So, I would need a town with good earning potential. Good wages or good business opportunities.

How does your town rank? My town is Kutchan. It doesn’t meet all my criteria but I think it is a great town. The best outdoor adventure town in Japan.


NAC Niseko Adventure Centre