See how many you can cross out before school year begins.
Sunny days, grilling out, s’mores bonfire at dusk… We want each summer with the kids to be more memorable than the last, and with that comes the need for a few new ideas every season. The kids helped us brainstorm (not before suggesting a few things that are not realistic), and with a little guidance, they do have some great ideas.
Related: 4 winter resorts that come to life in summer
Related: Summer holiday in Niseko: 10 activities for families
Visit an Ostrich farm
First, some interesting ostrich facts:
– Ostriches are the largest and heaviest birds in the world
– An ostrich is a bird, but cannot fly.
– They can tolerate frequent changes of temperature.
– They only have two toes.
– The ostrich’s brain is the size of a pea.
– They are not very good at eluding predators… because they tend to run in circles.
Learn more about them at the Niseko Ostrich Farm (Daini Arishima Ostrich Farm) at the foot of Mt Yotei. From May to October, ostriches spend their days on an open-air yard roaming freely in the field. Take a guided tour for an easy walk through the farm.
Things both grown-ups and kids will enjoy at the farm:
– Hug and kiss a friendly ostrich.
– Feed the ostriches by hand.
– Learn about the history and farming practices of the big birds.
Make your own ice-cream at Lake Hills
Come on over, ice-cream lovers!
Lake Hill Farm is a ranch on the western side of Lake Toya, famous for its homemade gelato (made from fresh milk produced in the house!) and pretty flower fields around the building.
About an hours’ drive from Hirafu village, this scenic destination makes a good family day trip filled with farm activities, interaction with animals and of course, Hokkaido-good desserts. There is also the option to take part in an outdoor ice-cream making session – one way to achieve another summer accomplishment!
Take care of animals at Tonden Farm
Being responsible for pets (or livestock for the purpose of this article) isn’t always easy.
For kids to to experience ranch life and come to understand the connections to the natural world, Tonden Farm probably makes the number 1 choice for that.
Tonden Farm lets you help out with daily chores, from feeding their residents including alpacas, horses, mini pigs and goats, to collecting fresh eggs and gardening. On a ranch, the work is never through!
Reward the little ones with a pony ride session and a hearty meal. With a smokehouse and a restaurant, the Tonden Farm takes pride in its handmade hams, sausages and ice cream sold on the spot.
Make desserts with the fruit you pick from a local orchard
Savor ripe fruits plucked right off the plant and at the same time supporting local farmers in Niseko.
Fruit picking remains a popular summer past-times and Hokkaido is blessed with a huge number of fruit fields and orchards that open to guests to pick and enjoy their own fresh fruits.
Yoichi Yamamoto Orchard is one of such establishments just about an hour from Hirafu. Summer holiday is their cherry and blueberry season. We will be busy collecting recipes for luscious fruit desserts to use our bounty on.
Camp out by Lake Yoya
Why not leave the screens behind and pitch a tent? It will be a home away from home the kids won’t forget. Especially when in Niseko, you don’t have to rough it. There is a number of well-developed campgrounds around scenic Lake Toya, such as Nakatoya with a public onsen bath next door, blessed with views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
You can tent either directly at the lake’s shore or drive up there and car camp. Don’t forget fido. Pets are allowed there!
First-timers can start with backyard camping at your chalet! 😉 Bring a blanket and nosh on finger foods on the lawn. Try sleeping in a tent in the yard first, take notes as you think of things you’ll need on an overnight trip.
Some of the best childhood summer memories are the simple, fun moments like biking around. These easy, little moments may be summer in its truest form.
In Niseko, kids can pedal along through the gentle trails along the Shirbetsu river. The outing is made more pleasant with the gondolas running in the summer months for down-hillers!
Build a raft and go down a stream
Floating a pristine stretch of river with the family is an exciting way to spend a few days in Niseko in summer.
The pleasant summer breezes call fall outdoor art projects. Here is one to get your own artists in residence inspired: have them recycle old logs to build their own raft before getting onto Shirbetsu by midday. A great place to look for logs is on the banks of a river, where many trees fall in.
Celebrate potatoes at the Jaga Festival
The Jaga “Potato” Festival is the biggest summer event in the nearby town on Kutchan. The celebration for Kutchen’s potato produce, the town’s specialty, will go on for two full days featuring a fun 1000-dancer parade on the first and firework show on the second.
Games will be played, live performances will be enjoyed and most importantly, fresh chips will be made and eaten on the spot! If you are in town on 4 and 5 August, don’t miss out on the festivity!
Join a scheduled summer camp
Having the kids home from school all summer can turn a parent’s schedule upside down. Don’t want to plan out and execute a week-long itinerary all by yourself? A scheduled summer camp allows them to take part in fun, healthy activities with their peers. Not only would it give parents some much-needed downtime, but it is also a fantastic opportunity for them to meet new friends! Talk to our concierge to sign up for a spot.