While Niseko is renowned the world over for its powder snow, and Japan is said to be most beautiful during sakura (cherry blossom season), locals will tell you a secret that not many tourists know. It is perhaps the world’s best kept secret that it is in Autumn, when Japan’s countryside truly shines. The leaves changing colour as fall approaches, a slight nip in the air, and autumn produce hitting the wet market, all of this makes for a magical vacation, before the crowds descend on the slopes.
Besides the beauty of its countryside, Hokkaido’s produce is what has gained the island a reputation few places in the world enjoy. It is only natural then, that Niseko and nearby Sapporo have in recent years developed a vibrant food scene, of Michelin star status. Most of these world class restaurants are booked solid through the winter months. But if you want to get a taste of Hokkaido’s best gourmet food, the autumn food festivals in Niseko and Sapporo are the best places to do so.
Sapporo Autumn Food Festival
Attracting over two million visitors each year, the Sapporo Autumn Festival is Hokkaido’s largest gourmet event. Spread out over the better part of the month, the event is scheduled to be held from 11 September to 3 October 2020.
Hokkaido has four distinct seasons which define the local life. The white winter gives way to sakura, when the snow melts into fresh spring water, essential for enriching the multitude of crops that grow here in summertime. Autumn is harvest season, when the locals enjoy the fruits of their labour and thanks to food fests like this one, now you can too.
A large island, Hokkaido is vast not only in geographical terms, but also in the variety of its produce and cuisines produced thereof. Due to the local ingredients used, Sapporo’s ramen is distinctly different from that of Asahikawa, both equally delicious. The country’s northernmost city of Wakkanai is said to have the best quality of uni (sea urchin) and salmon roe. But it may not be possible for everyone to travel across the island to try all these delicious dishes. Sapporo Autumn Food Festival comes to your rescue, a place where you can try food from more than 100 municipalities across the prefecture, in one place.
It is an opportunity to not only sample all kinds of local food, but also to meet people and celebrate their way of life. For those seeking comfort, there are a range of international cuisines available at the fest, along with locally brewed sake and other beverages. Think of it as the Oktoberfest of the East, with high-quality food matching the incredible vibe of the event itself.
Date: 11 September to 3 October 2020
Time: 10:00 – 20:30
Location: Odori Park, Sapporo
Official Website: http://www.sapporo-autumnfest.jp
Niseko Autumn Food Festival
Back by popular demand, the annual Niseko Autumn Food Festival is scheduled for 17-21 September 2020. The event will showcase Niseko’s best restaurants and bars, where visitors can feast on all the dishes famed from this region, in a relaxed and casual setting. Flavours from beyond Niseko will also be showcased.
The eco-focused event shall have all participating restaurants using eco-friendly tableware. To reduce carbon emissions, a shuttle will be provided daily to the Sapporo Autumn Food Festival, allowing guests to participate in both extravaganzas.
Date: 17-21 September 2020
Time: 15:00-21:00 (TBC)
Location: To be announced