The pleasant rural town of Kuromatsunai (黒松内) is a nice place to relax before of after visiting the international resort Niseko. Slow your pace and take the time to walk on the footpaths with a countryside view. There are four signed footpaths to the picturesque countryside, hills and forest.

The popular footpath Choposhinai Course (チョポシナイコース: 10km) begins with a ride on the train to Neppu Station (熱郛駅), one stop east of Kuromatsunai. Otherwise, you can park your car at the michi-no-eki (roadside station) Kuromatsunai.

Hike along the serene river and beyond the hill of Higashi-yama (東山: 190m), you can overlooking the rural town. The hike takes about three hours.

To stretch your leg more from the town center, continue to follow the Teranosawa-gawa (寺の沢川) to Utasai Forest Park (歌才森林公園) via Kuromatsunai Onsen. Pick up a footpath map (¥200) from the michi-no-eki. More info

Kuromatsunai Onsen Buna-no-mori

(黒松内温泉ぶなの森) This onsen is a good place for a soak after hiking, located at the gateway of Utasai Forest Park. It has contemporary indoor and open-air baths. There are five buses from Suttsu (35min) via JR Kuromatsunai Station (4min) except Sunday and holiday. More info

Getting There

For Kuromatsunai, four local trains on the JR Hakodate Line run from Oshamanbe (4 daily; 25min) and Otaru (2.5hrs) via Kutchan (1hr 20min).