Enjoy Life and Recreation Beyond Winter Sports in Kutchan, Hokkaido!

 If you've traveled in Hokkaido, there's a huge possibility that you've passed by Kutchan Town.  It is one of the most popular places in Hokkaido because of its warm welcome to tourists, as a large number of its residents are English-speakers. 
Winter time is its biggest hit in tourism. Its sister town, Niseko (which was part of Kutchan several years ago), is a haven for people who enjoy snow sports like skiing and snowboarding.  Every year, hundreds of skiers and snowboarders flock this tiny town just to enjoy a weekend dash in the mountains of Annupuri and Hanazono. And who could resist its beautiful powdery snow?
Kutchan is popular for its powdery white snow!

 My first year living in Hokkaido was back in 2015 in a small town called Kyogoku. It's very close to Kutchan and Niseko, about a 25-minute drive. I had my first stopover in Niseko Town in March, and at that time the snow was still thick and high, reaching above human height (yes, there was still snow in March!). It was my first time seeing snow, and the beauty of these sister towns really caught my heart. I feel lucky to move to the countryside as I am not a big fan of the bustling city, and Kutchan Town is such a great place to relax, experience nature, and enjoy some rustic life.
Rice fields and Mount Yotei in Kyogoku Town

Corn fields in Kyogoku Town


So if you enjoy a little bit of the provincial life and some urban in between, Kutchan Town is the place to be. It's not just all about winter time, snow sports, and hillbilly stuff, don't worry! There are in fact, a lot of things to do here.
Go Cycling 
Summer is amazing in Hokkaido and the temperature isn't as hot as what we have in the South. Other than that, you can enjoy viewing the mountains, rice fields, corn fields (and more fields you can think of), and beautiful clear rivers and streams around. Kutchan is enveloped with numerous mountains and the roads are not packed with vehicles so it's pretty safe and enjoyable to take the road down with a bicycle. 
Learn Crafts
Kutchan is proud to have summer workshops both for kids and adults. You can learn from making homemade soba noodles, writing kanji, experience tea ceremonies, baking, and more.
Go Camping
There are several neighboring towns near Kutchan that are available for camping. Most of them are as low as 500 yen (5 USD) per night for a space. Camping is fun in Kutchan as there are a few lights at night and if the skies are clear, you can enjoy viewing the stars.

Public Baths 
Public baths or onsen are popular especially in Hokkaido and most of them are very close to camp sites. So if you're wondering where to refresh yourself for the next day, you can find a great number of onsen to choose from. 
Enjoy Rafting
Kutchan is surrounded by many rivers so you should not be surprised with the availability of water sports around. Rafting and kayaking are open from April to October.

Sing at the Karaoke
Japanese style karaoke isn't only enjoyed in the big cities! You can also have them in Kutchan. There are a lot of public karaoke bars (or snack bars) in the town proper, but if you prefer a private sing-along with your friends (or yourself), you can go to Karaoke Utaya.
Utaya Karaoke Bar

Wine and Dine
From Kutchan Station, you can find a long range of bars and restaurants that are open all-year round. And since it is foreigner-friendly, you can find several Western-style restaurants too, if you would want to have a taste of home.
Snack Bar Alley

Japanese Pubs

Chinese restaurant

Rustic style cafes
Because of the growing population of tourists every year, plenty of cozy cafes open like mushrooms in Kutchan Town. The atmosphere of each cafe is unique, and all of their menus are original and homemade. 

Fucca Cafe in Makkari, close to Kucthan Town

English menu available!

A row of restaurants and cafes that open at night

Now that I have shared you some ideas on what you can do in Kutchan, let me tell you some of the good and (not so good) stuff about this place:

Pros ๐Ÿ‘
  • If you want to enjoy a weekend or holiday away from the bustling city, Kutchan has a lot of room for peace and nature.

  • English is very common everywhere, and while some stores have staffs that cannot speak in English, they have menus and instructions in English that can help you.

  • Summer tourism isn't as crowded compared to how it is in winter, and prices and accommodations are on discount.

  • Kutchan has many neighboring towns that are also great to explore. 

  • Because it is a popular tourist place, you can meet a lot of people from different parts of the world! 

Cons ๐Ÿ‘Ž
  • While Kutchan is a great getaway place, public transportation is quite a problem here. The best way to enjoy this place is to own or rent a car to get to the destinations you want to be.

  • Most stores close very early and some of them are not available every day.

  • Because it's a touristy place, expect prices and accommodations to be high especially during winter season. So you really need to save up!

Looking for imported goods? M Pocket Store in Kutchan has it for you!


And that's all, folks! I hope this article gave you some ideas and inspire you to visit. Here are a list of directories for your reference:


Toyota Rent-a-Car, Kutchan
Address: 〒044-0051 Hokkaido, Abuta District, Kutchan, Kita 1 Jonishi, 2 Chome−19 2

Toyota Toyota Rent-a-Car, Niseko-Hirafu
Address: 172็•ชๅœฐ9 Yamada, Kutchan, Abuta District, Hokkaido 044-0081
Kutchan Association Website
Good Sports Niseko Rafting
Karaoke Utaya
Address: 〒044-0053 Hokkaido, Abuta District, Kutchan, ๅŒ—3ๆก่ฅฟ1ไธ็›ฎ10−1
Rate:  ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ   


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