Last year discovering this hidden gem of a resort just 45 minutes drive away from Niseko made it top of the list to come back on my days off this year.
Rusutsu (Pronounced “lusstsu”) is a family friendly ski resort split over two mountains with a whacky hotel in the middle.
It has a petting zoo, reindeer sleigh rides, a singing tree and an indoor free merry-go-round.
For intermediate to advanced skiers, it has great open tree runs and consistent pitched, wide green, red and black pistes. On the East mountain, it has a terrain park with natural features through the forest.
It’s a great place to make new friends. The “Bell of Encounters” hung at 994m atop the Isola Peak is located where Mt. Yotei and Mt. Shiribetsu (the husband and wife mountains) meet on the Ryumyaku route (where energy flows on the mountain ridges) and is thought to be flowing with mystical energy. The bell can be rung, and a prayer made to ask to meet someone wonderful in the future.
Of course, I rang it, and of course, I met someone wonderful. Much sooner than I had anticipated…
This Shetland Pony petting zoo is located on the West mountain in the middle of the slopes.
And they will even give you kisses (whether you ask for them or not!)
Or pose for a selfie. These guys are pretty photogenic.
Talking of photogenic, the resort itself is set up for some really beautiful shots of thick frosted trees.
We had a bit of a play in the trees trying to get insta-worthy pics before heading down the long rolling red runs with a view of the East mountain.
Today was pretty overcast. It’s known to be so clear on a sunny day that you can see both Lake Toya and the Ocean from the top of Mt Isola Gondola.
Another pretty cool addition to this already amazingly quiet Japanese secret, is the chance to take the connecting Gondola through an abandoned theme park. Rumour has it that you can ski through it too…?!
Unfortunately you can’t go on the rollercoasters in the winter… but if you fancy the rollercoaster-ride of your life try the 70-bump-long zipperline down the ISOLA-B Black run on the West side! Send it!
…Made us exhausted just looking at it..
Bundling back on the bus as the Night Skiing lights began to turn on we headed home.
At 5:30 we were back in Hirafu, still enough time to enjoy a sushi-making party and have a couple drinks. Day well spent!
45 minutes bus tour to Rusutsu with Ski Pass included is 8000¥. Bus has Chandelier. Totally worth it.
Bus leaves from Hirafu Welcome Centre at 8:30. Leaves Rusutsu to return at 4:30.
Adult Day Ski Pass is 5500¥ (500¥ refundable deposit). This gives you access to all the lifts on both mountains.
The Hotel on the East mountain of Rusutsu is worth a look around and kids friendly. There’s an amazing Creme Puff shop upstairs next to a whacky dog puppet orchestra.
There’s are two restaurants in Rusutsu West side at the bottom of the runs. SteamBoat Cafe has a wide choice of Japanese cuisine options from Ramen to Curry to Sashimi Rice Bowls. Omrice and the cheese Katsu Curry are popular choices for good reason!
I personally love this resort, and I hope you will too! But shhh… our little secret yeah?