Setsu Summer: What to Do in Niseko in July?

  • By Clarence

Japan’s summer is not summer without fireworks and festivals. With the rising temperature and sunny days ahead, summer in Niseko is in full swing this July as the area and its neighbouring towns host a number of festivals everyone is welcome to go and see. Check out the list of summer activities and events in Niseko happening this month of July below and join the fun.

In and Around Niseko

Mountain Lights

Mountain Lights

1 July 2024 ~

The stunning immersive light art installation, Mountain Lights, will be open to visitors again this year starting 1 July. In its third exhibition year, in Niseko Hanazono Resort, they will be adding two new large-scale installations, “Moon Bloom” and “Prismatic Spring”, adding sound and colour to an already breathtaking sight. 

In addition to the mountain lights, Niseko Hanazono Resort will also be holding a summer fireworks display this year starting 6 July, as well as the first Fire Goddess Performance of the year on 13 July.

Shakotan Fire Festival
Photo Credit: Nippon Matsuri

Shakotan Fire Festival

4 -6 July 2024

Shakotan, a town located next to the sea of Japan known for its seafood and stunning capes, holds an annual festival at Bikuni Shrine to pray for continued safety at sea and a bountiful catch. Fisherman’s flags (大漁旗) decorate the town, and numerous floats and food stalls fill the streets of Shakotan during this time. However, the highlight of the festival is the Tengu Fire Dance where a person dressed as a tengu, walks through a pillar of flames, symbolising an act of purification.

Niseko Expedition
Photo Credit: Niseko Expedition

Niseko Expedition

5 - 7 July 2024

An adventure racing event, Niseko Expedition will be in its 5th year this year. Considered to be one of the toughest races out there, the whole race takes around 36 hours to complete where participating teams have to race through the Niseko’s natural terrain by trekking, mountain biking, packrafting, and canyoning. This year, the race will start at the Hilton Niseko Village on the midnight of 6 July and will end with an awarding ceremony in the afternoon the next day.

ARK Rally Kamuy
Photo Credit: JRCA

ARK Rally Kamuy

5 - 7 July 2024

Another thrill-packed event happening the same weekend as the Niseko Expedition is the ARK Rally Kamuy. Also known as the 6th round of the All Japan Rally Championship, the race will be happening on the unpaved roads of Rankoshi, Niseko, Kutchan, and Makkari. With spectator areas set up in several points of the race course, people can come and watch the race in person.

Iwanai Shrine Festival
Photo Credit: Experience Niseko

Iwanai Shrine Festival

7 - 9 July 2024

Witness an age-old and culturally rich shrine festival less than an hour away from Niseko in the first week of July. The Iwanai Shrine Festival in Iwanai goes back to over 200 years ago and is rooted in old Japanese and indigenous Ainu traditions. To wish good luck on homes and businesses, Iwanai locals carry around two portable shrines, or mikoshi, around town accompanied by sacred Shinto music called kagura. The main ceremony ends with these portable shrines being paraded on the sea and carried up to the shrine. 

Niko Niko Summer Festival
Photo Credit: Niseko Village

Niko Niko Summer Festival

13 - 14 July 2024

Niko Niko Summer Festival is an event in Niseko where the locals gather to enjoy some food, music, live performances, and a fireworks display during a summer weekend. Interact with the locals and make the most out of your summer holiday in Niseko.

Furubira Fire Festival
Photo Credit: Kai Hokkaido

Furubira Fire Festival

13 - 14 July 2024

The town of Furubira is also another town in the area that holds a fire festival every year. Similar to Shakotan’s Fire Festival, the town of Furubira also holds a fire festival for safety at sea and a plentiful catch at sea. Accompanied by the traditional Japanese festival sounds of drums and flutes, a person donning a Tengu mask walks through fire for a total of three times, followed by a lion dance walking through the fire as well.

Rankoshi Stream Festival
Photo Credit: Niseko Area Guide

Rankoshi Stream Festival

21 July 2024

The Rankoshi Stream Festival is an event to cool down from the summer heat. A family-friendly event, the festival is held in Rankoshi’s Lan Lan Park, by the banks of the Shiribetsu River, where family and friends can enjoy water activities like rafting and stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), along with live music and traditional art performances, as well as numerous food trucks.

Otaru Tide Festival
Photo Credit: Hokkaido Love

Otaru Tide Festival

26 - 28 July 2024

Held annually for over 50 years, the Otaru Tide Festival is considered to be one of Otaru City’s most important festivals. Fireworks mark the beginning and end of the festival, with thousands of people coming to attend the event. The festival’s highlight is the Ushio Nerikomi parade where groups of people dance their way around town.

Jigokudani Demon Fireworks
Photo Credit: Hokkaido Love

Jigokudani Demon Fireworks

Every Thursdays in July

Noboribetsu, a popular hot spring resort in Hokkaido and home to the famous Hell Valley, holds a fireworks festival every summer from June to July. It is an entertaining and unique fireworks display where Yukijin - the demons considered as guardians of the hot spring - launch the hand-held fireworks into the air in hopes of bringing happiness and carrying away troubles of the people.

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