HOKKAIDO, Feb 12 (News On Japan) - Niseko, a renown ski resort in Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, is again attracting the gaze of wealthy tourists from abroad, with a surge in foreign visitors leading to a "bubble." Prices for food and services in Niseko have soared, with soy sauce and miso ramen going for 1,900 yen, and crab ramen a meaty 3,800 yen.
An American tourist commented on the affordability due to the weaker yen, finding the prices reasonable. In contrast, a Japanese skier remarked on the high cost of a 2,400 yen hamburger, acknowledging the need to accept higher prices while traveling.
The reason for these high prices? According to the general manager of NISEKO HANAZONO Resort, it's not just the rising costs of ingredients and fuel but also the surge in wages, with some jobs offering over 2,000 yen per hour, significantly higher than in Sapporo.
Niseko is currently experiencing a competition for labor, with workers being offered substantial benefits, including meals and accommodation. The Trifoot Hotel & Pod Niseko, for example, is offering attractive conditions to staff working through the busy season until March.
A 25-year-old man from Chiba, who came to work in Niseko in November, lives in a company dormitory with foreign roommates. He works at a ski rental shop during the day and at a Japanese restaurant at night, appreciating the high hourly wages that are rare to find even in Tokyo.
The influx of foreign tourists has revitalized Niseko, enabling workers to enjoy their favorite winter sports and improve their English skills. The presence of international visitors not only elevates the local economy but also enriches the cultural exchange, underscoring the unique appeal of Niseko as a global winter destination.