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‘Magical Winter Hokkaido’ Travel Talk

‘Magical Winter Hokkaido’ Travel Talk

Thursday, 22 October, 2020 @ 11.00 Dublin/London [GMT+1]

Duration: 1-Hour

Our team at Unique Japan Tours is delighted to conduct their 4th Webinar of the season, with special guest speakers from Hokkaido in Japan.

This webinar will give you a real insight into the incredible beauty and magical winter wonderland that awaits you in Hokkaido, Japan.

Panel & Topics :

Paul Haggart, Hokkaido Tourism Consultant, Niseko Town Council Industry & Tourism Division.

Paul will introduce and outline some of the things that make Niseko ski resort one of the most highly acclaimed in the world. Often nicknamed the “Aspen of the East” for its luxurious accommodation options and lively apres ski bar and restaurant scene. And yet unlike Apsen or any ski resort in Europe, Niseko boasts so much more such as an abundance of natural volcanic hot springs to soothe the muscles after dinner at the end of a day’s skiing. Niseko has seen skyrocketing growth in overseas visitor numbers over the last 2 decades with over 200k overseas visitors traveling to Niseko in the 2018/2019 season. One of the key highlights is the abundance of deep, light, fluffy, “powder snow” of which Niseko has become renowned since it receives an average snowfall of over 15m’s a year (compared with about 1.5-2m in many European ski resorts). Paul is a long term resident of Niseko who has a passion for promoting the food, culture, and amenities of the area to prospective visitors and will be able to answer any question you have on the area.

Originally from New Zealand. Paul started a Tour Guide Company in New Zealand handling inbound Japanese tour requirements. After a long career dealing with various aspects of the Japanese inbound market, he moved to Niseko, Hokkaido in 2006 to work for Hokkaido Tracks, Niseko’s pioneering condominium development company and contributing to many aspects of Niseko’s growth as an internationally acclaimed resort in the hospitality sector. Before this, he spent 7 and half years in local government contributing to Tourism and the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events) sector. Based in Niseko full time, he continues his contributions to various projects locally and nationally in Japan as a Tourism and MICE Consultant.


Andrew Clarke, Unique Japan Tours Hokkaido Tour Leader & Former Hokkaido Resident for many years.

Andrew will introduce you to the sights and experiences that we have compiled into our most underrated and perhaps “off the beaten path” tour of Japan – Journey to the East. From the bright lights and overwhelming sights, sounds, and tastes of the Sapporo Snow Festival to the peaceful tranquility of observing the mystical and highly endangered Red-Crowned Crane bath in an icy cold flowing river at sunrise. He will outline some of the joys that are to be discovered along our adventurous route through the heartland of a frozen Hokkaido and showcase some of the photography he took along the way. A keen snowboarder and former Niseko resident, Andrew will also outline some of the options for those seeking to try some winter sports in Hokkaido.

Andrew has spent 8 years living in Japan, including 3 years in Niseko in Hokkaido. He was the sales and marketing manager for a real estate development and property management company in Niseko ski resort and helped promote the region to international visitors through this time. In the past when living in a different area of Japan, he helped organise group tours to the Sapporo Snow festival. He has personally been to the Sapporo Snow Festival on 6 different occasions. He has helped develop Journey to the East small group tour as a tour leader in 2018. He is intimately familiar with the sights and experiences on this tour and other winter experiences in Niseko.

Ms Darina Slattery, Managing Director Unique Japan Tours

Darina has spent almost 25 years living, working, and breathing Japan! Born in Ireland but has spent half her life working with Japan. Her love for Japan started young at just 17 years old. Considered a unique choice back then, she decided to continue her love of languages and study Business Studies with Japanese!! During this time she spent one year at Meiji Gakuin University in Yokohama/Tokyo which really was the start of her career/love affair with Japan. In 2005, she began welcoming Japanese people into Ireland (Japan Ireland Travel). But soon realised that Japan was a far more interesting destination and the global audience was far greater than just the Japanese traveler so created Unique Japan Tours. Darina is the master mind behind all itineraries and routes developed with her loyal team in Unique Japan Tours. During her discussion, she will give you an insight into Japan today; what Covid changes are in place; and where the future lies for travel to Japan post-covid.


Moderator: Ms Mizuki Kamakura (Unique Japan Tours)