The House 

Set on 1600 m² of land, SETSU-IN is beautifully located in the North Hills area of Hanazono. The house opens onto a creek and a forest, private from the neighbours. The other side faces the East Ridge of Mt. Annapuri, so popular for back country riding. The Hanazono Winter Resort is just a few minutes away by car, or 10-15 minutes on foot.

For those looking to get most out of Niseko´s stunning Geen Season, the Tokyu Golf Course is just a few hundred meters away, and the breathtaking cycling route around Mt. Annapuri starts just outside the door.

SETSU-IN has three bedrooms and a large kitchen/dining room with a 5 meter high ceiling. There is also a smaller library/study room. There is a storage space for skis and other outdoor equipment, as well as a garage and laundry room.

The master bedroom looks into a tranquil nakaniwa (a Japanese style courtyard), and during the winter you can watch the snowflakes serenely pile up.

Total living area is 230 m². 

How many guests? The house is very comfortable for six people. Six adults with a few children also works well. Extra foldable beds and futons are available upon request.

Calligraphy style SETSU-IN

Calligraphy style SETSU-IN

Snow-hidden Retreat

If you have already spent a few days skiing in Japan, you are probably aware that the Japanese word for snow is yuki, or in kanji (Chinese characters): 雪.

But the same kanji – with the same meaning – can also be pronounced setsu. The yuki pronunciation is called kunyomi, or Japanese reading. The setsu pronunciation is called onyomi, or Chinese reading.

Onyomi came together with the characters from China in the 6th century. Yes, the Japanese writing system is complicated. Let’s leave it at that.

The second kanji 蔭 can mean several things, including hide or hidden. It’s pronounced in. So we have “snow” and “hidden”—hidden in snow—or, maybe, by association, a “snow-hidden retreat.”

Think 16th century tea master Sen no Rikyu, if he ever took refuge in Hokkaido (which he definitely didn’t, Hokkaido not really being part of Japan at the time.)

But we think that Sen no Rikyu—the Ur-Father of minimalism—would have felt very much at home in SETSU-IN (minus all the gadgets and gear, of course.)

Sen no Rikyu in another part of Japan

Sen no Rikyu in another part of Japan

Makoto Nakayama, Architect

SETSU-IN is designed by renowned architect Makoto Nakayama (, the creative mind behind many outstanding buildings in Niseko and around Japan, including the spectacularly beautiful hotel Zaborin (, also in Hanazono.

Interior design by Scandinavian Modern/Tokyo (