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Shouya Grigg, the British creator of the Somoza art-commercial complex (Photo by Akiyoshi Inoue)

Niseko and the art of change

Local and foreign creatives make their mark on Hokkaido's famous ski resort

HIROFUMI YAMANAKA, Nikkei staff writer | Japan

NISEKO, Japan -- Once a little-known ski resort way off the beaten path in western Hokkaido, Niseko has blossomed into a favorite destination for well-heeled domestic and foreign travelers. The visitors have spawned a wave of creative entrepreneurs, who have transformed the sleepy town into a charming enclave of fine art galleries and top-shelf restaurants.

Shouya Grigg is one of them. Born in the U.K., Grigg long ago recognized Niseko's distinctive allure. In 2006, the enterprising Brit purchased a crumbling pension in the area and remodeled it into a restaurant that he christened Sekka Dining. The fine-dining establishment was a rarity in Niseko at the time, but helped spur Grigg into new endeavors.

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