Niseko Hirafu

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Niseko Hirafu
Niseko Hirafu
Hirafu Village
Hirafu Village
Hirafu intersection
Hirafu intersection
Hirafu Gondola
Hirafu Gondola
Niseko Hirafu is very family friendly
Niseko Hirafu is very family friendly
The Family Run can get rather congested
The Family Run can get rather congested
Wandering around the snowy streets is part of the appeal
Wandering around the snowy streets is part of the appeal
The food trucks provide an option for an inexpensive feed
The food trucks provide an option for an inexpensive feed
The Fridge Door Bar
The Fridge Door Bar
Freddie
Freddie's Bar Hirafu
Some of the Hirafu restaurants are upscale
Some of the Hirafu restaurants are upscale
Hirafu Village Niseko
Hirafu Village Niseko
An institution of the Niseko nightlife
An institution of the Niseko nightlife
Hirafu Gondola
Hirafu Gondola
Grand Hirafu Ski Resort
Grand Hirafu Ski Resort
Hirafu has lots of amenities and services
Hirafu has lots of amenities and services
There are various Hirafu ski shops
There are various Hirafu ski shops
Views of Mt Yotei
Views of Mt Yotei
Niseko Grand Hirafu Ski Resort
Niseko Grand Hirafu Ski Resort
Niseko Hirafu
Niseko Hirafu

Niseko Hirafu

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Niseko Hirafu

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Niseko Hirafu4 out of 5 based on 5 reviews
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Niseko Hirafu

Niseko Hirafu is the main heartbeat of Niseko in Hokkaido. Hirafu is the largest of the Niseko villages (although Hirafu Village is probably large enough to be considered a town), and the Niseko Grand Hirafu Ski Resort is also the biggest of the four interconnected Niseko United ski areas. Niseko Japan is famous for the high quality powder that falls in abundance. Niseko is also world renowned as a premier Japanese ski resort due to its huge range of restaurants, bars, shops, and services, yet in reality, these are largely just elements of the Hirafu Village.

Pros and Cons of Niseko Hirafu

Most other pros and cons outlined on the Niseko overview also pertain to Hirafu.

Pros
  • The Hirafu Village is somewhat unique. There aren’t many Japanese ski resorts that have a village where you can wander around and explore lots of restaurants and shops.
  • The nightlife is very vibrant, which is rather rare for a Japanese ski resort.
  • Hirafu has the best developed facilities and services in Niseko, so it has the best choice for snowboard and ski rentals, and the most options for ski and snowboard lessons with an English speaking instructor (group or private format).
  • Niseko Hirafu is family friendly and has kids’ lessons and babysitting.
  • Apartments and houses are somewhat rare at Japan ski resorts, but Niseko Hirafu has a multitude of options.
  • As part of Niseko United, the Grand Hirafu Ski Resort provides access to extensive terrain (relative to other Japanese ski resorts), and off-piste and sidecountry skiing and snowboarding is permissible.
  • Grand Hirafu itself is a decent sized ski area.
  • The Hirafu night skiing is very impressive.
  • As with all of Niseko, Puki Yuki the snow goddess blesses Hirafu with lots of blower powder.
Cons
  • Niseko overall is rather busy, but Grand Hirafu in particular can get a little crazy during peak holidays (see when to ski in Niseko).
  • All of Niseko is very expensive relative to most other Japanese ski resorts, and Hirafu accommodation comes with a premium price tag if you want to be near the slopes.
  • A small amount of the Hirafu accommodation is ski-in ski-out, but much of the lodging sits below the Hirafu ski resort which requires a walk or shuttle bus to get to the slopes.
  • For a busy ski resort that charges so much for lift tickets, it’s surprising that the lift infrastructure isn’t better.
Pro or Con Depending on Your Perspective
  • Most people speak English and Japanese is not widely spoken. Most of the staff in the Hirafu hotels, restaurants, ski schools and shops are not Japanese native speakers.
  • Some of the pros have come about because Hirafu is very westernised (e.g. nightlife, self-contained accommodation, international ski school) and only small amounts of Japanese culture have been retained.

Grand Hirafu Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Niseko Hirafu Ski Resort is a decent sized ski area (by Japanese standards) with 22 marked trails (or courses as the Japanese call them in English), 940 metres of vertical (260 - 1,200m), and 9 lifts. It is good for beginners and intermediates, whilst Grand Hirafu is particularly famous for its off-piste skiing, tree skiing, access to “the peak”, and the impressive night skiing.

Grand Hirafu is inter-connected via the slopes and lifts with Hanazono and Niseko Village and then onto Niseko Annupuri (so long as ferocious winds haven’t closed the lifts), so a Niseko United lift pass provides access to additional terrain.

See the Niseko Grand Hirafu Ski Resort page for more information on the terrain.

Where is Niseko Hirafu?

The Niseko Hirafu Ski Resort and the Hirafu village that sits at the base are located between Niseko Village and Hanazono. Hirafu is officially located in Kutchan Hokkaido, although the actual town of Kutchan is 8km to the northeast.

The New Chitose Airport (Sapporo Airport) is the main gateway airport (100km away) and there are airport shuttle buses and private transfers available. See the travel to Niseko page for more information on location and transport.

Hirafu Accommodation

The Hirafu village can be subdivided into Upper Hirafu (above Highway 343) and Lower Hirafu (below Highway 343). Upper Hirafu is closest to the slopes and includes some ski-in ski-out accommodation. Lower Hirafu accommodation is a short walk to the Ace Family lift, or a shuttle to the slopes is required. As a gross generalisation, there are more Hirafu hotels in the upper zone, and more big houses and apartments in the lower village.

Nearby are sub-villages that are within walking distance of the hub of Hirafu such as Hirafu East village (Izumikyo) and South Village (some call it West Village), where the cost of accommodation is more affordable.

See a map and search for Hirafu accommodation rates and availability and book online:

Ski Resort Facilities & Activities

Niseko Hirafu Ski Resort and Hirafu Village pretty much have whatever amenities and services you may be looking for, including snowboard and ski rentals, snowsports schools, on-mountain eateries, and even the all-elusive international ATMs. See the Niseko facilities page for more information.

Niseko Hirafu also offers lots of activities including day spas and ski tours. See the Niseko activities page for more information.

[AdListings collection="Japan" category="Niseko" subcategory="Hirafu Rentals"]
Tours In/Near Niseko Hirafu

Safari (Road Trip) Tours

Powder Progression for Skiers
GUIDED SKIER PROGRESSION TOUR
8 Nights | 4 Days Instruction | 2 Days Guiding
Ability: Advanced
Do you charge the piste but struggle in powder? This Niseko and Otaru based tour is an instructional tour with certified instructors and includes day trips to nearby ski resorts.
Price p/p From price based on twin/triple-share accom for group tours in 23/24 season with exception of snow festival tour.
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese yen inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,647
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Southern Hokkaido Powder Tour
HOSTED & GUIDED ADVENTURE
10 Nights - 8 Days Guided Skiing/Riding
Ability: Advanced to Expert
The Southern Hokkaido region scores the most snow and with this lift accessed sidecountry tour you'll get to explore the best ski areas. 3 nights in Otaru, 5 nights in Hirafu Niseko & 2 nights in Hakodate.
Price p/p From price based on twin/double-share option for group tour for 2023-24 season.
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese yen inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 3,183
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Hokkaido Powder Tour
GUIDED BACKCOUNTRY ADVENTURE
7 Nights | 8 Days | 6 Days Skiing/Riding
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Ski waist deep powder, summit volcanoes, take a soak in the natural hot springs and enjoy great food; these are just some of the highlights of this tour. This is a backcountry road trip for those who have an appetite for a real adventure...and are fit.
Price p/p Price is per person based on twin or triple-share rooms for 2025 season
Base/invoice currency is CAD
Displayed price may vary slightly to actual due to exchange rate fluctuations
USD 3,249
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See all Safari (Road Trip) tours that visit Niseko Hirafu here

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Otaru & Niseko Powder Chaser
HOSTED POWDER CHASING TOUR
7 Nights | 6 Days Chasing Powder
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
If you are on a budget but still want to ride all of the best spots around Niseko & Otaru then this package/tour is for you! Join as a solo traveller or small group or book the entire 5 spots!
Price p/p Price is per person based on a group of 2-5.
Base currency is Japanese Yen/invoice currency is AUD
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 2,010
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BDT Lift Assisted Backcountry Tours
LIFT ASSISTED BACKOUNTRY TOURS
Niseko Area | PRIVATE GROUPS ONLY
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Join Black Diamond Tours for a day or more of guided powder hunting in Niseko or one of the nearby resort or backcountry areas with your own PRIVATE GROUP. Areas include Niseko backbowls, Rusutsu, Kiroro, Teine & Kokusai. Primarily lift accessed so minimal hiking.
Price p/p From price based on 1 day tour per person - 5 people in private group (lift tickets not included) for 24/25 season exclusive of tax.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 161
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Backcountry Touring Day Trips
GUIDED BACKCOUNTRY DAY TOURS
Niseko & Surrounding Areas | Private Groups Only
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Ideal if you are staying in NISEKO and are looking for a guided BACKCOUNTRY day in or around Niseko. These day tours are specifically for those who are happy to earn their turns and are for private groups of 1 - 5 guests (but 6 - 7 is also possible with a tail guide).
Price p/p From price based on PER PERSON for a PRIVATE GROUP of 5 guests in shoulder season.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY inc taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 119
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See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Niseko Hirafu here

Single-Base, Single-Ski-Area Tours

Guided Photography Tours
GUIDED PHOTOGRAPHIC TOURS
Half & Full Day Package | Private Groups Only
Ability: Beginner to Expert
Experience Niseko’s world-famous powder snow with your guide and professional photographer. Incredible snow… the best zones… epic shots!! Private groups only of up to 5 in a group. Suited to all abilities.
Price p/p Form price based on half-day package per person in a private group of 5
base/invoice currency is JPY
Displayed price might vary slightly from actual due to exchange rate fluctuations
USD 114
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Niseko Ultimate Powder Tour
Guided Niseko & Cat Skiing
6 Nights | 4 Days Guided | 1 Day Cat Skiing
Ability: Advanced to Expert
This luxury 6-night, 7-day tour is ideal for advanced to expert skiers & snowboarders who want to maximise their time in Niseko with an experienced guide. The tour includes luxe lodging and a day of epic cat skiing.
Price p/p From price is per person twin-share
base/invoice currency is USD
USD 6,950
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See all Single-Base, Single-Ski-Area tours that visit Niseko Hirafu here

Backcountry Skiing Tours

BDT Guided BC Day Tours
PRIVATE GUIDED BACKCOUNTRY TOURS
Niseko Area | Shiribetsu & Yotei
Ability: Advanced to Expert
Join Black Diamond Tours on an epic day (or days) of guided backcountry skiing or riding near Niseko. Ideal for private groups. Areas include Niseko backcountry areas, Shiribetsu, lower Mt Yotei or Yotei summit (weather pending).
Price p/p From price based on 1 day of guided backcountry skiing/riding per person (5 guests in your group e.g. 120,000 yen total) for 2025 season ex taxes.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 161
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Summit Ski Day Guiding
GUIDED DAY TOURS
Private groups only of up to 5 guests
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Day guiding for your PRIVATE GROUP of up to 5 people (or more if you add a second guide) for Niseko area including Rusutsu or Central Hokkaido such as Furano, Asahidake etc. Summit Ski offer instructor/guides for these locations.
Price p/p Price is per person based on a PRIVATE group of 5 for 2024 season.
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese Yen
Displayed price may vary slightly to actual due to currency fluctuations
USD 134
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Heli Skiing Tours

Shiribetsu-Dake Day Heliskiing
DAY HELI SKIING RUSUTSU - 6 RUN PACKAGE
Includes Niseko pickup & lunch
Ability: Advanced to Expert
A heli skiing operation near Rusutsu & Niseko. Make this one of the best days of your life skiing Hokkaido's deep dry powder on a dormant volcano (adjacent to Rusutsu and not far from Niseko).
Price p/p From price based on 6-run heli ski day 2023 rates.
Base/invoice currency is in JPY in taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 1,233
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Cat Skiing Tours

Iwanai Cat Skiing Day Package
MIXED GROUP DAY CAT SKIING
7 - 9 Runs
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Iwanai Cat Skiing serves up powder runs of 450-680m of vertical bliss, with 6 to 9 runs for the day. Located near Niseko, the Iwanai Resort snowcat skiing terrain scores masses of snowfall. Ideal for advanced riders with powder experience for group tours or strong intermediates for private snowcat.
Price p/p Price is per person per day
Base/invoice currency is in Japanese Yen
Displayed price may vary slightly due to exchange rate fluctuations. Price includes 8% sales tax
USD 871
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Chisenupuri Cat Skiing
UNGUIDED CAT SKIING NEAR NISEKO
Single Day, Pick Up & Return Niseko
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Advanced
Unguided cat skiing near Niseko is at the former ski resort of Chisenupuri. You have the freedom to explore and it is ideal for apprentice powder hounds or advanced riders heading to Niseko. Chisenupuri cat skiing is a lust-do! Finish the cat ski day with a soak in an amazing onsen.
Price p/p Price is per person per day for 2025 season exclusive of tax
Base/invoice currency is Japanese Yen
*display price may vary slightly due to exchange rate fluctuations
USD 595
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Niseko Cat Skiing Day Tours
NISEKO DAY CAT SKIING
Single Day Guided, Inc. Lunch
Ability: Advanced to Expert
A day of awesome guided cat skiing near Niseko in backcountry terrain with some steep lines, technical trees, and pillows and mushrooms. The snowcat skiing is ideal for those craving bottomless untracked powder runs.
Price p/p From price is per person for 23/24 season (min 4 persons required to operate)
Base/invoice currency is Japanese yen in taxes
*display price may vary slightly with fluctuations in currency
USD 529
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