Niseko Hirafu

Niseko Hirafu

Overall Rating

Niseko Hirafu

Niseko Hirafu4/54
Niseko Hirafu4 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
  • Recommend
    100%
  • Would Revisit
    100%

Niseko Hirafu - Reviews

Niseko Hirafu - Reviews

Insane Tree Skiing Including at Night

08/11/2020

Brandon

Powder Enthusiast
Powder Enthusiast

Brandon

Powder Enthusiast
Powder Enthusiast
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
  • Month Visited:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    5

Insane Tree Skiing Including at Night

08/11/2020
Hiking the peak
Dumping on us while night skiing
Never got tired of looking at Mt. Yotei
We rode Hirafu more than any of the other resorts while we were in Japan. It was a historically dry year for them, however, between the night before we arrived and the last day of our 6-day trip about 49 inches of the fluffy stuff fell. Hirafu was a blast, we were first in line on the gondola every morning, and every day we lined up within 15 mins there was a line 200 feet back behind us. We ended up riding the first day we arrived because our hotel room wasnt ready so we changed in the hotel and left our bags and hit the slopes for some night skiing. Theres some weird phenomena in Niseko that when you're in the trees it doesn't matter if its dumping snow or you're super deep in the off-piste during night skiing, or both, somehow you can just see BETTER when your in the trees. The terrain is awesome: rolling hills, pillows, gullies. And theres always fresh snow to be found if your able to go look for it. The groomers were nice and wide and you could get plenty of speed on them. The lift system was great, had a gondola at the bottom, a hooded 4 seater for the middle section, and a single person chair that is sure to be on everybody's bucket list the first time they see it. I hiked to the peak but then dropped in to the Hanazono gate so I cant attest to the hike-to-terrain at the top of Hirafu. Also the gate section at the "armpit" between Hirafu and Hanazono (Gate 9) was loaded with good snow and fun terrain. The views on Hirafu are some of the best i've seen anywhere with Mt. Yotei looking incredible in the backdrop.Hirafu has the best nightlife of the 4 Niseko base villages. It's also the most expensive. It's easily the most crowded of the Niseko resorts as well however i'm used to skiing at the different Vail Resorts so i'm used to some obscene lift lines. I would 100% revisit Hirafu because it is also a great area to set up basecamp for a long trip where your other exploring resorts all over Hokkaido.

More Off-Slope Development

31/03/2020

POWDERHOUNDS.COM

Powderhounds Ambassador
Powderhounds Ambassador

POWDERHOUNDS.COM

Powderhounds Ambassador
Powderhounds Ambassador
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    1

More Off-Slope Development

31/03/2020
Hirafu Intersection - a break in the traffic
A new bar - Freddies!
If you’re a powder hound looking for fresh powder lines in-bounds, Grand Hirafu probably isn’t for you (true powder hounds can sniff out powder in other nearby places), but it’s the rest of what Hirafu offers that makes it so appealing, such as roaming the snowy streets in search of new restaurants and bars. Hirafu is quite unique considering there are only a handful of Japanese ski resorts that have a village where you can stroll around. Many Japan ski resorts have just one hotel at the base, après ski consists of an onsen soak, your one dinner option is a buffet at the hotel, and you can forget bars because the only place you’ll find alcohol is in the vending machine. Hirafu is soooo much better.

It was no great surprise that more off-slope development has occurred since we last visited Hirafu and that more fancy condos and hotels have popped up. It was also not surprising that the Grand Hirafu slopes have got a little busier, in part due to the Ikon Pass, but mostly due to the influx of beginners wanting to give this skiing/snowboarding caper a go. Lift queues were also a bit of a problem, but mostly due to inefficiencies in the way the lifts were loaded. Nevertheless compared to some of the pics we saw of European and US ski resort lift queues during the season, Hirafu was relatively quiet!

The Hirafu streets have also got a little busier. I wish the ski instructors would teach their pupils how to carry their skis because walking along the street in Hirafu can be perilous as beginners swing their skis from side to side!

We stayed in Central Hirafu at Full Note which was very friendly and a meticulously clean lodge, and it was positioned in an ideal spot to easily explore the many nearby restaurants and bars, or just downstairs was a vibrant bar.

You can see the Niseko Hirafu overview for our summary of the pros and cons of Hirafu.

Japow!

Jason Whitman
01/07/2019
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    January
  • Admin Rating
    3

Japow!

Jason Whitman
01/07/2019
I spent 7 days in Niseko in January 2019. It was packed with Aussie families on their summer vacation. With the town bursting at the seems it was still exceptional. 6 out of my 7 nights we received snow, never a big dump but enough for a powder reset. The mountain is big enough to easily support the crowds and still provide great conditions. Hirafu village is the most vibrant area to stay providing many restaurants and bars. If you are looking for a traditional Japanese experience this isn't the place for you. If you love powder, tree skiing and drinking with Aussie's you will be in Heaven.

The Main Hub of Niseko

18/06/2018

POWDERHOUNDS.COM

Powderhounds Ambassador
Powderhounds Ambassador

POWDERHOUNDS.COM

Powderhounds Ambassador
Powderhounds Ambassador
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    February
  • Admin Rating
    5

The Main Hub of Niseko

18/06/2018
Niseko Hirafu
Hirafu is synonymous with what most people have heard about Niseko. What we love about Niseko is the Hirafu village and the high quality accommodation, and the profusion of bars and restaurants that have amazing cuisine diversity. It’s so enjoyable to wander around Hirafu when it’s dumping with snow and explore all the nooks and crannies. The array of services on offer is also impressive. Hirafu has a buzz about it that’s very unique for a Japanese ski resort.

What we don’t like about Grand Hirafu Ski Resort is that it’s generally very busy and fresh powder seems to last only a nano-second, but we know that abundant freshies and a vibrant village don’t go hand in hand. There are plenty of other Japanese ski resorts we can go to for negligible competition for the powder and a dull nightlife.

The lift infrastructure is rather sub-standard for an “international ski resort” that sells so many expensive lift tickets. The Family lift has been upgraded to a quad lift and the King #3 lift had an upgrade and repositioning, but it’s amazing how many antiquated lifts remain.

Our thoughts on the pros and cons are outlined on the Niseko Hirafu page.