Hirayu Onsen

Hirayu Onsen

Overall Rating

Hirayu Onsen

Hirayu Onsen3/51
Hirayu Onsen3 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
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    100%
  • Would Revisit
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Hirayu Onsen - Reviews

Hirayu Onsen - Reviews

Steepest Ski Resort in Japan?

13/06/2020

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

Steepest Ski Resort in Japan?

13/06/2020
Lots of sweet terrain
Praying to Puki Yuki the snow goddess
Historic onsen town
Glamping at our ryokan
Hirayu Onsen is possibly the steepest ski resort in Japan with respect to off-piste terrain (inside resort boundaries). Sweet Jesus, the terrain was really steep and sort of frighteningly scary in parts. Perhaps it even beats Tengendai and Kurodake for the steepest lift-accessed terrain in Japan. However before we push it to the lofty heights of the #1 powder hound destination in Japan, it seems that the snow volumes are not consistent and Hirayu can have fab seasons when there’s a Japan powder feast or complete loser seasons. We visited during the latter in a miserable season, but then it was pretty lean all over Honshu with the exception of northern Tohoku. When we visited the official snow base was 35cm (yikes!) and we pegged our visit down to being a recon mission to look at the terrain. So glad we did!

The piste area was incredibly small, but the extent of lift serviced terrain was far greater, and the terrain packs a mean punch. The steep trees adjacent to the top lift were really impressive and it was sans cliffs, whilst the terrain on the other side of the in-bounds ravine looked way too scary for us. And then there was the phenomenal sidecountry, much of which feeds nicely back to the resort via a cross country trail and the track down from the Hirayu waterfall. Or the terrain that drops down to the public onsen in town looked super tasty with gorgeous steep trees, but we didn’t snack on it due to the low base.

We were also glad that we visited because just hanging out in the village of Hirayu Onsen was pretty cool. It was Chinese New Year and we thought it might be really busy, but it was mostly just a small number of Lunar New Year visitors in town, because you all know what happened around Chinese New Year in 2020! It was so nice wandering around the village, visiting a few of the cute eateries in town, soaking in the onsen at our ryokan, and glamping in our tatami room to immerse ourselves in the Japanese culture.

We’ve definitely got Hirayu Onsen on the list to revisit when the snow’s more ample.

You can see our thoughts on the pros and cons on the Hirayu Onsen overview page.