Ski Japan - Hokkaido

Niseko Grand Hirafu Resort Reviews

Ski Japan - Hokkaido

Niseko Grand Hirafu Resort Reviews

Visitor reviews for Niseko Grand Hirafu Ski Resort

Niseko Grand Hirafu Ratings

Overall: 4.0. Based on 50 votes and 108 reviews. Vote

Access: 3.8

(1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Niseko Grand Hirafu.

Public Transport: 4.4

(1) There are no buses or taxis to Niseko Grand Hirafu, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.

Scenery: 4.2

(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.

Accommodation: 4.6

(1) No places to stay in/near Niseko Grand Hirafu, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.

Cheap Rooms: 3.7

(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.

Luxury Hotels: 4.5

(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Niseko Grand Hirafu.

Ski in/Ski out: 4.3

(1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.

Childcare: 3.9

(1) There are no child care facilities at Niseko Grand Hirafu, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.

Snowsure: 4.7

(1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Niseko Grand Hirafu is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.

Snowmaking: 2.0

(1) Niseko Grand Hirafu relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.

Snow Grooming: 4.2

(1) There are no snow groomers at Niseko Grand Hirafu, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Niseko Grand Hirafu are groomed daily.

Shelter: 3.5

(1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Niseko Grand Hirafu is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.

Nearby options: 3.5

(1) If snow conditions are poor at Niseko Grand Hirafu, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.

Regional rating: 4.6

(1) Niseko Grand Hirafu usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.

Lift Staff: 4.7

(1) The staff at Niseko Grand Hirafu are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Niseko Grand Hirafu are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.

Crowds/Queues: 3.5

(1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.

Ski Schools: 4.6

(1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.

Hire and Repairs: 4.6

(1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.

Variety of pistes: 4.3

(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Niseko Grand Hirafu has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.

Beginners: 4.4

(1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.

Intermediates: 4.7

(1) No intermediate terrain at Niseko Grand Hirafu, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.

Advanced: 4.2

(1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.

Snow Park: 3.8

(1) Not even a kicker at Niseko Grand Hirafu, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.

Off-piste: 4.5

(1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.

Cross-country: 3.1

(1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Niseko Grand Hirafu, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.

Luge/Toboggan: 2.0

(1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Niseko Grand Hirafu has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.

Mountain Dining: 4.1

(1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.

Eating: 4.6

(1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.

Apres-Ski: 4.2

(1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.

Other Sports: 3.0

(1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.

Entertainment: 3.2

(1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.

Winter Walks: 3.1

(1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.

Ski Pass Value: 4.1

(1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.

Value (National): 4.0

(1) Overall, Niseko Grand Hirafu is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.

Value (Global): 4.1

(1) Overall, Niseko Grand Hirafu is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.

Show all 35 ratings

February 22, 2019
Herby from Ski Japan Japan
Niseko was once a powder heaven. Now overrun by every nation on earth. Many Chinese men who are kooks and are abusing the place, as they have all over the world.
February 20, 2019
Koflach from Ski Spain Spain
I've been there two times. The snow is a little wet or maritime (Ive been in January and Feb) and the resort is overcrowded (with 'powder hunters'). So, if it's not snowing don't expect any clean and 'virgin' accessible spots from 10.00h am. The lifts are obsolete for the overcrowded demand and the rates of the accommodation are exorbitant due to the tourist target (Australians in summertime holidays, wealthy south east Asians, some Canadians and Americans and some people of the nordic countries). Don't expect a great Japanese Culture here because Niseko is the coldest place ... If it's snowing heavily, like any mountain in the world with a huge snow fall, everything changes completely and even the evening drunken groups of young Australians are pleasant...:-)
February 17, 2019
Chris w from Ski Japan Japan
Agree with another reviewer. Lift infrastructure is 20 years old, accommodation beds up 1000% over that time, snow's great but this is not dreamland form; guide says others better.
February 17, 2019
powder rat from Ski Australia Australia
Well, I thought I'd give Niseko another go and have spent most of the 2018/19 season here. There has been a massive increase in new beds in the resort with no increase in ski lifts or skiable area. This has resulted in massive crowds on the slopes and big waiting times for lifts. Hanazono 1 regularly 15 minutes, Annapuri and Niseko Village gondolas regularly 20 minutes..it's terrible. The powder is tracked out in record time. Annapuri bowls, Kamikaze, Strawberry Fields by 9.30 every powder day...it's ridiculous. Things are only getting worse as there are another 500+ beds due for completion at Hanazono next season so that place will be tracked in record time. Restaurants in Hirafu are fully booked every night and prices have doubled over 3 years. Such a shame. Paradise ruined by the greed of foreigners.
February 06, 2019
Mike from Ski Australia Australia
Amazing snow but major expansion of accommodation without any meaningful addition to uphill transport. Big crowds and the powder is trashed within two hours!
January 13, 2019
Hokkaido native from Ski Japan Japan
Gratitude to the Aussies! As a local Japanese, thank you Australians and Kiwis! I truly respect and must thank Australians and of course other foreigners as ambassador of Japan skiing, culture and Hokkaido culture to the world. Thank you for injecting so much life and blending east and west in Niseko area development. In general, Australians are so well travelled around the world, I found Australians more global than many other nationals. Of course, you get drunken stupor but that’s not limited to Aussies.
February 19, 2018
mark from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
i was surprised by how old and slow the lifts are for Japan's biggest resort and also how few Japanese were in Hirafu! Some great powder but very busy so the piste is not spectacular after 10am and usually very moguled by late afternoon. Night skiing ok, and prices for food on the mountain cheaper than the Alps. Still disappointed by how much the resort has been taken over by over-loud, obnoxious Australians. it's a pity. As such, I think some other resorts in Hokkaido are better.
February 07, 2017
powder rat from Ski Australia Australia
2016/17 season has been the worst season since 2003. The snow has just not come this year. However, huge crowds of skiers/boarders have. The bowls and areas out the gates have only had good bottomless powder on a maximum of 10 days this season and it has been getting tracked out by the massive number of skiers and boarders in record time. Niseko without regular large snowfall becomes a small, crowded hill with heavily trampled snow. If this season (and last season for that matter) is anything to go on the place is massively over-rated. There are heaps better places to ride powder consistently and without the huge crowds. Paradise spoilt by greedy property developers and tour operators....look elsewhere.
April 05, 2016
Graham from Ski Japan Japan
Niseko area has amazing snowfall during winter and is a great place. The spring park, however, is a huge let down. A resort that gets so many skier visits during peak season should be able to build and fund a decent park and keep up with the times. If small mountains in the U.S, Canada, Australia and New Zealand can build parks with progressive jumps and a variety of features surely they can do this in Hirafu.
February 20, 2016
kaktus from Ski Austria Austria
I had never seen an older ski lift than in Niseko in my whole life. I am over 50 years old and have skied most of the main resorts in the Alpes, Canada and I have been to Georgia in the Kaukasus Region. This was quite a surprise. Snow was good but not so exceptional that I would wait in line for a short lift ride again.