• Icon snowing  color

Visitor reviews for Niseko Grand Hirafu Ski Resort

Niseko Grand Hirafu Ratings

Overall: 3.9. Based on 55 votes and 108 reviews. Vote

Snowsure: 4.6

(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.

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.

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.

Scenery: 4.1

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

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: 4.3

(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.

Accommodation: 4.5

(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: 4.2

(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: 3.8

(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.

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: 3.6

(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: 4.5

(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.

Beginners: 4.3

(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: 4.6

(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.

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: 4.5

(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): 3.9

(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): 4.0

(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

January 21, 2014
Dean from Ski Australia Australia
Just returned from our 6th trip to Niseko and we had a ball and the snow was, once again, spectacular. We have been at very different times through Dec/Jan, over the years, and the experience we have seen is that the New year period, at Xmas to early Jan and the Chinese new year period in Feb, are when the peak crowds appear. This is not as a result of the Aussies but the local Japanese and influx of Hong Kong Chinese on their holiday break. Outside of this period the crowds are very manageable. Given it is so cold at night most people are huddled up inside their apartment or in restaurants so this perception of drunken louts, roaming the streets, seems to be a little overstated given what we have seen. Enjoy your skiing, be tolerant, don't expect to be the only one on the mountain and you'll love the place.
January 11, 2014
Ned from Ski Australia Australia
Reading through the reviews I have to agree there are too many Aussies, which destroys the whole experience. Easy access to credit enables infiltration to Niseko which leaves a trail of vomit and filth. Anyway, as far as the skiing is concerned, the powder is great but it comes at a cost. Freezing temperatures and poor visibility are key features. [note from the editor : text edited to maintain direct relevance.]
November 28, 2013
FCA from Ski Hong Kong Hong Kong
Great area, but do not visit during Jan, especially early-mid, because there are far too many Aussie high school/uni students. Drunk on the street, verbally harassing bystanders, turning on their boombox in public restaurants during the day are just some of the antics they're involved in. I disagree that we should indulge in their behaviour "just because they're on holiday and we should expect it". I also regret that someone has revealed Anna and Moiwa as quieter spots...I've retreated there for many years and now you've given it away! ;-) Have found Niseko to be wonderful place otherwise. Recommend going Feb onwards, for reasons stated above.
November 11, 2013
John from Ski Australia Australia
Only 2 months 'till I'll be back (10th trip) in the powder heaven. It makes it worth working all year for 21 days in Niseko. Beautiful cheesecakes, excellent food and a spot of sliding on the best snow on planet earth. The people, their beautiful manners - please fellow visitors respect the beauty, the locals and enjoy!
October 07, 2013
frank from Ski Hong Kong Hong Kong
Hirafu is a great place and a lot of what's happening in the area happens here. But if you want to escape the people I would head out to Annupuri and Moiwa (same mountain) to do your riding. There's a lot of Aussie bashing in some of the reviews and I honestly have to say that in the 7 years that I have been going I've never really run into drunken/obnoxious Australians that have bothered me personally. I do see some kids late at night, drunk, and fairly loud, but heh, people are on vacation so, to an extent, expected. There's way more drunken stupidity in North American and European resorts. Like I touched on earlier. If you want to avoid all of this stay in Izumikyo or Annupuri where it's way more laid back.
March 18, 2013
heather mccalman from Ski Australia Australia
I have just read another review on the behaviour of some of my countrymen (and I do mean mostly males). I have to say that as a long term visitor to this resort (10 consecutive years) and as an Australian, I was really pleased to read the review and to see it placed where some who need to read it might. Thanks for publishing it so prominently.
March 14, 2013
Simon Leavers from Ski Australia Australia
Hirafu is amazing soft powder, unbelievable. Great restaurants and shopping. Would come back. It is great to see many cultures from the world skiing in the one place. All the staff at the ski schools were so friendly. To another reviewer: You are right, some Australians are rowdy. However, this comes down to hard working, hard playing culture. Unfortunately, this seems to offend you. Niseko markets itself to Australians so we come here. Some Aussies probably watch snowboarding videos before they come and see the antics of those silly Americans and their crazy stunts. After reading your article I reflected on my day. I skied hard and then walked around the village with my family enjoying the shops. I even saw an Aussie in the pub drinking a pint at 4 pm, how uncouth. Once home we enjoyed a few drinks and some fine Hokkaido cheese and salami. We then had a bottle of wine over dinner where we discussed how the cavalier attitude of American bankers has caused many retirees in Australia to face a life of poverty! Also, how when you walk down Venice beach you are faced with people attempting to get you in cannabis clinic, in front of your children how disgusting. We also discussed how pleasant it was to ski in Beaver Creek and how polite the Americans were to us in our dealings with them. We also laughed about the wild party we saw near the children's ski school in Beaver Creek where teenage Americans were drinking and tops were coming of young girls in sub zero temps. What a colourful world we live in, if you do not like it get some black and white glasses.
March 08, 2013
The Dude from Ski Australia Australia
Brilliant 10 days of powder and I mean real powder. Not the clumps you get in Nth America or worse (Aussie powder). This stuff is smoke. The food was great but wear your helmet at dinner so you can't hear the New Zealanders complaining about the prices. Down south at Hukuba for a season I was always fretting about the weather / rain but I don't think I cared once about the chances of snow in Niseko. P.S Do the road trips to some other resorts like Rusutsu and Furano. It is truly a magical part of the world.
February 26, 2013
Utah from Ski Japan Japan
Great consistent snow, too many Aussies. I have tons of Aussie friends, but this is not your country. Show some respect for the Japanese and for the mountain sports. You don't have a mountain culture of your own so you lack any semblance of mountain etiquette, apparently, and mountain safety, more importantly. Lack of snow knowledge and a belligerent attitude in avalanche areas endangers everyone. I wish I was generalizing. The world is tired of the endless drunken show, tired of the white trash treatment of the locals in other countries, tired of the disrespect for other cultures. You have become the Brazilians of the mountains, and as a surfing culture, you know what this entails. If you don't like these comments, tough, do some self-policing. If these were Americans you would be tirelessly railing against them but you have become the obscene ugly white travelers, especially in the mountains. If even the Canadians hate you, wake up. Stop screaming English at the Japanese, be polite, learn something about snow, respect and don't endanger others, drop the drunken hooliganism. Had to be said.
February 08, 2013
Pablo from Ski United Kingdom United Kingdom
January 2013, my mate & I spent a week in Niseko. It is not often these days that you get what it says on the box. In the case of Niseko we got more than what it said on the box. The weather forecast called for lighter snow than the preceding week. I was stressing as the arrival date approached. Hokkaido was snowy. That much I could see from the air, however, the incessant snowfall looked like it may be a myth. As the taxi approached the mountains outside Sapporo it began to snow. By Kutchan the snow was heavy. It didn't stop all night. 14 cm predicted ended up being over 50 cm on the floor. This was a theme every day. Maybe three times the snowfall predicted measured on the ground. The final day it was clear for fresh tracks then snowed for more than 24 hours. We went to lunch for 40 minutes and came out to fresh tracks. The place is insane. The amount of snow fall meant that though it is a small mountain, every square inch is boardable. It thus becomes a big mountain. I am saving my money up and heading there again. I have never had as much consistent powder in "all my puff". Face shots galore. Snow on your coupon every turn. Epic destination.