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Visitor reviews for Niseko Grand Hirafu Ski Resort

Niseko Grand Hirafu Ratings

Overall: 3.9. Based on 56 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: 4.7

(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: 3.7

(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

March 11, 2010
Marcus from Ski Australia Australia
Niseko Hirafu is a perfect resort. The views from the peak are amazing, snow is fantastic and soft, village has a mix of Aussie/westernised culture as well as Japanese styled restaurants and apartments. Good amounts of snow fell, not quite as much as I'd heard Niseko's 'big dumps' to be, but still all good. Just wish we had discovered the Strawberry Fields run earlier in the week or just after it had snowed, would of been so much fun, not that it wasn't anyway! The chairlift lines were virtually empty. Only 1 time we had to line up for more than a minute but I was there from 27th Feb to 5th March so that must be spring skiing for you there; empty resort with snow still falling. Hope to go there next year. Maybe try during peak season...
February 17, 2010
Caroline Donodine. from Ski Australia Australia
With all this Aussie bashing going on, I'm glad to be skiing Niseko country (Niseko Hirafu) as a Kamilaroi woman. For those who don't know about Kamilaroi, it's an Aboriginal language group of northern NSW, Australia. So for all those obnoxious Aussie's who invade this wonderful Japanese destination, I'm glad to separate myself from them, and proud to appreciate another culture as Australia should appreciate mine. Much love and respect.
February 16, 2010
Andy from Ski Australia Australia
I haven’t skied Furano so can’t compare snow, but I have had three separate weeks at Niseko (Niseko Hirafu) and never had lifts close for wind. I have never had three days in a row without fresh snow, and have never had anything that you could remotely describe as heavy. I have skied “powder” days at Morzine, Chamonix, Val d'Isere, Keystone, Arapohoe, Telluride, Copper, Breckenridge, Aspen, Deer Valley, Snow Bird, Alta, Whistler, Steamboat, Winter Park, Hakuba, NZ, everywhere in Australia and several places in Chile, and never come across lighter snow than we have seen every time we have been to Niseko. No question that the runs are short at Niseko (Niseko Hirafu) and without the snow it would be a so-so place to go, but so what?... It's about the snow! Have a look at the Furano trail map, it is shorter and flatter. Plus, Michelin doesn’t even have a guide for Hokkaido.
February 07, 2010
The Don from Ski Japan Japan
Besides the incredibly consistent powder conditions at Niseko (Niseko Hirafu) which has made it famous, one of the main reasons for it's popularity is that nearly everything can be organised in English. Compared to most other ski areas in Japan this makes Niseko almost unique. It's just so easy to book your accomm and other services and for people hiring gear they have western sizing! For those travelling to this country for their first ski trip Niseko is a great introduction. Many, of course, fall in love with it and come back year after year.
February 06, 2010
will martin from Ski Australia Australia
In my opinion, a reviewer here has no concept of what Niseko's (Niseko Hirafu) snow conditions are. Japan consistently receives snow falls of up to 40cm a night. Also, Japan is known for having the best snowfall in the world, sided by some of the lightest snow. The Salamon ski team has taken me to America - Aspen, Vale and Banff, Canada - Whistler and Big White and heli-skiing in the Monashees. In comparison to Japan, theses places don't come close in terms of consistent snowfall and the lightness of pow. The only features that Japan lacks is height and steepness.
January 31, 2010
Peter from Ski Australia Australia
First time in Niseko. I'd heard the rumours of it being Aussie-fied. But the reality, now that I am here, is that it has been given a makeover for tourists. Probably the one place in Japan that is oriented to international tourists as Japan caters for Japanese exclusively in most places. This makes it attractive to the world's most traveled populace and all those mad skiers. Once more Australians come here the mad crowd will get sick of it and go to Furano and other places. The things I like about Niseko: 1) It has snowed each night, 20-30 cms, like a tropical storm! 2) Facilities are very easy - food, supermarkets, roads: all easy. 3) Finding a mountain guide, who is a ski instructor, who knows the whole area and can suggest places, if very friendly and can teach me more Japanese is great - go the Hero! 4) I ski piste and it is good here - great grooming and good skiing first thing in the morning, not like skiing ice back home - off-piste is a new experience. 5) There is enough powder to actually learn on - not one run and oops! That's it! 6) There is night sking - so can ski 10 hours - outrageous. 7) The reprt is quiet - no guns, very little announcements 8) It is very Japanese - personnel are polite, helpful, careful, clean the seats well, help put skis in the gondola, help take them out and they don't do it for tips which they are not after anyway and most important: 9) Niseko is the one resort (95% sure on this one) that has avalanche control - and places are closed off, conditions monitored, warnings are posted where all guides, staff, instructors can see them and are available online each day. Maybe some visitors are suicidal but the locals will keep people safe. For these reasons I will come again to Niseko Hirafu. Thanks others for your comments. Niseko may not be for everyone but it is very good for me and my family. They will also improve, I am sure. Cheers, Peter
January 21, 2010
Samuel Hill from Ski American Samoa American Samoa
All this Aussie bashing or boasting regarding Niseko Hirafu is both deserved and missing the point entirely. There are a lot (I do mean a lot) of bonza-blokes out there. They have taken over and the resort is ugly (looks) as a result. A real hodge podge. Aside from Holdens being way better than Fords though, you don't go to Hokkaido to ski the piste or "dine" on mountain restaurants. You go to get out amongst the pow in the back country and enjoy the superb Japanese food - most Michelin Star restaurants in the world so that tells you something. However, if you are skiing in Niseko, be prepared to stay at least 10 days. Why? It is windy. The snow gets blown off the mountain and the lifts close. This is not ideal. Skiing the piste is dull as dishwater - unless you're an Aussie family on vacation of course. Then I suppose it is okish, if a bit short. For the days there is powder, get a guide and get up early. It is worth it. However, bare in mind you need 10cm of fresh snow a day to get consistent fresh tracks. This won't happen that often, in spite of what the brochures say. Also, remember Niseko Hirafu is close to the ocean so lower down the slopes, the snow is a lot heavier. Not ideal on skis, boards fine. Skis not so much. Better snow quality, less Aussies and more authentic is Furano and surrounds. Facilities are fine (big gondola & cable car) but nightlife is somewhat slow. Food though is outrageously good. If you are in Niseko Hirafu and want to get away from the Aussies and get amongst the locals, Niseko Village is for you. The restaurant by the now-closed Higayashima Gondola is superb. Genghis Khan for 1100 can't be beat.
January 14, 2010
Lollipops from Ski Australia Australia
First things first. I am going to Niseko (Niseko Hirafu) for awesome powder not for who's there for culture, culture is the reason we are going to other parts of Japan first. Second, I am Australiana and I hate being labeled bad simply because there are bad Australians out there but, I have to say, I am sure there are also bad Europeans, Kiwis, Americans, Asians and all cultures to be found. Please don't label all of us because some choose to act poorly. I am respectful enough of other cultures to at least try and learn some very basic language skills and be polite to all people. As for it becoming a popular and developed place, that is not such a bad thing. More popular and developed means better facilities and after breaking my arm horrifically in 3 places and dislocating the shoulder on a previous boarding trip I truly appreciate devloped facilities for aid. For those of us who don't appreciate the 'bad' mannered Australians, should maybe be grown up enough to be good examples of how real grown ups behave. I hate seeing negative comments as I am really excited about being able to go to Niseko (Niseko Hirafu) and I am very grateful as I know there are heaps of people in the world with worse things to put up with than bad Australian manners. So sorry for some of my fellow countrymen & women choosing to act like pigs but we are not all the same. Sign off, sincerely a snow lover not fighter. L x
January 09, 2010
Terror-piste from Ski Afghanistan Afghanistan
Whilst I am in fact Australian, I am embarassed by the sheer number of Australians and the general level of arrogance. Niseko (Niseko Hirafu) might just be the winter version of Bali.... VB was even on sale. Honestly, why put dishwater on sale when Japanese beers are some of the best in the world? Off to Furano soon so hopefully we`ll see a few less bogans.
January 07, 2010
Chris from Ski Japan Japan
There's no single thing about Niseko (Niseko Hirafu) that you can't get elsewhere - even the snow. But what makes it special, and I think it's really special, is that there are just so many great things about the place! The snow is famous of course, but the people, the food, the prices, the accommodation, the terrain park, even the ski patrol and their back country gates & policy - they all are just great. And that's not something you'll find anywhere else. I've ridden lots of places around the world, and I still love checking out new places, but the place that keeps me coming back again and again is Niseko (Niseko Hirafu)...