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: 3.9. Based on 53 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: 4.3

(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.

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.

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: 3.9

(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: 4.6

(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.

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: 4.5

(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.

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: 4.3

(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.

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: 1.9

(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

November 26, 2009
bigsy from Ski Australia Australia
I can't wait to go to Niseko Hirafu. Due to leave 16th December. Shame about the negative comments on the drunken bogens, but hey, they're everywhere, especialy Whistler . I was born in Japan and have never been back so I'm looking foward to jumping into the whole cultural aspect. Cheer up dr shred ya sour puss.
November 15, 2009
Jonas Hansson from Ski Sweden Sweden
I was very suprised 2 years ago when a group of us came over from Malmo to ski Niseko (Niseko Hirafu). Every year we travel the globe looking for very good deep powder snow but what we found in Hokkaido was out of this world. We climbed the peak on quite a few ocassions and skied down to Hanazono around the back of the golf course and we were shocked at the quality of snow. We are now all thinking of our trip this year and we are very excited to be in Japan in February 2010.
November 07, 2009
The Dude from Ski Japan Japan
Niseko (Niseko Hirafu) is just a terrific place to ski powder. No real `you fall, you die' steeps, but consistent day-to-day great snow all through January and February.
October 29, 2009
Aussie Gaijin from Ski Japan Japan
Enjoy Niseko Hirafu and don't pretend to be someone you are not. If you want to ride powder, eat pizza and drink beer at the Irish pub on holidays why not? The Romanian dude who runs the pizza shop now is awesome. If you want to eat Sushi so be it, but it's not compulsory. The biggest problem we had in Niseko was tearing ourselves away form the Japanese who wanted to buy us a beer or ten.
October 16, 2009
clarebear from Ski Australia Australia
Have been to Niseko (Niseko Hirafu) in a group of 18 (8 adults, 10 children) in 2008, 2009 and we have booked for 2010. The quality and volume of snow is unbelievable, the food is great and the Japanese people and culture are absolutely wonderful. Yes, there are a lot of Aussies and some are badly behaved as with all nationalities, but the majority that we encounter are families wanting to expose their children to a different culture whilst enjoying the wonderful skiing. Can't wait for our next trip to Niseko Hirafu and the children are equally excited.
March 03, 2009
Andy from Ski Australia Australia
Just got back from Niseko Hirafu and although the talk was that it has been the worst season in years, it was the best snow I have ever boarded. As for us 'Trailer Trash Aussies' I didn't come across any. Anyway, the snow was good, the food was unbelievable, but most of all, it was the Japanese people and their culture that made my holiday at Niseko Hirafu the best experience of my life.
January 24, 2009
Nate from Ski Ireland Ireland
Enjoy the amazing slopes, culture and food (if people want to have fun, be loud and get drunk so be it, it's a free world we live in.) Niseko offers everything a skier or boarder needs.
January 16, 2009
Dave T from Ski United States United States
I have seen many places and boarded most of the top resorts in the world, but none can compare to the overall awesome feel that you get from Niseko (Niseko Hirafu). The place just has too many positives to list. 15 to 17m of the pure white stuff a season, 4% moisture content, making it the lightest, driest snow on planet earth, the X factor of being in Japan surrounded by the nicest people I have ever encountered, and the list goes on and on. If you have yet to experience forget to check out the Alpen Ridge building when you roll into town, the place is pure gold. Enjoy, Dave T
September 17, 2008
smithy from Ski Australia Australia
I went for my first trip to Niseko about 8 months ago (I know this is a bit late but hey) and I just want to say that it is awesome! Awesome snow and so uncrowded. All the Japanese people are really really nice as well. I highly recommend it.
August 21, 2008
Cam from Ski Australia Australia
This thread is great. Been tossing up between a couple of different Japanese resorts and reading this has been a big help. Listening to all the bad reviews about Australian's is a bit disheartening though(the fact that they're all true makes it worse). Sounds like Niseko is becoming the Bali of Japan.