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

July 07, 2008
Localbear from Ski Japan Japan
Guys, what's wrong about having many Aussies visit Hokkaido? Yes, there are some guys who don't behave, who drinks like hell and yell. But most of them are very very nice, and we locals (I'm actually from Sapporo but work in Niseko every winter.) are very proud and happy to have all people from around the country and around the world to the place we love. A-h@le rates are the same regardless of where you are from so ignore them. You'll find bunch of A-h@le Japanese here as well. It's all the same mate! Just come and enjoy yourself. I'll be in Niseko from November to April. See you there!!
March 17, 2008
Steve from Ski Australia Australia
Just got back from my first visit to Niseko. The snow quality lives up to its reputation. Found the food to be awesome. Eat in the Japanese izakayas for cheap and real local food plus good beer and sake. As for all the Aussie bashing comments, yes, there are are few that give us a bad name. But if you hang out in the western style bars who do you imagine you'll meet? If you want to go all that way and eat pizza and drink bourbon every night you'll find people who don't care about sampling a new culture. Us respectful Aussies are in the more traditional boozers trying to meet the locals. I ate raw horse meat and cod cum with a couple from Tokyo. Get amongst it.
March 11, 2008
Rob from Ski Australia Australia
Well, I just got back from 2 weeks in Niseko + Sapporo. I simply couldn't speak highly enough of the place. The snow was amazing. Niseko was awesome, especially if you venture off through gates and explore around An'Nupuri(sp) + the parks in Banazono (sp) are great too. Also, make sure you spend some time in Sapporo, it's awesome. Can't wait to get back there. Arigatou gozaimashita!
February 23, 2008
metrics from Ski Australia Australia
I would consider Niseko to have the best conditions in Hokkaido... just spent 3 weeks missioning around Hokkaido to find other places and basically found a lot of flattish resorts, often with only one or two lifts. Stay in Hirafu, don't bother with anywhere else, not worth the effort. Remember, this is the Hirafu review so please keep reviews/references to other places on those threads
February 04, 2008
cashey from Ski Fiji Fiji
Bula! Third trip to Niseko coming up and, god, I'm like a 5 year old waiting for Santa! It's a magnificent place and we need to respect and look after the locals. There a couple of cranky old Japanise around but, hey, the drunken Aussie's take away the shine sometimes (I'm one!). However, we have found most are great. Bring on the Crabhouse!!!!
January 17, 2008
Rob from Ski Australia Australia
Same here Lefty, counting down till 28 Feb for my first trip over to Niseko & Japan. I also hope many of the things I've read on here are untrue or avoided. Simply can't wait for some great people, surroundings and POW...oh, so much POW.
January 16, 2008
Lefty from Ski Australia Australia
3 weeks and counting till my first trip to the powdered land. Hope after reading some of these reviews that the wingers aren't around. First lesson when traveling to another country is show some respect to the locals, other than that bring on the powder. Looking forward to drinking, boarding & enjoying myself, peace & see you all there..
January 11, 2008
Go Native from Ski Japan Japan
Niseko is becoming a major international powder destination and sure, currently Aussies are making up a large portion of foreign tourists but Hong Kong and other parts of SE Asia are starting to catch up. And visitors from the UK, Scandinavia and North America are really starting to catch on that this is the place to come for some of the most consistent falls of powder in the world. The place is certainly being transformed from a sleepy little Japanese resort (that was barely staying afloat) to a more upmarket and westernized destination. I've been living here for over 3 years and seen great changes. Is it bad? Sure if you are a poor ski bum who wants a whole mountain to themselves and cheap long term accomm. If you are an upper middle class family wanting luxury, western accommodation and an easygoing holiday in country where you can't read or speak the language then Niseko is the place to go. Plans of major development at Hanazono and even at Moiwa should take a little pressure off Hirafu in the future.
January 05, 2008
GrooveMeister from Ski Hong Kong Hong Kong
Time was when Niseko used to be a great place. Wait, wait, the snow is always great and just mountains of it. But, the Auzzies are ruining the place. Menu's with prices quoted in Australian dollars (they can't do the conversions), T-shirts of the Japanese Homeland filled in with the Australian Flag. 'mate, mate, mate, mate, mate'.... All it's gonna take is one drunk driver (lots of new places come with a car to use) hurting a local crossing the street, and the welcome mat will be pulled from everyone's feet.. mate mate mate mate mate mate maaaaiiiite........... help us all.....!!
December 30, 2007
snowcat from Ski Australia Australia
I just came back from my 3rd Niseko holiday, the snow was not as good as the previous two seasons, but still definately nothing to complain about. Yes, Niseko has changed and yes there are alot of Australians, but thats just part of the package. There are still lots of local lodges available where I have had the best experiences with Japanese hospitality. Stay away from the big boys and it's a totally different side. experienceniseko.com supports the local Japanese owned and operated businesses. Definately recommend it to anyone interested in the cultural aspect of Japan.