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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

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.
March 17, 2011
Michael from Ski Australia Australia
My first trip to Niseko as I only took up skiing five years ago when I turned 50. Last winter season in Victoria it seemed as if every second person you rode on a lift with had either been here or was going during Jan/Feb 2011. With some time available in March, I decided to head off to see what all the fuss is about. An adult son who is a builder decided to tag along even though he had never skied or boarded. One all day private lesson and he leapt from beginner to intermediate very quickly. Even though I had never been to Niseko I had travelled to Japan for work several times so was familiar with the culture and traditions of this wonderful country. We mainly kept to Niseko Hirafu and were not disappointed. The longest wait we had for the gondola was 5 minutes and that was only because a ski school of little tackers arrived before us. The rest of the lifts were ski straight on and most days it wasn't unusual to share the run with three others. There was plenty of light powder snow during our stay and the days were generally blue sky. Neither of us were good enough to go off piste so we stayed on piste but there were enough trees adjacent to the marked runs to ski in and out of to make us think we were off-piste. There are a huge number of Aussies working here but that didn't really detract from the experience and we certainly didn't run across any Aussie drunks, except perhaps on St Patrick's Day in the Irish pub in Hirafu. Go figure, Aussies celebrating an Irish holiday in Japan. My previous experience in Japan helped with dining at night as I was able to find those little gems of restaurants that were away from the main area. A couple of stand outs were A Bu Cha 1 on the main intersection & Kabuki, an okinomiyaki restaurant but we ate at stacks of other great places. We have already booked for March 2012.
December 28, 2011
PJ from Ski Hong Kong Hong Kong
Niseko is a great place, fantastic snow and restaurants. Take the bus into Kutchan for yakitori, sushi and hotpot, cheaper and better quality than most Hirafu options. Been coming for 10 years, never an issue with other tourists from Australia or anywhere else.
February 22, 2011
Kose from Ski Australia Australia
Just got back from my first boarding trip to Japan, specifically Niseko (Niseko Hirafu) and instantly I was blown away by the consistency and quality of the snow. But as soon as I started traveling around Hokkaido, I realized I was working way too hard for fresh lines back there. As soon as I got back to Niseko it just seemed way too hectic to worry about anymore. Great mountain, too many people.
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...:-)
October 08, 2006
Stimpy from Ski Jamaica Jamaica
I gotta agree with lots on here, too many Aussies, but what can you do? As one person suggested stay away from anyone you don't want to hang with and go discover what Niseko is really about. Don't book through one of the big operators, otherwise you are guaranteed to be shacking up next to Aussies, instead get online and research. I found www.thenisekocompany.com and booked through them - which I will be doing again this season. Awesome property and service. The place wasn't ski in/out but was a minute from shuttle and was quiet at night-no Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Idiots. Very comfy , spacious and well equipped.
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 04, 2011
Robb from Ski Japan Japan
Amazing snow and an abundance of annoying Aussies at Niseko Hirafu. Kind of a Noosa heads on Ice. Shame to see it each season swallowed up by very greedy western developers that say they are helping the locals and town,if that was the case they wouldn't have such a nightmare on their hands when it comes to clearing all the snow after a big dump.
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.
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!!!!