Niseko Ski Resort: Grand Hirafu Area
One of four areas making-up the combined ski resort of ‘Niseko United’, Niseko Tokyu Grand Hirafu is both the largest ski area in the resort and the most popular area in terms of accommodation, dining and nightlife. The Hirafu village area can be divided into two areas – the upper and lower village with the upper area having direct access to the ski fields while the lower area is within walking distance of the Family Chairlift, which transport you to the lowest ski runs.
Hirafu is a village in every sense of the word and includes plenty of high-end accommodation, fantastic restaurants – including Michelin-starred restaurants – along with cafes, bars and shopping outlets. In the upper area of the village you’ll find luxury to high-end chalets and apartments offering ski in/out convenience. Hirafu is an expensive area to stay but that isn’t to say there aren’t cheaper options available, with budget lodges and backpackers dotted through the village.
In the lower area of the village you’ll find more high-end options including townhouses and condos along with plenty of restaurants and bars. While most Japanese resorts don’t have much après ski, the Hirafu area is the exception to the rule with lots of bars and a couple of nightclubs to keep you entertained after dark. There’s no escaping the fact that Hirafu is an expensive place to stay and the extent of its development comes at a cost – it’s very international and doesn’t feel much like Japan – but visitors looking for the full Niseko experience including fantastic accommodation and restaurants would be well-served by staying in the Hirafu area. For other accommodation areas in Niseko, see the following pages: Niseko Village Area / Annupuri Area / Hanazono Area.