Simply referred to as Grand Hirafu, this huge resort is right above Hirafu Village, the busiest part of the Niseko area. Although there is a good selection of beginner green runs, Grand Hirafu is also known for some challenging black runs for advanced skiers and boarders.
|Number of runs||30|
|Longest run||5,600 meters|
|Lifts||1 gondola lift
5 quad chairlifts
1 triple chairlifts
8 pair chairlifts
1 single chairlift
|Gradient||Maximum: 40 degrees|
The following passes and prices are valid for the 2020/21 season. Passes are available at Grand Hirafu Base and the Gondola Station. Passes are contactless and require a deposit which is returned when you return the pass. Although the single resort 1-day pass at Grand Hirafu is relatively expensive, you can get a 10% discount per person by booking online. There are also 5-hour (¥5,200), 8-hour (¥5,500) and points based passes (¥500 per point) available if you don’t plan to be there all day.
|Ticket type||Adult||Senior (60+) & 13-15||7-12|
|1 day (all mountain)*||¥8,100||¥6,500||¥4,900|
|2 week pass||¥56,700||¥56,700||¥56,700|
* – Allows use of the lifts on all four resorts under the Niseko United banner—Grand Hirafu, Hanazono, Niseko Village, and Annupuri. Note that you can traverse into any of the fields from Grand Hirafu, you just won’t be able to go back up the mountain without an All Mountain pass.
Gear rental and tuning
Aside from the rental shops throughout the Niseko area, Niseko Grand HIRAFU Rentals has rental shops in the .base Center and the Mountain Center at the bas Sanroku Station of the gondola. For a standard ski/snowboard and boots set (no snow wear, helmet, goggles, gloves or poles, the 1-day rental cost is ¥5,300.
Lessons and guiding
Lessons for all levels of skiers and boarders are provided by Niseko Grand HIRAFU Snow School. Group lessons during the 2020/21 season were available in Japanese only. Adult private lessons are available from ¥12,500 for a very brief 1 hour evening session for 1 participant. Even though it’s a private lesson, extra people incurr an extra charge. Booking well in advance is strongly recommended.
Off the slopes
Food and drink
There are two restaurants at the base of the resort, and 2 up on the slopes. Additionally, Hirafu village has a huge range of eating and drinking establishments within easy reach of the bottom of the resort.
Getting to Grand Hirafu will likely require a combination of transport modes with most people prefering to fly into Sapporo’s Shin-Chitose Airport, and catching a bus directly to the Niseko Area. Train is another option from Shin Chitose Airport, but we don’t recommend catching the train all the way from Tokyo.
Some care is required when choosing which station to alight at. While Hirafu Station or Niseko Station appear much closer to the mountain, there are next to no facilities, no bus stop and no taxi stands at these stations. You should only consider alighting at these stations if you have someone picking you up. Instead, Kutchan Station on the Hakodate Main Line is the best station at which to alight. The trip from Shin-Chitose Airport takes from 2 1/2 to 3 hours and costs ¥2,880 for a one way ticket. From Shin-Chitose Airport, catch the Airport Express to Otaru (don’t get off at Sapporo) then change to the Hakodate Main Line bound for Kutchan. At Kutchan there are taxis to Hanazono for approximately ¥2,000 (slightly more at night) as well as regularly scheduled buses. The Donan and Niseko buses run from Kutchan Station to Niseko Hirafu and Hirafu Welcome Center respectively for ¥400.
You can also use the Japan Rail Pass to make your way up from Tokyo, but the section between the Shinkansen terminus in Shin-Hakodate Hokuto and Kutchan is not very well connected. Although it doesn’t look like much on the map, the last leg to Kutchan will add a stop in Oshamambe and an extra 3 to 5 hours to your trip.
Due to the convoluted way of getting to Niseko by train, most prefer to catch the buses that go to Niseko directly from Shin-Chitose Airport. The journey takes about 3 hours. Among the services are the White Liner (¥4,500), the Hokkaido Resort Liner (¥4,500), and the slower Chuo Bus (¥2,650). Booking in advance for all is essential. If you arrive at Shin-Chitose Airport at the peak of the season and expect to jump straight on a bus to Niseko, you’ll be out of luck.
If going by private car or rental car, the journey from Chitose will take from 2 1/2 to 3 hours depending on traffic and conditions. During winter, you should have chains or snow tires on for the whole trip. There are three parking lots, the biggest of which is next to the Hirafu Welcome Center. There is another car park next to the Gondola, and one more which serves as an overflow for the others.
Grand Hirafu and the village below is well served for public transport. Unlike the other resorts on Mount Niseko-Annupuri, there is no village next to Hanazono. There are regular Niseko United shuttles whizzing around that connect Grand Hirafu with Hanazono, Niseko Village, and Annupuri. The Taxi from Kutchan to Grand Hirafu is only about ¥2,000, so if there are two or three people in your group it’s pretty good value.
- 2.6 km from Hirafu Station