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Niseko Hirafu Village
Hirafu village has recently become the centre of a property boom.
The discovery of the huge amounts of powder to be had here at Niseko has seen aeroplane loads of Australians descending onto Niseko. With that, however the dash to own a slice of Niseko has intensified as real estate companies cash in.
Hirafu is a small village and you can enjoy wandering around the streets with snow banks raising way above your head.
The view up towards Grand Hirafu ski area is wicked and the view behind with Mt Yotei
rising up to the sky is special.
Years ago, being a westerner was a novelty, now it must be said that the town is almost part of Australia.
The upside is that economically the local businesses are booming with the influx of tourism dollars. The downside is your not really getting the ‘Japanese experience’ in Niseko any more, which is a shame.
But hey, your here for powder and this is what you will find in abundance.
The heart and soul of Hirfau Village is the Seicomart Convenience store located on the main intersection in town. This is the only place in town to stock up on food, booze and anything else you might need.
Restaurants, Souvenir shops, Ski and Board hire shops, Bars (most are wholes in the walls) Hotels, Lodges and Pensions make up Hirafu Village. Nightlife
There has been a proliferation of new bars popping up all over Hirafu. Red Bar
is new for 2005/06 and has a bit of space to boogie on the floor with guest Dj’s making appearances. Sekka Bar and Restaurant
is also new, can be found just down the road from the main intersection. The Ice Bar
for something different, it has the snow form over a cage like structure and it ends up being almost like an igloo with a bar.
The Yuki Sports Bar
is also new and you can check out the Football and Rugby on Satellite here.
Old favourites like Pow Pow
, Fattys, Jam Bar, Yummies, The Fridge
and the Half Note
will see you solid times. Places To Eat
There are numerous places to eat all over the village from traditional Japanese cuisine, to simple bar food menus.
Prices are reasonable for food and beer. Niseko Ghenhis Khan
is a favourite, Bbq your own meat on your table and enjoy the smoky atmosphere, on the road up to the ski ground. Senchou
, for your full on traditional Japanese Cuisine, and the Sekka Bar and Restaurant for Italian style, just down from the main intersection. Jo Jo’s Café
for wicked Hamburgers and Pizza’s a short walk down the main road leading out of town.
for your hot Ramen meals and Yikatori and not forgetting Hanks Bar
just around the corner from the Deep Powder office and greta place to pull up a pew drink a beer and have Hank cook your meal over the grill in the middle of the bar.
If your busting for Western style fast food then try the KFC located at the base of the Hirafu Gondola.
Most bars have a lunch and dinner menu so no shortage of places to eat out and sink a few Sapporo Classic beers.
After a hard days powder riding a visit to the Yukoro Onsen
is a must. Traditionally a secret local thing, the Aussie’s have been discovering the recuperative powers of the Onsen.
So if you don’t mind being nude with your buddies and soaking in some dam hot thermal waters (they are segregated fellas, men and woman in sperate baths) this is the place to be. About half and hour in will do as the heat gets to you, please ensure you follow local custom and show respect in the baths.
Trips to Onsens outside the town can also be organised, check it out with the Deep Powder Tours office.
With the popularity of Niseko, turning up and hoping for the best simply won’t work.
Throw in the formidable language barrier and it is best to go with an experienced tour operator.
The crew at Deep Powder Tours
have been in town since 1992 with over 10 years experience in Niseko, they know their way around and will set you up with all of your needs. Snowave
is another operator that has been in town for a long time and can find you the right accommodation around town. Nearest Town Kutchan
is the nearest town servicing Hirafu. You can find ski and board shops, cafes, 100yen shops and a large Max Value Supermarkets.
Only 20 minutes away by car, there are regular buses that take you into town.
The Post Office is where the only ATM machine is located so you can grab some cash from the while in the wall.
Pop into café Kaku for coffee and pizza and see Jo the Californian monk and hang out in his cosy joint.
The Train station in Kutchan is the gateway to Niseko. Getting There By Air:
The best way to get to Niseko is to fly into Tokyo and then catch a connecting flight to Sapporo. Note that Haneda airport is the domestic airport in Tokyo whereas Narita is the international airport. The flight from Haneda to Chitose takes about 2 to 3 hours. From Chitose Airport you can reach Niseko either by car, bus or train.
Most major airlines fly into Narita, which is the major airport about 1.5 hours out of Tokyo. By Car:
Niseko resort is approximately 100 kilometres from Sapporo. Take Routes 230 and 276 to the town of Kutchan then simply follow the signs to Niseko ski resorts. Just remember that renting a car will not be cheap. By Bus:
There are two bus companies that travel to Niseko - Donan Bus Co and Chuou Bus Co. Both services run to and from Chitose Airport (the airport in Sapporo) to Niseko six times per day. The buses leave from the car park below the chair lifts. Approximate prices for a one way fare: ¥2,300, return fare: ¥3,850. Boardtheworld.com recommends the buses as the easiest way to get to Niskeo. By Train:
The Niseko Express departs on a regular basis from Sapporo to Kutchan and takes about two hours. From the train station it is about a 20-minute bus ride to Niseko.
It is highly reccomended that you use the guys at Deep Powder Tours as they can organise all your accommodation, ski passes, airport transfers and pick ups and visits to nearby resorts and Onsens.
Last updated on 09 April 2006.