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backforgood

Back to Niseko after 8 years

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Hi folks, decided to make the move and join in rather than lurk. Coming back to Japan has helped. So, hi wave

 

Anyhows, when I was here previously I had been to Niseko. This was 8 years ago now. I'm thinking of going up there again this coming season and looking forward to seeing what it's like now.

 

Do you reckon I will notice any differences? wink

 

Seriously, is Hirafu still the lively place as I have heard or are other parts (Annupuri, Higashiyama) starting to see some liveliness as well?

 

Enjoying the thinking about it and planning my planning.

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Hirafu's the place 'backforgood'.

Pretty quiet elsewhere....at night anyway.

 

umm... nah...I don't reckon you will notice a difference [snigger]

There have been a lot of changes - My first time was HALF that time ago, and the changes between then and now have been massive. I think mainly positive, but I do like a vibrant, jumping ski resort with loads of people and atmosphere. If you are looking for the quiet, remote, untouched virgin j-snow ... you might be saddened by the changes. But I think they rock. And there are plenty of 'quiet, authentic, untouched' spots elsewhere if that's what people want.

 

Hope you have a ball in Niseko this coming season, and welcome to the SJ community.

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Hirafu is still the main place for nightlife and restaurants. Annupuri has had little development over the last 8 years and Higashiyama (now Niseko Village) also has few additional choices. Both Niseko Village and Hanazono are set to grow substantially over the coming years with some major Asian companies recently buying them but currently Hirafu is still the main centre of activity.

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Depends entirely on what you think of a ski resort in Japan that has been reasonably westernised and actually has a vibrant and fun nightlife! Also one that is busy all week long, not just on weekends. I love it but it doesn't always meet the expectations of some who come here. Regardless of all that one thing you know almost never dissapoints is the incredible snow quality. That's what it's all about at the end of the day isn't? Is for me thumbsup

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I've been coming here since before there was one western apartment or house built in the village. I've been dissapointed with the lack of town planning and any sort of conformity of building design to create a certain look and feel to the resort but that never really existed previously either.

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that doesn't exist ANYWHERE in Japan. Town Planners in ths country must be blind

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I'm thinking of dropping in after 6 years too.

My only concerns are the Gondola & Lift lines, and the inbounds offpiste being tracked out by 10am.

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They are really only concerns in Hirafu blu. Stay or start your day at any of the other bases and you won't have those issues. Hanazono is the closest base to my house and I have never had a lift line there, in fact lucky for there to be only a handful of others first thing. Get freshies in Blueberrys and Strawberrys first thing then usually head up to the peak to get some first tracks down Higashi One and Jacksons. Or drop into Annupuri back bowl then do the front bowl or through gate 7. Never a problem finding fresh tracks. I hardly skied in Hirafu at all this last winter. In fact for the first time in the last 7 seasons I don't think I dropped Miharashi even once! Anyway point is blu just don't restrict yourself to Hirafu all day and you should have no problem finding freshies. And all season there wasn't one time I couldn't find fresh tracks off the peak. There's so much terrain in every direction that it only really gets tracked out if it hasn't snowed for quite a few days. Luckily that doesn't happen much in Niseko.

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Thanks GN. Still have some good memories of the Hanazono 3 area. We seemed to spend most days over there rather than around the Ace chair side of Hirafu. Definately will hookup with an OOB tour (is Andrew still around - DBT).

Nightlife is unimportant - after 4 trips to Rusutsu have got used to early nights. Annupuri would probably be a good choice?

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Town planning? Conformity of design? You guys sound like Vailistas. Part of the charm of Hirafu is that it isn't anything like the modern, built-to-plan ski resorts.

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Well if an ugly mismatch of building design with no common theme is your thing, with powerlines destroying any decent view from the village and paths that are treacherous to say the least with extremely limited ski in/out accommodation then certainly Hirafu fits that bill beautifully.

No one is suggesting we create a Vail but building codes could have been put in place to restrict the design to something somewhat Japanese or at the very least something that looks like it's meant to be in a ski resort. I for one never thought Hirafu held all that much charm even prior to any of the western development. Many of the buildings in the village were in various degrees of dilapidation and disrepair with no real character whatsoever unless you think post war concrete blocks somehow hold character. There was a big opportunity to really create something infinitely better when all the foreign investment started flowing in but this opportunity was squandered in my opinion.

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Totally agree with you there Go Native, hard to see how anyone could not!

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I actually didn't think Hirafu looked that bad, maybe cos I'm used to the horrible hotch potch that is the usual Japanese town/ski-jo.

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That is why TB.

I would say, and this from a while back, that Hirafu is perhaps better in that respect than lots of the popular places in Honshu that I can think of.

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Nothing looks that bad under a few metres of snow, you need to see the place in the green season to really appreciate it.

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true, but on the flip side of that same point, imagine how bad regular ski-jo's look in green season if they look that bad in snow season!! omg

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For me, returning after a few years gap was like going back to Bali. Somewhat disappointing. It's a matter of preference, but I preferred it quieter, less crowded and more "Japanese". Not-withstanding, the pow and dining/drinking options abound, but it's probably more of an attraction for the younger crowd. I'll keep on trying new places. Have not been disappointed yet & have a long list to get to before the knees pack in for good.

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I've never been to Bali but understand what you're saying deemacvee. Niseko has changed a lot and not all for the better. But we are really only talking about Hirafu and not Niseko as a whole. And as I have tried to point out many times Hirafu is not all of Niseko, it is only 1 of 4 base areas of the mountain and people can also stay nearby in Moiwa, Niseko Town or Kutchan. You can still come to Niseko and have a very Japanese experience and not be surrounded by 1000's of other foreigners. You just have to branch out from Hirafu. Of course many people absolutely love the vibrant village atmosphere that is Hirafu as not everyone comes to a Japanese ski resort for some big cultural experience. I find it interesting though that Japan is one of the few internaitonal ski destinations that people come with an expectation to have a big cultural experience. You never hear people talking in those terms who ski in Canada or the US. There's a bit of it if travelling to Europe but most seem happy to get their culture from the cities and towns of Europe rather than expecting it at a ski resort.

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