Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu - often known as Niseko Grand Hirafu (or just 'Hirafu') - is located in Kutchan town in the western region of Hokkaido. It is one of the four connected ski resorts that share a joint lift ticket and make up 'Niseko United' (the others being Niseko Annupuri Kokusai, Niseko Village Ski Resort and Niseko HANAZONO Resort). The Hirafu base area is the most lively in the region with a good choice of places to eat and a bustling nightlife. Probably the most international feel of any ski resort in Japan.
The Niseko resort area is one of the most popular ski resort regions of Japan. Located to the west of Sapporo city on the eastern and southern slopes of Mt Niseko Annupuri and with stunning views of nearby Mt Yotei, it's often top-quality dry powder snow conditions are now popular with skiers and snowboarders from around the world. Niseko has a different feel from most other Japanese ski resorts, with a higher percentage of visitors from around the world and subsequent catering to their needs.
Hokkaido is the second largest island of Japan and also the largest and northernmost prefecture (though it is not usually referred to as a prefecture). It has coastlines on the Sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk and also the Pacific Ocean. Sapporo is the capital city of Hokkaido and was host to the 1972 Winter Olympics. Hokkaido is home to the largest number of ski hills in Japan. While the majority of them are very small, some of the larger ski and snowboard resorts in Hokkaido - mostly found in regions to the west and east of Sapporo - are amongst the most famous in Japan.
A number of ski and snowboard schools operate around the Niseko resort areas. Check our Lessons in English page for any current ski school listings on SnowJapan.
A good selection of ski and snowboard equipment and wear rental facilities are available around the Niseko resort areas.
The 'Kids Park' area is located next to the base of the King Number 1 pair lift. It is a special safe area separated from the main ski and snowboard courses. The area features tubing, sleds with steering and brakes, snow striders, igloos and an area for playing in the snow and rest area. The Kids Park is open from 10:00am until 3:00pm and entry is 2000 yen for 1 adult and 1 child (500 yen for additional adults; 1,500 yen for additional children).
Lessons for children are also available as well as other activities. There is a 'Kids Room' on the 2nd Floor of the Hotel Niseko Alpen where adults can leave their children in a safe and supervised environment (charges apply). Open for children aged from 6 months to 6 years, from 14th December 2019 until 29th March 2020.
The 'King Area Free Ride Park' is located near the base King Number 1 pair lifts and features a variety of items. In the spring months the 'Spring Park' also usually opens up, located on the Shirakaba course.
Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu Season & Opening Times
Typical season is from Late November until Early May
Weekends and holidays
Normally open from 8:30am until 8:30pm
Normally open from 8:30am until 8:30pm
'Nighta' (night skiing)
Weekends and holidays
Niseko Grand Hirafu is open from 8:30am until 4:30pm in the daytime.
Nighta is from 4:30pm until 8:30pm.
Nighta is planned from Wednesday 11th December 2019 until Sunday 22nd March 2020.
Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu Lift Ticket Charges
Age over 60
2020-2021 Niseko United tickets
The lift ticket charges shown above are valid for all four of the Niseko United resorts - Niseko Grand Hirafu, Niseko HANAZONO Resort, Niseko Village and Niseko Annupuri Kokusai - during the peak season period (Friday 11th December 2020 until Sunday 21st March 2021). Cheaper lift tickets are available for the early and spring season periods.
The 8 Day Ticket can be used on any 8 days over a period of 10 consecutive days. The 9 Day Ticket can be used on any 9 days over a period of 11 consecutive days. The 10 Day Ticket can be used on any 10 days over a period of 12 consecutive days. The 11 Day Ticket can be used on any 11 days over a period of 13 consecutive days. The 12 Day Ticket can be used on any 12 days over a period of 14 consecutive days. The 13 Day Ticket can be used on any 13 days over a period of 15 consecutive days. The 14 Day Ticket can be used on any 14 days over a period of 16 consecutive days. The 15 Day Ticket can be used on any 15 days over a period of 18 consecutive days. The 16 Day Ticket can be used on any 16 days over a period of 19 consecutive days. The 17 Day Ticket can be used on any 17 days over a period of 20 consecutive days. The 18 Day Ticket can be used on any 18 days over a period of 21 consecutive days.
All day tickets are valid until the end of nighta on the final day of the ticket.
Niseko Grand Hirafu and Niseko HANAZONO lift tickets
** To be updated at a later date **
'Regular Season' is from Friday 11th December 2020 until Sunday 21st March 2021. 'Early Season' is from opening until Thursday 10th December 2020. 'Spring Season' is from Monday 22nd March 2021 until Wednesday 5th May 2021.
Getting to Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu
By public transport
4.2km from Hirafu Station on the Hakodate Honsen Line
7.3km from Kutchan Station on the Hakodate Honsen Line
Kutchan Station on the Hakodate Honsen line is the main and most convenient train station used by people travelling to the Niseko area for the ski and snowboard resorts, though many people actually prefer to use direct bus services to Niseko from Sapporo and New Chitose Airport.
Train services operate between Sapporo Station and Kutchan Station, with many requiring a transfer at Otaru Station on the way. With good connections this can be done in as little as around 100 minutes - but sometimes waiting for connections at Otaru can be fairly lengthy and greatly increase that time. During the winter season, there is a limited express 'Niseko Ski Express' service a few times a day which goes directly from Sapporo Station to Kutchan Station using the Hakodate Honsen lines. This service takes around two hours. The Niseko Ski Express train stops at Niseko Station, Kutchan Station, Otaru Station, Otaru Chikko Station, Teine Station and Sapporo Station.
The journey from New Chitose Airport Station usually takes around 2.5-3 hours.
During the main winter months a number of private bus companies offer direct services to Niseko from Sapporo City and also from New Chitose Airport. These regular and convenient services are probably the most popular way to get to Niseko.
There are also a number of buses scheduled between Rusutsu and Niseko each day during the winter season. This journey usually takes around 40 minutes and costs around 1,000 yen.
The Niseko United Shuttle bus service operates from the opening day of the season until late in the season. It is free to use for anyone who has an Niseko All-Mountain Hourly Pass or a Day Pass lift ticket. People without those tickets can also board the bus at a small charge. The bus connects Kutchan Station and Niseko Station with the Hirafu Welcome Center and the other main ski resorts on the mountain with many drop off points on the route. There are four main routes.
There is also a Hanazono Shuttle bus service that goes from the Hirafu Welcome Center to the Hanazono resort area.
43.1km from the Kuromatsunai IC on the Kuromatsunai Shindo
66.8km from the Asari IC on the Sasson Expressway
69.3km from the Otaru IC on the Sasson Expressway
Nearest national route: Route 5 (3.8km away)
Nearest prefecture road: Prefecture Road 343
The base of Niseko Grand Hirafu base is just over 7km from the central area of Kutchan town.
Getting to Niseko Grand Hirafu from central Kutchan town
Heading south from Kutchan Station on Route 5, either turn right onto Prefecture Road 343 and follow the road until traffic lights about 5km further on, then turn right to head into Hirafu; or, continue a bit further on Route 5 and turn right onto Prefecture Road 631 and then continue on Prefecture Road 343 to head up to Hirafu.
Approaching the Niseko region from Sapporo City
From central and the southern part of Sapporo City, take Route 230 south via the Nakayama Pass and Kimobetsu town. At the traffic lights on the far side of Kimbotsu town, turn right onto Route 276. This road continues through to Kutchan town. This route is about 100km and in normal conditions takes up to two and a half hours by car.
From areas to the north of Sapporo City either take the Sasson Expressway or Route 5 towards Otaru City. From the Asari IC exit turn right onto Prefecture Road 1 and then after a few hundred metres turn right again onto Prefecture Road 956. Kutchan and Akaigawa are on the main road signpost. After about 4km, turn left onto Route 393, also known as the Askaigawa National Highway. The road turn off for Kiroro resort is about 17km along this road. Continue on Route 393 following the signs through to Kutchan.
Alternatively continue on Route 5 through and beyond Otaru City. Route 5 generally follows the same route as the Hakodate Honsen train line through to the Niseko region. There are less of the curves on this route than there are on parts of Route 393, but it is a slightly longer drive (about 7km).
Approaching the Niseko region from New Chitose Airport
From the main exit of New Chitose Airport, head towards Tomakomai on Route 36 and Prefecture Road 781. After 23km turn right onto Route 276 (signposted as Kimobetsu and Lake Shikotsu). Continue for about 18km and turn left at the signs to stay on Route 276. Go past Lake Shikotsu and keep following Route 276 signposted as Kuchan and Kimobetsu. On reaching the Route 230 junction, turning left goes into Rusutsu. For Niseko, turn right here onto Route 230 for just 1km before turning left to join Route 276 once again. Route 276 continues into central Kutchan town and the station area.
Enjoy the views of the northern slopes of Mt Yotei on the way!
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