During our trip to Niseko, we also had the chance to visit Grand Hirafu. While having stayed at Nest at the Trees, we didn’t wanna miss the snow activities we could do while in the area. If you have been reading our previous blogs about Niseko, it’s our favorite place so far in this visit to Hokkaido.
Hirafu is the biggest village and provides the largest and most diverse selection of activities and accommodation. This resort offers the best powder snow and a wide variety of 30 courses, including wide ski trails and parks. The resort offers new and convenient facilities such as .Base (dot Base), the Grand Hirafu Mountain Center and the high-speed 8-person HIRAFU Gondola.
Our mountain pass was distributed to us when we were having skiing lessons. We are supposed to be going up Grand Hirafu to experience a higher terrain to ski. However, due to strong winds and unfavorable weather condition that day, we weren’t able to go to Grand Hirafu and experience the gondola while on our ski uniforms.
The next day, we went to Grand Hirafu early morning to see if we could go to the heights of Hirafu from Nest at the Trees. After having our sumptuous breakfast, we prepared for departure to get to the Grand Hirafu Mountain Center where the lift is waiting for us.
Niseko United All Mountain Pass
In order to ride and use the gondola or the lifts, you need a mountain pass. You can get this mountain pass at Hanazono Niseko counter or Grand Hirafu Mountain Center. You can avail of a day pass or point to point pass or even a 21-day pass according to your allotted budget. Since we are only spending a few days in Niseko, we availed the 1-day Mountain Pass.
A deposit of 1000 Yen is required when you avail of the mountain pass and is fully refundable when you insert the key card into the refund machine or ask a refund to the teller counter.
Grand Hirafu Gondola and Mountain Lifts
One of the best experience we had on our trip here in Niseko was riding the gondola mountain lift.
To get to the gondola, simply tap your key card at the gate station so you can make an entry and a number of gondolas await you there. Each gondola is good for 8 people but if there aren’t many people, you can choose to go solo or with your partner depending on your preference. There’s no fixed number of people to ride each one.
The views from above were astonishing! Being someone who lived their lives in a tropical country, seeing a mountain full of snow is a paradise. While in the gondola, you’d see plenty of skiers and snowboarders down below doing their own thing. There even are kids who play with the snow and makes a snowman. It was fun seeing them. If the skies are clear, you could also see Mt. Yotei in the background and the full of Niseko at the foot of the mountain. The ride takes about at least 3 to 5 minutes to get to the next station.
Powder of Snow at Grand Hirafu
When we got off to the next station, we were stunned by what we saw. As mentioned, in the place we are based, we are a 100% full of beaches, so when we are in one of the arctic paradises, we are just really overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by how white the place is and how powdery the snow was. It’s like a giant pool of foam and we’re both excited to experience this one.
So we didn’t hesitate to go over the snow and jump on it! It was surreal, we were finally laying and playing in the snow. We’re like kids in a toy store. We’re just that excited! The snow in the field is as soft as a powder. In my mind, so this is what the powdery snow the magazines were talking about! Truly, Niseko has a world class powdery snow.
While we were in the area, it also rained of snowfall, slow-moving white particles dropping in our coats and jackets. Jane didn’t get to experience much of the snowfall so it really was a great one for her. To be covered in snow, and not care about getting wet at all when it melts. The experience was just so good we can’t get enough.
Of course, we took some photos while in the area. We didn’t get to go far though as we have a quite limited time in the place. We really would want to extend but we have a schedule to run as we are heading next to Otaru.
By the way, just a word of advice, there’s nothing much to do in Otaru especially in April because most of the attractions are closed during this time and there’s just cold winds left and never a snowfall. It’s also the end of winter season and spring is just about to start that the flowers only begin to bloom.
After having a nice time at Grand Hirafu, we went back to the lift station and refunded our tickets. We went back to Nest at The Trees via their shuttle (that’s like a personal service, kudos Nest at The Trees!) and prepare for departure to our Kutchan station.
Niseko Guide App
For updates and best experience while in Niseko, we highly recommend that you download the Niseko App so you can get the latest guides and makes the best times in Niseko. Make sure to also check out Niseko Tourism website and social media channels for on-going promotions, weather updates, and everything you need to know about Niseko.
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| NEST AT THE TREES|
Tel: +81 (0) 136-55-6688
41-5 Aza Kabayama