An’nupuri is very quiet, there’s nothing but the huge Prince Hotel at Higashiyama, but Hirafu is where it’s at.
In Hirafu there are a good number of bars, restaurants and places to stay. The one thing missing is a cash machine, and you’ll have to travel to the 7-11 or Postoffice in Kutchan (15mins by taxi). The cash machine in the supermarket on the corner of Hirafu-Zaka/343 doesn’t take foreign cards.
The Yukoro Onsen is a small public Onsen with an outside pool and good to relax in after a hard day on the slopes. It’s open till 10pm and costs about 500yen (£3)
There is a free ski-bus service running around the resort but its service is a little intermittent. If you’re staying at lower Hirafu then it maybe quicker to walk to the Air Pair Lift than the main lifts at the top of Hirafu-Zaka
Food in Niseko-Hirafu is excellent but you need to get into the habit of booking in advance unless you want to grab a Ramen. There are no food chains to be seen and every restaurant is truly unique and almost every cuisine can be enjoyed.
If you miss breakfast then A-Bu Cha bakery does a good if expensive bacon butty, and some good pastries. Its on the corner of Hirafu-Zaka/343
The bu-cha bar & restaruant is a great place to go for a meal or just to have a cheeky one off the wood.
Hank's is a cozy little cabin where Hank cooks up meals on an open fire
Big Cliff serves great food and is open late.
Bang Bangs does good Yakitori and is located on the main Hirafu-Zaka Street
Do whatever you can to get a reservation at “Yo”. Its a tiny wooden building that serves very traditional Japanese food and excellent tempura. www.hurry-slowly.com
For a curry your only choice is the Ghenkis-Khan near the bottom of the Ace Family lift.
For a quick and cheap Ramen head to the Asahikawa Ramen opposite the Ghenkis-Khan.
There is also a couple of mini marts for groceries and alcohol. There are more options in the town of Kutchan (15 mins away).
The nightlife is rather laidback but can get amped up at certain times of the year if you know where the parties are. Plenty of bars to choose from and most are open to the early hours if you’re feeling thirsty.
The Gyu Bar (Fridge Door Bar) on Youtei-Zaka Street is a cool friendly bar that does some great cocktails.
Wild Bills Bar on Sasayaki Zaka Street is a rowdy Aussie favourite and does good tex-mex, its also got a pool table and the obligatory dart-board. Prices are a little higher than average.
Mountain Jam Bar opposite Wild Bills has a toilet that only midgets can use but does excellent shots is a good locals bar open very late.
Barunba is a good locals hangout and looks like it’s been carved out of wood, its located on Momiji-Zaka Street.
Splash bar is a popular bar which a vast range of spirits and lots of dart boards! Its almost opposite Barunba.
Accommodation is found in the village directly below the lifts and ranges from five star hotels to family owned pensions. Most of the accommodation is fairly affordable, especially if you have a group of four or more. You really do need to book well in advance if you are after something specific.
If you’re after an apartment/house then www.hokkaidotracks.com are a great option. Very professionally run and they have a large number of unique properties. For a house that sleeps 4 expect to pay around 35,000yen (£200) per night.
Hang Loose is spit and sawdust style backpackers, dirt cheap and you’ll be the only westerner in there and almost everyone else will be a Japanese pro boarder. It’s on Youtei-Zaka Street.
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