Woke up in the morning and guess what?! It was STILL snowing! Yup day 5 in Hokkaido and the snow wasn’t letting up. We wanted snow and Mother Nature was giving it to us.
There are 4 different resorts in Niseko all which are on Annupuri Mountain.
- Niseko Village
- Grand Hirafu
You can buy a ski ticket for just one portion of the mountain or you can buy an all access mountain ticket which allows you to ride the whole mountain which is known as Niseko United . A little confusing at first but as soon as you look at a map you figure it out. The lodge we were staying in was right next to the Niseko Village Ski Resort so thats where we were planning on skiing that day. However, because Mother Nature was being quiet fierce the entire mountain was closed except Grand Hirafu so we were forced to head to that side of the mountain.
Grand Hirafu’s population is mostly Australians. People warned us about this before we arrived, and not really thinking of it too much we just shrugged and said who cares. But upon going and experiencing it…the truth is yes it really is pretty much just all Australians. Niseko was put on the map because of Australians and now they run the town. NOTHING against the Aussies, its just in my opinion if you want to go to Japan to get an authentic Japanese experience Niseko is not the place to do it. Basically, the entire town is run by Aussies. Everything is new, modern, expensive, and in English. Honestly, if you had blindfolded me and plopped me down in the middle of the village I wouldn’t have guessed I was in Japan.
Anyways, we arrived at the mountain found the last free parking spot and headed to buy tickets. Unfortunately, so was everyone else in the town! 25 minutes later we bought our $45 tickets and headed over to the gondola line. Overall, it was a hard day on the mountain. It was really crowded, lines everywhere, cold, windy, and the visibility was shit. So after about 4 hours we called it quits and headed off for a warmer place to be.
- Happy hour drink at Jam in Grand Hirafu Village.
- Daiso the 100 Yen store to buy soft pillows since ours were made of beans!
- Coed outdoor natural Onsen at the Grand Niseko Resort
Dinner that night was amazing. We went to Niseko Genghis Khan which was in the really cool yurt dome building. Even without a reservation they were able to seat the two of us immediately. We totally spoiled ourselves and ordered premium lamb, vegetables and extra pumpkin and went to town grilling ourselves a feast. What was great about the place was that we were the only westerners and had to use the little bit of Japanese that we know in order to order. Highly recommend this restaurant if your ever in Niseko.