There are many options for getting around Niseko.
Most places of interest in Hirafu are within walking distance. However, due to the masses of snow and slippery footpaths, the free shuttle bus makes for a more convenient journey.
BE PREPARED! TAKE CARE! The roads & footpaths can be deceivingly icy and slippery. The wrong footwear can leave you feeling more battered and bruised than your time spent on the mountain.
- Avoid smooth soled shoes/boots.
- Invest in a decent pair of snow boots or insulated gumboots.
- An affordable alternative is a pair of snow spikes which slip easily over the sole of your normal footwear.
The Grand Hirafu Shuttle Bus runs every 15-20mins. It services between the Welcome Center, Hirafu Gondola, and the Main Village & East Village. There are two bus routes, the Pension Village Line (Lower & Upper Hirafu in the Main Village) and the Izumikyo Line (Izumikyo #1 and #2 - East Village). You can view these on the map.
Hanazono Resort also offers a free shuttle bus with 6 free shuttles buses. This covers a similar route to the Grand Hirafu shuttle servicing the Lower and Upper Hirafu Village and extending out to Hanazono Resort. The Hanazono shuttle runs every 30mins and the timetable coincides with lift operating times. The first bus arrives at Hanazono at 8.20am in time for first lifts at 8.30am. Hanazono shuttle operates daily from 7.50am to 5.10pm.
There are several buses which operate from the Hirafu Intersection (outside Seicomart) and head into Kutchan Town. The local town offers larger supermarkets, snowsports stores, authentic Japanese restaurants & bars as well as the local hospital (complete with translator).
The Niseko United Shuttle connects Hirafu to Niseko Village and Annupuri. Holders of a Niseko United All Mountain Hourly or Day Pass can ride the bus free of charge. If you do not have a pass, you can still take the bus and pay a regular fare.
Taxi's are usually readily available in Hirafu and can be ordered to your hotel or hailed in the street. Take note that driver's will usually speak little to no English. It is advisable to have both the address and business name of the place you are going. Even better, have someone write it out for you in Japanese.
Taxi's will cost around ¥2,000-3,000 for a 10-15 minute trip.
Car Hire is the perfect option for ultimate freedom. Remember that driving conditions in and around Niseko are usually less than optimal, so be prepared for the snowy and icy road conditions. An International Driver's Permit (IDP) is required for all car hire in Japan and must be carried at ALL times.
Rent from New Chitose upon arrival, or wait until your in the resort to pick up your vehicle.
Toyota Rent-A-Car Sapporo 0136-21-2005