Gouka Chalet is located in Hirafu’s middle village, a short walk from some its best eateries, including Rin Japanese Restaurant and Niseko’s Yummy Pizza – excellent choices when all that outside activity has you reaching for some necessary carbs.
Don’t let heavy snowfall deter you from having a good time. Many of Hirafu’s pavements are heated which means you’ll be able to reach your destination ‘slip and slide’-free. There’s an excellent range of evening entertainment venues in the village, from the quirky Bar Gyu with its exceptional range of rare Japanese whiskies, to live music and late-night DJ sets at Wild Bill’s.
After a long day in the great outdoors, there’s no better way to relax than by visiting one of the many thermal spas or ‘onsen’. Gouka Chalet is close to Hotel Hirafutei Onsen and Hotel Alpen Onsen – both renowned for their beautiful facilities and excellent rejuvenation treatments.
Gouka Chalet is also a ten-minute walk or a short drive from the Grand Hirafu ski gondola which gives you access to some of the area’s steepest slopes and also caters well to beginners. Simply call one of our on-call drivers to drive you there in the morning and pick you up again in the afternoon.
Steak Rosso Restaurant0.12 km
Bar Gyu+0.30 km
Hirafu Intersection0.40 km
Kamimura Restaurant0.50 km
Hirafutei Hotel Onsen0.60 km
Alpen Hotel Onsen0.80 km
Grand Hirafu Gondola1 km
Niseko Village Golf Course6 km
Mt. Yotei Makkari Entrance8 km
Lake Toya45 km
Otaru City60 km
Sapporo City90 km
How to get there
Getting to Niseko is easy with daily direct flights to New Chitose Airport from Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai and Beijing.
Rental cars are available at the airport all year round from a number of suppliers, and it is a scenic two hour drive to Niseko.
If not comfortable driving, we recommend a private transfer for groups. A convenient airport coach transfer is the best way to travel. Please contact our reservations department with your flight details to book airport transfers or rental cars.
Alternatively, you can travel worry-free on JR Rail from CTS (New Chitose Airport) via Sapporo, with a quick transfer at Otaru, to Kutchan JR Station. Trains are always on time and leave approximately every 90 minutes.
If coming from Tokyo, you can experience the famous Shinkansen (bullet train), which travels up to 320km an hour and hurtles through an undersea tunnel that connects the main island of Honshu with Hokkaido. Travel time is around 4 hours to Hakodate where you can connect to a regional train up to JR Kutchan (3.5 hours).
Things to do
Our Concierge team is on-hand to give you all the local information you need. They can also make restaurant reservations for you or help rent sports equipment as well as arrange ski lift passes. With our competent team at your service, leave all your worries behind. Though the area has a plethora of activities, here are our top choices for things to do in Niseko, regardless of the season you visit:
All year round
- The village of Hirafu is at the centre of a flourishing food scene, so you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to dining out. Nothing but the best Kobe beef is served at Steak Rosso Rosso and if you prefer seafood, we suggest trying out some of Hokkaido's freshest catch at Ezo's.
- For a bespoke elevated dining experience, Niseko Gourmet can arrange for a special meal to be cooked in your own chalet by one of Japan’s finest chefs. From a traditional sushi bar to an intimate sukiyaki meal, this is indulgence to the next level. Gourmet food delivery and grocery shopping are also offered in case you prefer to self-cater.
- Hirafu has steadily built a reputation as one of Hokkaido's prime health and wellness resorts. Relax those sore muscles in Hotel Niseko Alpen's volcanic hot spring (or 'onsen') – a popular choice due to its stunning mountain views, 25-metre pool and high-tech infrared light stone sauna. Japanese custom requires that you enter the gender-specific onsen without any clothes on, not even a swimsuit.
- For discerning diners, Hirafu has not one but two world-class restaurants – Kamimura and Ichimura – both serving exceptionally fine Japanese fare.
- For a night out around town, we suggest sampling rare Japanese whiskies at Bar Gyu or the vast selection of Japanese craft beers at Mick's. If you still have energy left, be sure to check out Wild Bill's for live music and late-night DJ sets.
- Explore some of the area's local museums on a rainy afternoon. The architecturally striking Shu Ogawara Museum of Art in nearby Kutchan is an ode to one of Hokkaido's most famous painters. With its display of colourful art pieces by the artist himself, as well as its seasonal exhibits and regular classical concerts, it is well-worth a visit any time of the year. Located right opposite the Museum of Art is the Kutchan Natural History Museum which hosts fascinating exhibits about the local fauna and the area's rich local history.
- Hokkaido has many festivals around the year and it is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture of the country. From Jaga Matsuri to Niseko Fireworks Festival, there’s plenty to choose from. Make sure you check the festival calendar for your vacation dates.
- The property is located one kilometre from the Grand Hirafu Gondola which gives you access to some of the area's steepest slopes, as well as some great beginner runs. A complimentary shuttle service is offered during winter from your doorstep to the gondola. From the gondola, there are other free shuttle buses that will take you to any of the other Niseko resorts.
- Whether you're a first-timer trying to familiarise yourself with a pair of skis or an accomplished snowboarder trying to perfect your turns, the Niseko Grand Hirafu Snow School has a wide range of lessons and programmes available which cater to all levels.
- Driving a snow mobile is an exhilarating way to explore Hirafu's incredible scenery. From adventurous guided tours speeding down forested trails, to skidding along the snow on a banana boat, there are plenty of options available for safe and exciting family fun.
- Kids love tobogganning and tubing down the slopes. Indulge them at Kids Land Annupuri, Niseko Kids at Niseko Village or Hirafu Alpen Kids Park and Zoo, which also has a mini-zoo with penguins, rabbits and llamas.
- For those slightly more adventurous we can recommend Niseko's specialist mountain guides. Highly trained in rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering and off-piste skiing, their incredible knowledge and understanding of the local terrain will provide you with an unforgettable experience of the area's wild backcountry in the safest possible way.
- Regularly hosting Japan's largest cycling race – the 'Tour de Hokkaido' – Hirafu is a much-loved cycling destination thanks to its stunning landscape, comfortable summers, excellent cycling facilities and wide variety of cycling trails which cater to all skill levels.
- Come spring, the snowmelt raises the water levels of the Shiribetsu River by almost two metres, making it ideal for white water rafting. A 12 km-long course runs from Hirafu Station to Niseko Station across Japan's cleanest river. Although it will take you past a number of exciting challenges, the course is easy enough to navigate while enjoying the valley's stunning beauty.
- With its elevated rope courses, zip-lines, free-fall platforms, bouncy slides and horse rides, the recreational park PURE provides a wonderful day-out for children and adults of all ages.
- The 18-hole, 73 par Niseko Village Golf Course is considered the jewel in the crown of Hokkaido's golf scene, thanks to its excellent facilities and the area's dry and pleasant summers. With the photogenic Mount Yotei in the background, we really can't think of a better place for practicing your shots or improving your handicap.