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13 Nov

Aussies Flocking to Niseko Slopes

Great snow conditions, promoted by word of mouth overseas, have attracted a growing number of foreign visitors, mainly from Australia, to Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu, a ski resort in the Niseko highlands in Hokkaido.

The ski resort in Kutchancho, west of Mt. Yotei, is part of the Niseko ski resort area. The mountain is nicknamed the “Mt. Fuji of Hokkaido.”

Mark Rodgers, a 25-year-old company employee from Sydney, described everything as “perfect,” while hoisting a mug of beer in a restaurant at the resort. Besides the powder snow, he was praising the sushi and beer.

He said he was going to spend two weeks out of his 25-day vacation in Japan at the ski resort. He also said he appreciated the beauty of the natural environment.

Fumio Sato, 43, chief of the ski resort’s business planning division, said, “On weekdays, it seems that about a half of our visitors are from overseas.” Last winter, foreign visitors accounted for about 20 percent of the holidaymakers. He predicted that the percentage would be higher this season.
Data from the Kutchancho town government also show an increase of foreign visitors. Australians who stayed in the town increased from 214 in fiscal 2001 to 7,696 in fiscal 2005.

Hajime Sekiguchi, 54, chief of the town government’s commerce, industry and tourism division, said, “The number [of Australians] will exceed 10,000 this fiscal year [ending March 31].”

Around the ski resort, holiday condominiums targeting such tourists are mushrooming.

Based on benchmark land prices announced by the Construction and Transport Ministry last year, prices of residential land in the ski resort area rose 33.3 percent, compared with the previous year–the sharpest increase in the nation last year.

Simon Robinson, a 46-year-old Australian who runs a real estate firm that manages about 80 holiday condominium units in Kutchancho, plans to add 30 units this year and 20 next year.

He was upbeat, saying demand will grow as the number of visitors from other Asian countries, Europe and the United States has also been increasing.

However, people in the town voiced some anxiety regarding the bubblelike boom. Sekiguchi said, “I’m afraid this town may face ruin if the boom ends.”

The town was trying to make itself more attractive by, for example, improving shopping malls and offering free night buses.

The whole of the town is doing its best to advertise the name “Niseko” to the rest of the world.

Zoom Up By Satoshi Oga Yomiuri Shimbun Photographer


Niseko Accommodation Homes


Annupuri Oasis Lodge

Annupuri Oasis Lodge

Annupuri Oasis Lodge is a bed ‘n breakfast style accommodation option located in Annupuri Village, part of the wider Niseko area. Only 5 minute walk away from the main gondola and sitting within its own virgin forest, Annupuri Oasis Lodge offers the best value for your money.

Australia House
Australia House has 12 nicely furnished bedrooms and each with their own programmable gas heater, for the coziest of sleeping conditions. Other features are Free WiFi internet access, tunning bench, Common Lonnge area with large Screen TV, seperate kitchen for customers use.

Country Resort Chalets

Country Resort Chalets

From a compact 2 bedroom chalet of 85 square metres, to a spacious 4 bedroom of 225 square metres, we have something for everyone at The Chalets at Country Resort. Each of the standalone homes is furnished with modern creature comforts, from wi-fi internet and flat screen TV’s to fully equipped kitchens and centralised heating.

Forest Estate

Forest Estate is a group of five luxury homes in the center of Hirafu Village. Expect breathtaking views of Mount Yotei and the surrounding landscape, as well as all the amenities of a modern home.

Ginsetsu

Ginsetsu is a unique property located in Hirafu Village. Think elegantly handcrafted furnishings, a Japanese tea room, a spacious Japanese Cyprus bath and tatami bedrooms.

The closest accommodation to the newly-completed Hirafu Gondola coupled with its tasteful furnishings. A stay at the Gondola Chalets gives you a great location, comfortable interiors, and stunning views.

Hana & Jo

Hana & Jo

Hana & Jo are a pair of luxury townhouses located just out of central Hirafu in the Izumikyo 2 village. Hana & Jo are well-suited to families or groups of friends seeking their own private winter hideout.

Hidamari

Hidamari

Hidamari is a 4 bedroom cottage located in lower Hirafu. Hidamari is a short walk away from a variety of bars and restaurants. Enjoy a night in the village or a quiet meal from the comfort of your lodging – its up to you!

Niseko Izumikyo
Enjoy spending relaxed private time in a cottage with gracefully nature in Niseko. We will provide you with a cottage that has fixture necessary for life like electrical appliances, tableware and kitchen equipment.

Jurin

Jurin

Jurin is cozy accommodation located in Izumikyo 1 – just outside the village center. Together with its simple rustic style, guests are treated to a comfortable home away from home, with all the creature comforts of a modern lifestyle.

Nupuri Cottage

Nupuri Cottage

Nupuri Cottage is a cozy cottage with 1 Bedroom + Loft cottage located in Lower Hirafu. Recently remodeled and furnished in a western-style, it is a perfect property for couples, small families or friends.

Powderhound Lodge

Powderhound Lodge

Just a short walk away from the lifts and located amidst restaurants and bars, the lodge is well-suited for those seeking value accommodation at a great location.

Nupuri Cottage

Shinrin Lodge

Shinrin Lodge offers guests a luxurious way to experience Niseko. Shinrin Lodge further ups the ante with a Jacuzzi bath, media room and games room with billards table. There is even a gas fireplace for guests to lounge in front of after a day on the mountain and a hearty meal.

Nupuri Cottage

Sugarpot

Sugarpot is a 5 bedroom house located in the central village. Modern furnishings and a contemporary finish make for great surroundings to relax. Sugarpot addresses the short supply of large accommodations for above average-sized groups of friends, family or both.