What is the risk of an Avalanche?
As with every other ski resort receiving massive amounts of snow, Niseko is prone to avalanches in certain areas and depending on the current conditions. Visit http://niseko.nadare.info to read the daily avalanche report for Niseko – a MUST for those planning on heading off-piste.
Do the lifts still run in bad weather?
Don’t be stuck at the base due to lifts suspended by bad weather conditions. Visit http://www.niseko.ne.jp/en/weather/index.html for real-time updates on all the lifts operating in the Niseko area.
What is the best way to pay in Japan?
By cash! Ski rental and ski goods stores accept credit cards, and lift tickets can be purchased by credit card as well. Yet most bars and restaurants in the Niseko Ski resort DO NOT accept credit cards or travellers cheques, and those that do usually charge a 5% service fee.
You can exchange your money in Hirafu, but you will get better rates at the airport. There is also an international ATM that accepts VISA cards. The main post office in Kutchan accepts most international cards. At NisekoAccommodation.com we accept most major credits cards. The ATM located in Niseko Supermarket & Deli in Grand Hirafu Village (just opposite Australia House) accepts Visa and Mastercard.
What are my restaurant options in Hirafu?
We have three restaurants on offer in the heart of Niseko serving traditional food: Kabuki 1 and 2 and Wabi Sabi. As well as our delicious restaurants there are over 40 restaurants in Hirafu village and around 200 places to dine at in the Niseko Resort Area. So there is no shortage of options. Every winter the Niseko Promotion Board publishes a free wine and dine guide for the Niseko Resort Area, which is available at all hotels and guest houses. From traditional Japanese to Western style, from fine dining to take out, there is something to suit all tastes! The average price for dinning is around 2000-3000 yen per person.
Do the restaurants offer vegetarian meals?
Most restaurants have a vegetarian option on their menus. However, as it is not common in Japan, bacon and fish stock may appear in some “vegetarian” dishes. It is always advisable to check with the waiting staff before ordering. Often the chef can leave out the meat or fish from some dishes if requested.
Do I leave a tip?
No, tipping is not customary in Japan and you should not leave a tip at your restaurant table as the waiting staff will probably think you forgot your change and chase after you to return it.
Where can I go shopping?
Lawsons and Seicomart are the two convenience stores in Hirafu where you can buy your basic necessities, and both are a two-minute walk from Australia House. Niseko Supermarket & Deli (also a two-minute walk from Australia House) has European delicacies and an extensive selection of wine.
In Kutchan town, about 8 km from hirafu, are several large supermarkets where you can find almost anything. This is also Diaso – a 100yen store, well worth a look! Buses frequently run to and from Kutchan (the bus stop is opposite Australia House), or you can go by taxi, which costs about 2000yen from Hirafu.
Is a day-care service available in Niseko?
Niseko babysitters (http://nisekobabysitters.com) provide day care and babysitting services for children aged 6 months and up.
Can I use my mobile phone in Japan?
If you have a triband or quadband phone, it might work in Japan. It is recommended that you check with your service provider to see if your phone will work. If it doesn’t, rental phones are widely available in Japan, including Niseko, for about 300yen per day. You can also use coin-operated public telephones, which are readily available throughout Japan.
Can I get around in Niseko even if I can’t speak Japanese?
Yes, you can. Most of the signs are in English, and all of the employees at the ski resort have a basic knowledge of English. Of course, there might be situations where English is not understood, so a dictionary or phrasebook could be quite useful. Japanese people are very friendly and eager to assist tourists, so please don’t feel embarrassed or nervous about communicating with them.
What happens if I get injured in Niseko?
The health care system in Japan is very much comparable to that of western standards. The Kutchan hospital is well equipped, and some of its highly-trained staff may be able to speak English. There are also volunteer interpreters available. However, treatment costs in Japan are quite high, and if you have an accident and require evacuation you will be expected to cover the rescue costs as well. Be sure to have proper insurance before heading to the slopes.
Is there anything I should know about Japanese etiquette?
- It is considered impolite to eat or drink in convenience stores, whether you have already paid or not.
- It is very rude to enter someone’s home without taking off your shoes.
- Skiing on the streets is forbidden at all times and will incur a fine.
- Drug offences are severely punished in Japan
If you can’t find the answer to your question, please don’t hesitate to contact us.