Niseko Japan is host to a lively nightlife and a big night in Hirafu goes hand in hand like a gin and tonic. So if you’re here on holidays and want to have an authentic Niseko stay then welcome this perfect excuse to let loose and enjoy the plethora of bars on offer. The Hirafu Village is at the hub of Niseko and has been custom built to quench Niseko’s most thirsty of visitors. With bars nestled amongst Hirafu’s upper, middle and lower village there’s certainly no shortage of alcohol and plenty of atmosphere through the entirety of winter.
Like many ski resorts Niseko’s nightlife runs on a 7-day rotation, providing you with ample opportunity to enjoy the best things both on and off the mountain during your stay. With an endless supply of visitors to the area, enthusiastic ‘working’ holiday goers and resilient seasonal staff —each of whom are already enlivened by a day on the hill— the streets are always abuzz and atmosphere is always vibrant. Niseko’s eclectic nightlife is unique in that it doesn’t discriminate against the weekdays so rest assured you won’t have to wait until Saturday to enjoy a big night out.
Whether you just feel like a ‘quiet’ wine, wish to sample some local sake or are in need of a few beers to ease the days’ injuries, Hirafu has a suitable option for everyone.While there’s certainly an array of choice for every age, attitude and occasion it’s best to have a vague idea of where to go to avoid any unbefitting decisions.
The Niseko Guide
The Happy Hour:
While every hour is a happy one in Niseko, there are few places where you can drink all afternoon knowing that your finances will still balance at the end of it. One such place is Gorilla Bar which is located within the Shiki Hotel and serves some of the best cocktails in town at a competitive price. From 2pm to 4pm for most of the winter Gorilla opens its arms to skiers and snowboarders as they bounce eagerly off the mountain and into the chic, stylish cocktail bar. Reminiscing on the days’ turns, nursing injuries and making plans for the evening whilst sipping on half price cocktails is a pretty fitting way to end a great day up the mountain. While you can’t go wrong with this decision you certainly will be setting the standards high for the rest of your night.
The Civilised Cocktail:
While momentum is high from happy hour and you’ve enjoyed a taste of some of Hirafu’s best cocktails, it’s time to treat yourself to one of Niseko’s most sophisticated bars. A trip to Gyu Bar is a must do for visitors and behind the iconic ‘fridge door’ entrance you will appreciate the cozy, enchanting atmosphere, beautiful forest views, some casual jazz and a wide selection of cocktails at your fingertips. While this may break the bank for the more budget minded travellers it’s certainly one place that you should tick off the list. If you enjoy Gyu Bar you may also like to try The Barn or Niseko’s Taproom.
The Food Stop: After a couple of drink stops it’s probably an opportune time to grab some food and soak up the afternoon cocktails. Remember it’s a marathon not a sprint so some delicious Japanese food is a wise decision on all fronts, and with so many great izakayas and awesome restaurants across Hirafu it will be one of the best decisions you’ll make all night. Barmoon, Rin, Jam Bar, Mina Mina and Blo Blo bar are all sound options and also present a good opportunity to try some of the local beer and sake that’s in play.
The Decider: After a feed and some sake you’ll probably be wanting to hit someplace with a bit of atmosphere where you can also maintain a conversation. Take a trip to one of the many cool Hirafu post dinner spots. With many options that will impress, some local favourites include Barunba, the Brick Bar and the newest spot in the Lower Hirafu Village being The Baddies. Doubling as a tattoo parlour. The Baddies has a warm and welcoming vibe, a pleasing array of beers, wine, and spirits and friendly staff to get you sorted. Enjoy a few beers here whilst contemplating your next move or your next tattoo. Generally this is the stage when your night will go in one of two directions…
The Late Night: If you’ve made it this far you will probably have sunk a few of Niseko’s best cocktails, beers and sake and are primed for some loud music and a dance floor. With a few places that have a reputation for late nights, upbeat music and horrible hangovers you can navigate your way through the following (in this order): Big foot; Slippery Slope; Wild Bills; Bar Moon; and Edge Bar.
While Niseko’s nightlife has something for everyone and will make for some memorable—or unmemorable—nights, at the end of the evening remember to grab some water, look after your friends and set your alarms to make an attempt for first chair. The best hangover cure in Niseko is the fresh cold air on the hill and being pitted in waist deep powder so don’t press the snooze button the next morning.
To book your trip to Japan and to experience everything Niseko has on offer talk to the team at Japan Ski Experience.