Comparing Tomamu Resort & Niseko Grand Hirafu

A year ago, I made the comparison of Tomamu Resort versus Rusutsu Resort.

Price (not very indicative as prices spiked nearer to Christmas)
T: Ranges from 46,000yen ~ 71,500yen a night for 2 adults and a child
N: Ranges from 56,0000 yen ~ 70,000 yen a night for 2 adults and a child

Room & Amenities
T: We took the 58sqm Family Quad room. It was pretty awesome, and previous verdict stayed. From last year >> It looked refurbished, new and offered unparalleled views from the tower blocks. I loved how all 8 rooms per tower block were ‘corner’ units and were literally guaranteed beautiful views of the resort.
N: We stayed at the Niseko Alpen Hotel. Overall, the hotel looked old but the semi-western deluxe room we had was refurbished and comfortable. It was large as well but probably not as outstanding. The good thing was proximity to onsen.

Distance to ski slopes
T: Same verdict as last year, except that this year we were wiser and kept all ski boots in locker. >> The ski base was literally at door steps. The chair lifts for green slopes were very near to the hotel lobby. We could wear the ski boots down, made use of the free locker (key) and access the slopes easily. We could also park our skis at the ski base which lightened the carrying load. The staff gave us assurance that it was fine to leave the skis & ski poles out in the open.
N: It was ski in ski out so we were very near the lifts, except that if we skied down, we would face with the jams of Family Ace pair lift. It would be better to walk a little upwards. We could not leave the skis or ski poles out in the open because it was an open area after all. Hence, Mr H had to lug the equipment back to the locker at the end of the day.
Ski School for adults & kids
T: Most of the instructors were Japanese or Chinese-speaking. The verdict on difficulty to book lessons online still stands.
N: It was easy to get lessons and I saw many instructors, caucasians and asians, all around.

Equipment rental
T: The staff were friendly and helpful. The equipment looked new compared to previous year.
N: The Niseko Base Rental was overbooked and ran out of gears. Thankfully, we had some priority as hotel guests but their equipment did not seemed as good. Rhythm was pricey and offered very used helmets.

Ski slopes & passes
T: We got a ski pass holder and wore it as an armband. We explored more slopes and really enjoyed the calmness, freshness and niceness of the surroundings. Of course, we also found their steep slopes and steeper slopes. I just enjoyed how they had very nice, long greens for people like me. We paid 2,600yen a day for the ski pass.
N: It was more crowded, icy and the interweaving of green, red and black slopes were common, so I had to watch where I was going. Z enjoyed the ease of accessing challenging slopes.

T: This verdict still stands >> Most of the restaurants were proper Japanese restaurants and the pricing was reasonable. The food was also really authentic.
N: There are many restaurants but they could be booked up very fast.

Entertainment besides skiing
T: This verdict still stands >> There was an ice village which was really awesome, Mina Mina beach which was a huge indoor swimming pool with waves and they had really festive arrangements such as reindeer etc.
N: Perhaps the happening village life? Not so ideal for us though.

Snow play area
T: This verdict still stands >> There were plenty of vast, open space with free sleds and snow toys provided by the resort FOC for guests’ use.
N: There was limited space to play, and probably had to head to Hanazono Adventure Park or just play along the streets.

Outdoor activities centre
T: There was snow rafting, banana boat, snow mobile and more. However, we could not comment more because we did not book this year.
N: NA, except Hanazono or probably Hilton area.

T: Still good in person, poor over email.
N: Not too bad, but not impressive either.

Getting around the resort
T: This verdict still stands >> There were regular shuttle buses 7 & 8 which operated at rather high frequency. If we did not want to wait, we could always walk the sheltered tunnels. It was easy to get around and it covered a number of stops.
N: Village bus which ran every 20min, waiting in the cold was bad!


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