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Niseko Hirafu: Where to rent?

Niseko Ski & Snowboard Hire/Rental Guide

Before getting into this, I’m assuming that you have a rough idea of the kind of equipment that you will need before you can get started. (if you haven’t, you can check out the basics of snowboarding equipment at this page right here.)

For most first timers, in addition to your boots and board, you’d likely also want to get a helmet and goggles. Most people also rent a ski jacket as well as ski pants, but these aren’t as important as the other two. If you want to skimp a little, I’d recommend dropping the ski jacket, but ski pants are pretty important for keeping the snow out of your boots. Your normal gloves will be fine.

 

So, to get started, you may be wondering how many different rental places there are to choose from. If you’re anything like me, you’d probably have done some research into rentals in Niseko Hirafu. Unfortunately, you also probably could only find information that there’s really only one place to rent from, Rhythm Snowsports.

(0) Rental Shops list

Nope.

 

Although admittedly the most established and popular brand, there are many other places here that you can’t really find about on the internet. When I first came to Niseko, I thought that Rhythm Snowsports was the only option. It took me maybe 2 weeks, and then some, to discover just how many places this town has. To make matter worse, each shop has their own different policies: for example, most places here do not actually allow you to rent your goggles. If you want them, you have to buy them outright. If you’ve already decided that you wanted to rent your equipment, this might come as an unwelcome surprise. If you aren’t so partial, buying your own goggles can be relatively inexpensive.

 

Since most of this information is hard or can’t really be found on the internet, I thought I’d write a little guide about some places here. I’m not going to go into detail of all the places; that’s too much work, and I’m lazy.

On a more serious note, there really isn’t a need to have so many choices, so in this article, I’ll be boiling it down to only 5 or 6. I’ll be picking those that I have more experience with.

That being said, if you’re interested in any specific one, try it! At least now you know it exists.

We’ll start with the most popular place in Grand Hirafu – Rhythm snowsports.

 


 

Rhythm Snowsports

(1) Rhythm

 

Now, the good thing about this place is that they provide quality goods and service. After all, it’s the most popular store for a reason. That being said, they generally don’t provide the best value for money, so it may not be the most worthwhile stop for the casual renter.

A sample price list is as follows. As you can see, they also don’t provide package deals for equipment – meaning no discount rate for getting a full set of gear.

 

(2) Rhythm price

I wouldn’t recommend coming here for most people, because they are a little pricey. If money isn’t a problem though, then definitely.

 

Niseko Base Snowsports

(3) NBS Location

The next place on the list would be Niseko Base Snowsports. It’s pretty popular as its located right next to the Family slope, and they provide both lessons and rental under the same roof.

They use mainly K2 gear though, so no Burton for you.

 

(4) NBS price

 

Cheaper than Rhythm, but still not the best bang for your buck. That being said, I enjoyed the service here the most, as the staff were personable and very friendly. I like to ask a lot of questions about my equipment, but they were very helpful.

 

Niseko Sports

Next up, Niseko Sports. This place is pretty interesting because they actually have 2 shops located in Hirafu village.

 

One here:

(6) Niseko Sports 2

And one here:

(5) Niseko sports vale

 

As you can see, while they have a separate shop, they also have a merger store in The Vale apartments. It’s a pretty classy place.

(7) Vale 1

 

Expensive though. Even the prices show; take a look for yourself below.

(8) Niseko Sports price

 

I personally wouldn’t recommend it. It’s fairly popular among tourists though, so maybe it’ll appeal to you.

 

Larry Adler

(9) Larry Adler

We recommend them that they are next to us and have very good equipment for all levels and customers can leave gear at no extra cost overnight and so walk to and away with normal shoes.

 

Prices are below.

(10) Larry Adler price

As mentioned before, most places don’t let you rent goggles. You’re probably (DEFINITELY) going to want to get goggles; I would argue that the goggles are the single most important piece of gear, even more so than your helmet. For a more in detail breakout on why you need each piece of gear, check out this article here.

You might want to just buy your own set, especially if hygiene is a huge concern. Its pretty cheap and you can use it for a few seasons. If you’re adamant on renting goggles, there are a few places you can check out.

 

Grand Hirafu rental shop

(20) Hirafu Rental

Grand Hirafu Rentals serves as a very good alternative for those of you who are looking for cheap, complete gear. Being a Japanese run store, they are more popular among the locals than other places, so you know you’re in for a good deal.

 

They offer lessons too, and they’re conveniently located next to one of the most used lifts in Hirafu. Best part: It’s cheap!

Definitely a place you should consider renting from.

 (21) Hirafu price 1(21) Hirafu price 2

As you can see, its definitely cheaper than most places. In addition, you can get discounts for renting things in a package, so its a pretty good place to go if you want to rent the entire set.

 

Winter First

Finally, an interesting alternative to all these rental shops is a rental delivery service: Winter First. Not having the freehold based in Hirafu, you instead book your gear online, tell them your accommodation, and they will send the gear to your front doorstep.

I know, sounds dodgy; you can’t even try your gear on before renting it? On the plus side, when they come to deliver your gear to you, they will bring various sizes and pick out the ideal stuff so you don’t have to worry about fit. While it’s a little unorthodox, its a pretty reputable service, and some like the convenience of being able to do everything online. Personally, I like to go down myself so I don’t have to do so much forward planning, but I’m that kind of guy. If you like the idea, give it a shot! It’s pretty good value for money. Check out the prices below.

 

(23) Winter First Price

 


 

Honourable Mention: Good Sports

 

I’ve given Good sports an honourable mention for a pretty good reason, if you ask me. They let you rent equipment, really, really cheap.

 (24) Good sports price

 

They’re set up here:

(25) Good sports location

 

..Unfortunately, they closed shop here a few years back. They’ve still got a web delivery service going though – much like Winter First – so if you really want to scrimp, I guarantee, you won’t find a cheaper place anywhere else.

 


 

Parting Notes

Well, there you have it. While there are many choices when it comes to rental in Niseko, the shops above are a good representation of what you can expect.

 

If you’re looking for cheap deals, I’d recommend either Winter First or Grand Hirafu. If you’re the kind that likes to settle all these minor details beforehand to save yourself the hassle, then go for Winter First. Personally, I’d go with the Grand Hirafu rental service because I like the flexibility of not being tied down by reservations, and the ability to collect my gear myself.

 

Ultimately, its still up to you.

 

Oh, and if cost is your main concern, give Good Sports a shot!

If you’d like to check up more on any of the places mentioned, you can go straight to their rental pages on the links below.

 

Rhythm Snowsports – http://skihirejapan.com/

Niseko Base Snowsports – http://www.nisekobase.com/rentals/

Niseko Sports – http://hanazononiseko.com/en/winter/demo/index.html

Larry Adler – http://www.rentaski.com.au/pricelist/index.cfm?loc=jp

Grand Hirafu Rental – http://www.grand-hirafu.jp/winter/en/rental/

Winter First – http://sahina-mulberry.com/ski/english_delivery.html

Good Sports – http://www.goodsports.co.jp/white_eng/rental/#p01

To help you guys find the rental shops, I made a little something. Some shops might have closed or some new ones opened, but hey.

Check out the map below!

制作010

 


 

Price References

Just in case you thought I wasn’t being thorough, here’s a quick and dirty price comparison for ALL the places in Hirafu. If you know a place that isn’t in there, give me a holler.

 

Ski / board & boots (ADULT)

Standard (or equivalent)

1 day

7 days

Niseko Base Snowsports

4500

19500

NOASC Adventure Tours

3980

15980

Pro Ski

5500

20500

Winter Farst

3500

12900

Grand Hirafu (Ace Rental)

4000

17000

Good Sports

3150

11900

Niseko Resort Service

4000

14500

Niseko Sports

5000

20500

Rhythm Snow Sports

6500

21500

Amuse Rental

8000

/

Inski

5500

20500

Niseko 343

Standard ski set

3900

16600

Niseko 343

Snowboard set

5600

21300

Larry Adler

5000

22400