I have been travelling to Japan annually for a few years now. It’s our annual boys snowboarding trip where we spend the majority of time in Niseko. The name is shared by the mountain and a village in Hokkaido, Japan a few hours from Sapporo. Although referred to as ‘Niseko’, the popular village we stay in is Hirafu. It has grown tremendously in the five years I have been visiting with a heavy western influence. Having stayed in many different types of accommodation we finally settle on a favourite. Forest Estate.

My most recent visit in 2015 was our third time in Forest Estate having stayed in three of the four houses in the group. These are located down the hill from the main strip in Hirafu. Forest Estate can be found at the end of the street that BigFoot Bar is located on, in between Red Ski House and Loft Niseko. Its a short walk to the lifts (a great warm up) or the buses also pickup directly in front.

forest estate

Each of the four houses has a slightly different layout but the general theme remains, three bedrooms with a living area upstairs. Each bedroom can accommodate two single beds or be pushed together to make an extra-wide double. A futon can also be added for a seventh guest. There are two bathrooms with one of those being the en-suite to the master bedroom. There is also laundry, drying room and a nice balcony.

Forest Estate

The living area is quite generous with a large couch, dining table and kitchen. It can easily accommodate everybody for meals and entertaining. The kitchen has a dishwasher, microwave, oven and hotplates. Everything is in Japanese but it comes with instruction in English to decode everything. The drying room can fix everybody’s gear and also works well to keep the rest of the house dry.


After staying in many other properties in Hirafu including the very over-rated Vale Niseko. I can honestly say this property is among the best. It can accommodate a boys trip, couple and even families. Highly recommended!

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