Say Goodbye Center Four, Say Hello 10-Person Gondola

If you spent the winter of 2023/24 carving the slopes of Niseko’s Grand Hirafu, you may have unknowingly been part of history as one of the final people to ever ride Hirafu’s Ace No.2 Quad Center Four lift.

Having been in operation since 1985, back when Hirafu was still under the management of St. Moritz Lift Company and referred to as the Alpen Course, Center Four marked the oldest and longest-standing quad lift in all of Japan. And it served us well, with the 30-year-old lift still maintaining the highest transportation volume in all of the Niseko United resort as of 2023. 

Although, Niseko is no longer the quaint, undiscovered snow village that it was 30 years ago when Center Four was first constructed, so to cater to the regions growing year-round tourism demand, Niseko Tokyu Grand Hirafu has begun construction of a brand new 10-person gondola to replace the iconic lift. 

Offering a more practical bike transportation option over the summer months and a more efficient frequency of skiers and snowboarders getting up the mountain in winter, the 10-person gondola aims to streamline convenience for travelers, increasing the hourly transportation capacity from 1,800 people to 2,800.

While the upgrade would be perfect for avid mountain bikers tearing up Niseko this green season, the new gondola won’t be operational until the winter season of 2024-25

Not to worry – if you’re visiting Hirafu this summer, you will still have access to Twin Peaks and all other NAMBA trails, as well as the Grand Hirafu main gondola, which will begin its summer operation as of the 1st of June.

More Articles You Might Like

Riding Your Way Through Niseko

It’s finally green season in Hokkaido, you know what that means – it’s time to dust the cobwebs off our…

What's In-Store At Rhythm Japan This Summer

Everyone’s pretty well-versed in our extensive retail selection over the winter months, but how do we keep it steezy over…

Level Up Your Skills This Niseko Trip

Everyone knows the feeling. You’ve just spent five days shredding in Niseko and on the last run of your trip…

Big Summer Ahead for Mountain Biking Enthusiasts

After a record-breaking winter season for the amount of people hitting our stores and Japan’s slopes, Rhythm Japan is currently…
rhythm elevate your mountain experience

Elevate Your Mountain Experience!

Sign Up for The Latest News, Deals, and Japan Resort Services ⛷️