MANY drinkers refer to good bars as ‘cool’, but few watering holes can be described as such in literal terms. About 300 tonnes of Niseko’s powdery snow was melted, refrozen and carved by skilled hands into an assortment of different shapes to build Hirafu’s Ice Experience, a novelty bar located in the Middle Village on Momiji-Zaka Street. “The main ingredients are an abundance of snow and cold weather, which Niseko has in abundance,” ice builder Kendo Hamaguchi says. Made entirely from local snow in a fashion revealed only as ‘a business trade secret developed through the years’, the Ice Experience is all ice – even down to the glasses, bar, seats, tables and other sculptures. It begs the question, though, how are the dishes washed? Thankfully, the toilet isn’t made from ice – there simply isn’t one. “The Ice Experience has a magical affect on people regardless of age and sex,” Kendo-san says. “It gives off a fairytale experience and is one of the most photographed places in Niseko during the winter.” Kendo-san says the Ice Experience is also an ‘eco and green concept’. “All of the construction materials of ice and snow melt back into the grounds in the spring, waiting to be used again for next year’s Ice Experience,” he says.Kendo-san says to keep an eye out in Niseko in future seasons for an Ice Experience Resort, featuring an Ice Hotel and Ice Chapel.