M-Lodge is a great budget accommodation option for people wanting a real taste of the Japanese skiing experience. It’s located in the absolute centre of Hirafu – like right on the main street – just across the road from the main convenience store and a short walk to a bunch of bars and restaurants.
The building is actually an older pension (formerly called Lodge Ronde) that has been refurbished to a comfortable modern standard. What’s cool about this being a refurbished building is that it offers an excellent level of comfort while retaining some quirky old Japanese ski lodge features, like freestanding kerosene heaters and capsule hotel-style cubicle baths.
Rooms vary in size, some being quite small, and some having a small sitting rooms. All rooms include small fridge, kettle, free wifi internet, toiletries and hairdryer. There’s also free parking if you’ve got a car, ski storage and coin laundry. Breakfast available for Y1800 per day.
M-Lodge offers Western-style rooms with the option of either a king-size double bed or twin singles.
All rooms come with ensuites. They’re small and very basic but they do the job and you don’t have share a communal bathroom with everyone else like many other lodges in town.
Rooms have basic food facilities – small fridge, kettle and a desk/table for eating. But to be honest, you’re in the heart of one of the greatest dining precincts you’ll have ever been to, so go out and explore the culinary landscape – and yes, there are plenty of budget options.
There aren’t great views from the bedrooms, but step outside the front door and you’ve got the full majesty of Mt Yotei on one side, and all the action of the ski mountain on the other.
M-Lodge is located in the very centre of Hirafu, or technically at the top of the middle village – across the road is the upper village. It’s a busy bustling part of town and right where all the action is.
The closest lift is the Ace Family lift, which is literally three or four minutes walk. You can catch this lift up to higher parts of the mountain, or if you want to be first on the upper lifts, the bus stop is literally outside the front door. Jump on the free shuttle to get to any of the other lifts of the gondola within minutes.
You couldn’t swing a cat outside M-Lodge without hitting a bar or restaurant… actually, that’s an exaggeration and you may get in trouble with the local animal society :) But you could throw a snowball from the front door and hit half a dozen of the most popular local bars and restaurants. Start with drinks at Tamashii Bar just across the road, have dinner at the yakitori bar below, head to the Barn for après drinks just a short slide down the hill, kick on at Splash Bar, and finish the night at Bar Barunba – all within 100m.