Niseko is a snowy snowy ski town in Hokkaido, about 2 hours from Sapporo. It literally snowed all day and all night for the 5 days we were there — the locals think they are on track to beat last season’s snowfall total of over 50 feet. We stayed in a fabulous boutique hotel here called Kimamaya.
The restaurants in this area are generally fantastic. On our first night we wandered into Abucha 2 — a boisterous yet family-friendly izakaya with amazing yakitori, fresh corn and crab (both Hokkaido specialties.) At Bang Bang, we spied our neighbor’s massive marbled cut of wagyu beef and immediately ordered up one of the same.
The sushi at Syokusai in the Alpen Hotel was incredibly fresh, perfectly cut — the kind of sushi you dream about eating on a visit to Japan.
Raikuichi Soba and Torimatsu have something in common — both restaurants have masters of their cuisine at the helm, and signed Anthony Bourdain headshots adorning their walls. That’s where the similarities end. Rakuichi is an elegant 12 seat restaurant with a refined set menu. Torimatsu, a lively yakitori bar where we were asked to scribble our order down on a piece of paper to show to the English-speaking chef in the back.
Lunch at Pirka at the Hilton was a real treat — watching the chef prepare our dishes teppanyaki-style in front of picture windows with falling snow outside.
We wanted to try Ezo Seafoods but due to their overwhelming popularity, they were fully booked during our stay. For drinks, Gyu bar (the famous “fridge door” bar) is a quirky little den in the lower village that requires you duck through an old refridegrator door to reach a bar lined with rare Japanese whiskeys.
I also spent a decent amount of time at the Niseko Supply Company up the road with Jake while my husband skiied.
170-248 Aza-Yamada, Kutchan-cho, Abuta-gun, Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan
Phone: +81 (0) 136 23 2603
191-29 Yamada, Kutchan-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido
Phone: +81 136-22-5620
Hirafu Zaka Street | Hirafu, Niseko-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido
Phone: +81 136-22-4292
Higashiyama-onsen, Niseko-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido
Phone: +81 136 44 1111
Hotel Niseko Alpen Restaurant Syokusai Hirafu
204 Yamada Kutchan-cho Abuta-gun Hokkaido
Address: 431 Niseko, Niseko-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido
15 minutes from Hirafu, in Kutchan
Phone: 0136 23 2893
Niseko Supply Company
190-13 Aza-Yamada, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido
Phone: +81 136-55-8861