You won’t be disappointing any foodies with a ski trip to Niseko. As one of the snowiest places in the world, this resort has it all – deep powder, backcountry access, and a wide range of food options to satisfy every type of tastebud after a long day on the slopes.
Our dining guide goes through everything from Michelin-star dining to the best place to get a late-night feed after a few drinks – including, of course, the most authentic and delicious Japanese food in town. Just be sure to make reservations for your favourite spots, as dining spots can be tricky to get in peak season.
Yes, you can find a Michelin star in Niseko. Kamimura is the brainchild of chef Kamimura, who carefully chooses the finest meat, seafood and seasonal produce from Hokkaido to pull each dish together. Choose from a 6-course menu at an earlybird seating (6pm) or go a little later in the evening for the chef’s ‘Omakase’ tasting menu that’s all about challenging new tastes.
It’s impossible to write an article about Japanese dining without mentioning sushi. Sushi Wakatake is new to Hirafu, but its original branch opened in Sapporo and received a Michelin Bib Gourmand for its delicious fare at reasonable prices. You can look forward to sashimi and nigiri, as well as a chef’s course dinner that changes daily depending on chosen ingredients and comes with paired sakes or wines.
If you’re looking to eat a variety of seriously good food on your holiday, you have some amazing options in Niseko. An Dining is a great option for anyone looking for a traditional Japanese-style meal, utilizing local produce while sampling as many different flavours and textures as possible. Your plate will truly be a work of art – and you’ll be able to pair it with premium Japanese beer, sake or a Single Malt Yoichi Whisky from the nearby Nikka Whisky Yoichi Distillery.
As for architecture fans, The Barn is going to be right up your alley. This beautifully-designed restaurant was inspired by traditional Hokkaido farm architecture. Their motto is simplicity, utilizing high-quality Hokkaido ingredients. Thinkfresh oysters served on a bed of powder snow, or scallops and salmon steamed in a cocotte, or sushi foie gras.
If you’ve come to Japan craving ramen, hit up Asahikawa Ramen Tozanken on the main street in Hirafu, just down from the Hirafu Welcome Centre. If it’s peak season, be prepared to wait – the ramen is that good, and reasonably priced. There’s also a souvenir shop in the same building, so bring your wallet and stock up on goodies to take home. For those who aren’t keen on ramen, they also make a great Katsudon (a rice bowl topped with fried pork).
You can’t leave the country without trying an izakaya, a cool Japanese bar that offers small meals and plates of snacks. Try Ebisutei in lower Hirafu or JAM Bar for classic izakaya-style dishes, such as sashimi, grilled vegetables and skewers. If you’re feeling especially brave, Ebisutei even offers up horse sashimi…
Head to Bigfoot Lodge if you’re craving some North American-style après vibes. Expect big beef burgers, loaded fries (pizza fries, anyone?), wings, and other plates of goodness such as mac & cheese croquettes and southern fried popcorn chicken. Wash it all down with a mulled wine, a “red cup” of punch, or their four-litre self-serve cocktail tap.
In the mood for pizza, or pasta? You can’t go past Niseko Pizza, a family-run restaurant that has over 20 different kinds of delicious woodfired pizza on their menu, along with pasta, steaks, ribs and a variety of salads. With gluten-free and vegan options also available, it’s the perfect spot to take the whole crew – be sure to try their famous apple pie dessert pizza.
Late night street food
If you’re looking for a late-night snack, find your way to a Japanese convenience store. There are two on the main street of Hirafu – Lawson and Seicomart. They both stock hot food, snacks and alcohol if you’d like to keep the party going. Don’t go past the fried chicken or onigiri (Japanese rice balls) at either convenience store. Lawson also offer up a delicious soft pork bun that’s a great snack after a night at one of the many local bars. Heads up – Seicomart closes at 11pm, so if you’re too late, hit up the woodfire pizza truck out front.
Ski-in, ski-out lunch
The local’s favourite is Boyoso – a small, cosy and affordable Japanese restaurant on the slopes, at the top of the Holiday Pair Lift. If you want authentic Japanese food, you’ll find it in this old wooden building. The katsu curry and pork buns come highly recommended, but you’ll also find sushi bowls, ramen and beer there.
Go for Green Farm Café. While they’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, brekkie is a highlight on their menu. Go for the Green Farm Breakfast, featuring sausage, eggs, bacon, a hash brown and even a salad – or opt for an Eggs Benedict to pair with the very decent coffee on offer. Their philosophy is “Food from Farm to Fork”, making the most of organic vegetables and other local produce.
Two words for you: cream puffs. Milk Kobo is one of the region’s most popular spots for dessert items, including cream puffs full of fresh vanilla cream, ice cream and cheese tarts. Hokkaido is known for its dairy, and the dairy doesn’t get any better than it does at Milk Kobo, who source their freshly-squeezed milk from a nearby ranch.
What’s your favourite dining spot in Niseko?