If you were wondering where to spend your time in Niseko for the food, here is a guide that should give you a fair selection to work with.
Whether you are craving sushi of the very traditional kind, or entertaining guests for an exclusive experience off the beaten track, Japan’s #1 snow resort of Niseko has something for everyone.
Open 1100-1500 daily
Sitting on a tranquil back street in scenic east Hirafu, this long-running soba spot is the perfect place for some energy-boosting grub after a morning ski. The traditional Japanese seating oozes nostalgia.
Dip the noodles in the homemade soup, and slurp up the goodness while it’s hot. On the side, you might want to consider their famous house-made tempura.
Open 1100-1500, 1700-late daily
As widely respected for his soba craft as is Jiro for sushi, Tatsuru Rai operates the 12-seat restaurant, considered one of the world’s great soba houses, with his wife Midori. He mixes, kneads, and cuts all of the buckwheat to order. The family team is always elegantly cloaked in kimono and yukata, greeting each customer as they pass into the cozy interior space and study the menu hand-written by Midori every day, and varied daily according to the season’s whims.
Dinner is offered as a multi-course omakase with small plates of seafood and seasonal vegetables, leading up to the handmade soba course, where lucky diners get to see Chef Rai knife his famous soba up close. Hands down the best slurp in Niseko, and reservations are a must for a spot in the evening.
Open 1800-2300 daily
Located next to and run by the very family that started soba legend Rakuichi, Karabina is a intimate, homely izakaya in Annupuri that occupies an elevated wooden hut over the the snow, serving yakitori and other comfort food.
It is named after the climbing tool carabiner, furnished with a wood burner to give the place a lived-in feel. Don’t miss out on the many kinds of sake and shochu at the bar!
Open 1800-2400 daily
A favorite for casual dinner in a convenient location, this homely Izakaya serves fresh Hokkaido seafood, prime cuts and seasonal, local produce grilled at your table, with an exhaustive drinks list to match. Grilled scallop (hotategai), crab boil and cold tofu are some local specialties recommended. Fresh sashimi makes this an even greater go-to place.
Open 1800-0100 daily
This comfy diner, located right in the village, provides plenty of tatami seating and waiting space – so even when there’s some waiting, you will be well seated browsing the overwhelming menu.
On the menu there’s a variety of local specialties, yakitori and fresh local catch included, and the atmosphere is incredibly child-friendly. Oh, and they have good desserts as well.
Open 1800-0100 daily
Izakaya culture is one part fantastic food and one part casual, relaxed environment. It is very well exemplified with old favorite Bang Bang 2 (and its mothership Bang Bang next door), despite requiring a reservation to get in for dinner. Try the roasted Wagyu steak, char-grilled king crab and fresh oysters, paired with wine, sake or crafted beer!
Open 1800-2400 daily in winter
Nagomi makes first impressions with the neat illuminated facade that lights up the village at night, with a stylish interior to match. Located across Ebisutei, this 20-seater joint offers a good selection of Italian reds and local beers to match with fresh skewers.
Open 1700-2300 Tuesday-Sunday
The place is celebrated for the still-flapping freshness of its fish, using only fresh catch sourced from Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo and local fisheries. The sake selection is fabulous, and their special Japanese-style salad and Negitoro-Maki (fatty-tuna and spring onion maki rolls) are some of the best authentic Japanese dishes in town. The Master is also delighted to prepare off-menu items for curious customers.
This is a small Japanese restaurant which serves very traditional Japanese food. They specialize in seafood and sushi flown in fresh from the Tsukuji Market daily. Choose the Omasake set that includes, sashimi, seafood salad, hairy crab, savory custard, seasonal seafood items, rice, miso soup & dessert.
Open 1700-2130 daily
There may be a wait for a spot in this owner chef oyster bar, but put in the time and you will find yourself seated with the ocean at your fingertips. Channeling the spirit of old-school oyster shack you might expect to find on a oceanfront highway, the intimate eatery serves fresh and fine catch Hokkaido and north ocean cold water seafood. The line-up changes constantly, and first timers would be wise to opt for the chef’s choice,
Ezo Seafoods is down the parallel street on the right, and there Aussie owner James focuses on the best Hokkaido seafood, simply grilled, steamed or raw, allowing it to shine. Ezo is normally booked out 3 months in advance in the winter months, but they have two tables available for walk-ins from 5pm.
Open 1130-1500, 1800-2130 daily
Tsubara Tsubara serves everyone’s favorite curry – a Hokkaido delicacy – in Niseko. The base of their famous soup curries is more so a light broth, topped with big, juicy pieces of meat and vegetables, and carefully seasoned with herbs and peppers.
Open 1130-1430 daily
Having spent the last 30 years to perfect their craft, Curry Goya has become a proud flag-bearer of the Sapporo-style spicy fare. The rich signature broth here has more of that thick and heavy taste usually found in Japanese-style curry, something that should be experienced at least once on a trip to Niseko.
Open 1800-2300 daily
It is not an easy task to seat a big group comfortably in Hirafu, and Rin Izakaya is one of the go-to places for entertainment. Serving up authentic Japanese comfort food at affordable prices, groups of families often book two tables here, one for the grown-ups and one for the children.
Open 1800-2300 daily
The humble yakitori’s gourmet value is well recognized in this cozy eatery that is Saika. Pick your favorites off the blackboard and prepare to smell of smoke as you leave after watching your chicken-on-a-stick fix freshly prepared on an open grill for the past hour.
Open 1200-1430, 1730-2030 daily
Should you eat the noodles first, together with the foam, and enjoy the sweetness of the potato? Or should you swirl the foam into the soup, let them melt together, and savor the deeper taste the potatoes impart to the soup? It’s up to you how you enjoy two flavors in one bowl.
Open 1100-2200 daily
This homey noodle place takes pride in serving up Asahikawa (where the owner’s from) ramen made from Hokkaido wheat noodles, served in smooth and rich broth. There’s also a thoughtful selection of “donburi” rice sets, and wonderful yakitori sticks for sides. The place is always busy but good for a quick bite – especially when you are in the mood for something soupy to warm up a bit.
Open 1100-2300 Friday to Sunday, 1700-2300 Monday, Wednesday and Thursday
A place that will haunt your future pizza fantasies, Niseko Pizza is justifiably famous for the excellent food, sensible pricing and village center location. This chic diner offers over 30 styles of delicious handmade pizzas from a wood fire stove, unabashedly blackened and usually too big for the table you manage to score. The dough is made fresh several times a day, and they can also tailor-make gluten-free and vegetarian options upon request.
Open 1200-1400, 1800-2100 daily
The sushi counter that flanks this popular Japanese restaurant takes its art seriously. Loved for platters of thick slicks of fish exquisitely served with dots of wasabi, with an impressive sake list to delve into. Expect a good gourmet, no-gimmicks experience.
Open 0700-1100, 1500-late daily in winter
Half Note is that no-frills insider-friendly joint locals gather for live jazz performances, where close-set tables get patrons rubbing up against each other. The place has a very relaxed vibe that draws an interesting mixture of locals, expats and visitors – a great chill-out spot to mingle with other happy guests over satisfying bar food.
Open 1600-2100 daily in winter
An affordable choice for those who want more than just the classic sushi, this new 30-seater tempura restaurant is located on the second floor of Matthew Suites. In addition to the classics and delicious (e.g. deep fried king prawn), the camembert cheese tempura is an instant bestseller.
Musu is an all-day bistro heated up with the warmth of a roaring fireplace. By day, it is a cozy eatery servicing up healthy plates, from hearty breakfast foods to organic veggie salads. By night, as the crowds on Hirafuzaka begin to show, this friendly hangout becomes an après-ski go-to, where you can people-watch to your heart’s content with a cocktail in your hand.
Recently awarded the Bib Gourmand by the Michelin Guide (for serving top-notch meals at reasonable prices), Sushi Wakatake moved from Sapporo to Odin Place, offering spectacular views of Mt Yotei and fresh seafood served in sashimi and nigiri sushi style, each round made in front of you at the bar and served directly the traitional way. Best paired with sakes chosen by head chef Hiroyuki Namekawa.
Niseko Taproom is the only bar in Hirafu to serve local beer on tap. The 22-seater pub offers comfort food that delights meat eaters, including their signature rotisserie chicken. But the real gold lies in that carefully-curated drinks list, prominently featuring the 8-tap bar that is sure to impress beer geeks.
After a long day on the slopes, you will want to settle down here to properly fill up whilst you warm up beside the fire. A modern take on traditional Alpine food, the menu features classics such as authentic fondue, raclette, crepes, soups and salads. The stone and weathered wood interiors is helpful in conveying the romance of a rustic log cabin, while an imposing central communal table make for a good place to enjoy good vibes with family and friends til late.
With a selection of homemade desserts and comforting light eats, Morinoma café is a sunlit, timber-clad cozy café good for coffee breaks overlooking the snowscape. Morinoma is the kind of spot to enjoy some “me” time, surrounded by the serenity to certainly calm you.
Open 0700-2200 daily
Elements opened with Always Niseko Hotel in Kabayama, located just a few minute’s drive from central Hirafu, though it feels a million miles from the hustle and bustle.
It is easy to see why they love the place, with an ample food offering and lovely staff. The bar-level tables are in the center of the café, making it a prime spot for those looking to see and be seen.