Where to eat in Niseko? (Grand Hirafu)
Are you staying in Grand Hirafu? Find out where to eat in Niseko below:
1) An Dining
We stayed at Ki Niseko, where An Dining and An Café & Bar are located on the ground floor. They offer both fine and casual dining. The Head Chef, Shinichi Maeda, uses only the freshest Hokkaido produce in his dishes. Yes, we did see cartloads of fresh seafood arriving one afternoon when we were leaving the hotel.
Our daily buffet breakfast was served at An Dining. The food was a fusion of east and west, with a leaning towards an English breakfast. It was not too bad but nothing to shout about.
But the food tasted better during lunch. For one of our two ski break lunches at Niseko, I tried the chicken and avocado sandwich at An Dining. With their menu on the pricier end, this simple fare costs ¥650 (~S$8). We ordered the cheapest on the menu because we didn’t want to spend too much on lunch. Moreover, we didn’t want to be too full as we had to ski for another few hours after lunch.
2) Yokasu Yakitori
This was where we had our dinner for the first night. Yokasu Yakitori serves yakitori cooked on traditional bincho charcoal grills, other izakaya-style dishes and a wide selection of alcohol. Hidden in a small alley near the Seicomart, it’s camouflaged in the dark with its black walled entrance. Then, walk down a flight of stairs and enter into the BBQ smoky restaurant and bar.
There’s a bar counter at the front and tables at the back. We had to squeeze at the bar counter because the place was super crowded when we were there. We ordered the Yakitori donburi and a few other sticks. One of the skewers had this fatty pork meat which melted in our mouths. It was juicy and so so so good! All the skewers were fresh off the grill and delicious, but overpriced in our opinion. We spent ¥2,717 (S$34) on probably 2-3 sticks plus one donburi.
Open till late and a good place to enjoy your après-ski alcohol and yakitori snacks.
Open daily (Winter only): 18:00 – 24:00
170-138 Yamada, Abuta-gun, Kutchan-cho 044-0081
3) Other Restaurants for Dinner
With the various shuttle buses* available, get around Niseko or Kutchan to hunt for the dining place you so desire to try. Or you can try walking in the snow like us (Ki Niseko shuttle stopped due to the poor road conditions from heavy snow).
*Shuttle Buses: Niseko United Shuttle, free Hirafu Village Grand Shuttle Bus, Hanazono Bus, Hilton Shuttle Bus, Kutchan Night Go Bus.
Additional Tip: For 500 yen per ride, Yumeguri Onsen Shuttle Bus (Spa Bus) takes you to all the onsens in Niseko from early evening till night. Inquire at your accommodation or tourist information centres.
We walked towards the Seicomart at Middle Hirafu, and the Yokasu Yakitori was near there. Along the way we saw a food truck that was not too crowded, but we skipped it to go for one of our shortlisted dining places. But there were many places we didn’t manage to go. So here’s the list of places we missed:
- Kongo (Yakiniku and Genghis Khan), 11:30am-1:30pm, 5:00pm-10:30pm
- 1, Kita 1 Nishi 1, Kutchan Town
- Torimatsu Yakitori (Yakitori), 6:00pm-10:30pm
- 1 Kita 3-jo Nishi, Abuta-gun, Kutchan-cho Hokkaido 044-0053
- Usagiya (Traditional soba), closes at 7:30pm
- 1 Chome-1-1 Kita 2 Jonishi (North 2, West 1, Miyako St), Kutchan, Abuta District, Hokkaido 044-0052
- A-Bu-Cha 2nd (Dinner: Hot Pot, Yakitori), 11:30am-3:00pm, 6:00pm-1:00am
- Suiboku Bldg, 1st Floor 191-29 Aza-Yamada Kuchan-cho Hokkaido 044-0081
- Asahikawa Ramen Tozanken (Ramen), 11:00am-4:00pm, 6:00pm-11:00pm (LO): Genuine Asahikawa Ramen made from 100% Hokkaido wheat noodles. ‘Donburi’ rice bowls available too.
- 191-31 Yamada, Kutchan, Abuta District, Hokkaido 044-0081
- Sobadokoro Rakuichi (Duck soba and soba kaiseki dinner), 11:00am-3:00pm, 5:00pm-: We didn’t have time to travel out to Annupuri, but if you have, it’s definitely a must try. Anthony Bourdain featured this restaurant on his ‘No Reservations’ show with a more than favourable verdict. At this small homely wooden hut that seats only 10-12 people, the chef will make the soba and tempura in front of you. Their soba kaiseki dinner changes based on their produce. You need to make reservations for dinner, but they don’t take reservations for lunch and will usually sell out by 1:30pm.
- Annupuri, 〒048-1511 431, Niseko, Niseko-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido, TEL：0136-58-3170
For those with sweet tooth…
- CAFÉ IF (Dessert & Tea), Winter 10:00am -9:00pm | Summer 10:00am – Dusk: This highly raved cafe nestled in Grand Hirafu is run by a pair of elderly siblings – brother and sister. Be sure to try their apple cake with fresh mascarpone cheese. Since they make everything from scratch, order everything at one go. Then, prepare to wait for ~30-40 minutes.
- 167-22 Yamada, Kutchan-chō, Abuta-gun, Hokkaidō 044-0081, Japan
- Fujii Sweets Shop (sweets, snacks and souvenirs), 8:30am -7:00pm (closed Tues)
- 4 Kita-1, Nishi-3, Kutchan, Abuta-gun, 044-0051 Hokkaido (1 Minute Walk From JR Kutchan Station Train)
- Grand Hirafu Milk Kobo Café and desserts (Desserts), 10:00am-5:00pm (LO), Winter only. Milk Kobo’s specialty cream puff shell coated with chocolate is a limited-edition special snack that is sold only at the Hotel Niseko Alpen. Not even sold at the central store!
- 1F Hotel Niseko Alpen, 204 Yamada, Kutchan Town
4) Convenience Store
We didn’t order much from Yokasu Yakitori because of the overpriced menu. It was delicious, but it made us feel that Niseko is generally an expensive place. Hence we were still hungry and hoping to find some cheaper food at the conveience store, Seicomart.
When we reached Seicomart, we noticed something interesting. At Yokasu Yakitori, the Caucasians dominated the place, at Seicomart, the Asians dominated it. We heard people from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore! The Asians really know how to pinch their pennies and find affordable food.
The takeaway bento set and finger food at Seicomart looked and tasted good. We bought 2 donburi rice bowl sets and kept them for our lunch the next day. We simply microwaved them in our serviced apartment kitchen at Ki Niseko before eating. It was super value for money! So if you are on budget, head to Seicomart. It’s huge and carries a wide variety of food – from bentos to cup noodles to fresh fruits. Yummmy!
5) Ski Lunch
As mentioned, we had donburi from the convenience store for the lunch break of our first ski lesson day. For our second day, we wanted to try the food at .Base Cafe. That’s the easiest and nearest place from the base of the ski lifts to get lunch. As first timers, we were around the base and it was cumbersome for us to walk far in our boots. Moreover, we weren’t confident in taking the ski chair lifts by ourselves – we were both noobs.
But the .Base Cafe was closed for a private event!! Wuuuuuutttt? It was a busy ski slope that day and they closed it for a few guys wearing their suits!? Argh, so we had no choice but to walk to the next nearest place, An Dining (see above).
If you don’t mind a little more walk, you can head towards Niseko Alpen for Slalom restaurant (¥1,000 to ¥1,500), Shokusai Hirafu, or Sweets and Cafe by Grand Hirafu and Milk Kobo. Or go even further in another direction to Tanta an (¥1,400 to 2,000).
Otherwise, for restaurants near the ski lifts at Niseko Grand Hirafu, such as the 1000m hut at the top of Ace pair lift #3, find out more at the Grand Hirafu website.
A place worth mentioning but not found in the Grand Hirafu website is Boyoso. It’s at the top of Holiday Pair Lift #1. Ski down or take the ski lift up and hike a distance to this restaurant. It is in a warm log cabin halfway up the slope under the Hirafu Gondola. The place serves katsu curry, don and soba and is one of the cheapest places to eat lunch while skiing on these slopes. However the place is too small to handle the lunch crowd at 12:00pm. So be sure to get there earlier if you can.
Or if your lunch time is not strict, you can venture further to Shokukobo Shunsai for venison steak and local food. The set lunch is value for money, and its wine selection cheaper than most places in the area. It’s a minute walk from JR Kutchan Station.
Do you have other suggestions of where to eat in Niseko? Tell us below or on our Facebook Page or Instagram. Bookmark this page > Overview Itinerary: Hokkaido and Tokyo (Winter/Spring 2016)
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