You know you’re in the company of serious mountains not when they look big, but when you feel small. At 1850m just below the peak of Happo One (pronounced oh-nay), looking north to the towering, craggy, almost-3km-high peaks of Shiroumadake, Shakushidake and Hakuba Yarigatake, you’re standing among giants. It is spine-tingling, and not in a [...]
As featured in this year’s Powderlife Magazine, Shouya Grigg has made an impressive contribution to the modern evolution of Niseko and its art and cultural scene. Anyone passing through Tokyo 24 March – 8 April can view an exhibition of Shouya’s work at Kamiya Art Gallery in Nihonbashi. See details below. This year’s 10-year Anniversary [...]
Niseko’s Marika Ohtani Yoga is hosting Cat Alip-Douglas and Phil Douglas from London’s award-winning Sangye Yoga Studio this week from 23 – 26 February. Classes will be held over four days from this Thursday: Thursday 23 February Open Class Where: Hirafu 188 Time: 6.15 – 7:30pm Cost: ¥2500 Friday 24 February Workshop Where: The Orchards [...]
HIRAFU has an exciting new addition to its retail offering with the recent relocation of Boot Solutions – Niseko’s only specialist custom bootfitting store. Owned and operated by Podiatrist and Master Bootfitter Ned Buckley, the new Nozomi Views store opened in December 2014 and offers custom ski and snowboard boot fitting and winter footwear. But [...]
KOHEI Nikahara learnt how to make cheese fondue in Germany and Switzerland, where he used to live as a student. His family has been running lodge & restaurant Grandpapa for 25 years, but only five years ago did they start serving cheese fondue after Kohei had returned from Europe with his recipes. He only uses Swiss cheese for Grandpapa’s fondue and also serves a variety of European meat dishes.
The 29-year old was born in Sapporo and loves Niseko for its powder snow. He took part in the German ski championships as a teenager and has appeared in several Japanese ski magazines. When Kohei is not too busy managing Grandpapa, he likes to take his guests to Annupuri’s peak and shows them the best spots to drop in. Grandpapa is open for dinner everyday. Tel: 0136 23 2244.
38-year old manga fan Shinichiro Satoh manages Soga, but it was his mother’s idea to open the spacious restaurant on route 66, just beside Niseko Village’s convenient store 7-Eleven, which she owns. The Satohs are locals and that’s why most of the dishes at Soga are authentic Hokkaido cuisine.
There is a huge selection of fresh sashimi, ramen and fried food. Yakiniku, several Korean dishes and Shabu-shabu (beef hot pot) round up the menu. Shinichiro is more than happy to help non-Japanese speakers with the food selection, because he went to high school in the US and speaks excellent English.
While waiting for your food, you can have a browse through Shinichiro’s impressive manga collection. There are several bookshelves in Soga and you’re allowed to take as many comic books as you want and read them at your table. Tel: 0134 (33)1310.
Ito Katsuya, originally from Tokyo, came to Niseko 10 years ago. He used to run a restaurant in Hirafu Lower Village until early 2010 when he found a location for his restaurant that he couldn’t pass up.
By the beginning of the summer he opened Houzuki Udon Café, which is situated at the base of Mt Yotei on the road leading to Lake Hangetsu.
Katsuya-san hand makes his udon every morning with Hokkaido wheat and water from Mt Yotei, and uses vegetables from nearby farms in his tempura.
Houzuki is open for lunch between 11.30am-5pm, or until the udon sells out. He is closed on Mondays, and sometimes on Tuesdays. TEL: 0136 21 7711.
Niseko-born Yuko Takai and her family opened Prativo, an italian-inspired restaurant in Niseko Village in April 2011. Prativo is located on the edge of their dairy farm next to Milk Kobo, a popular Niseko landmark that sells house-made yogurt and desserts.
Prativo means grassland in Italian, and in the summertime their land is covered in lush grass with a stunning view of Mt Yotei through the large windows in their restaurant. The dairy used at Prativo comes from their cows, and whenever possible they cook with local vegetables, meat, and seafood.
For lunch you have the choice of one meat or seafood main, and an all-you-can-eat buffet of salad, roasted veggies, dessert, fresh juice, coffee, and their famous drinking yogurt for ¥1500.
Lunch is from 11.30am to 2.15pm. Please call to confirm dinner hours and menu at TEL: 0136 55 8852.
IF you want to try one of the best yakitori in the area, you no longer need to go to Kutchan. In December 2011, Takeshi Nakayama moved his yakitori restaurant Saika to Hirafu’s lower village due to popular demand.
The secrets to Nakayama-san’s yakitori are a special salt blend that his yakitori “sensei” passed on to him, and using only fresh meat cut to order. Chef Nakayama also only advertises by word of mouth. He lets the taste of his yakitori do the advertising for him.
If you want to try Saika’s yakitori, make a reservation – it’s always busy. Open everyday from 6pm-11pm. Tel: 090 2692 5506.
SUSHI Riders is 28-year old Hitoshige Nishikawa’s first business, which he just opened in December. Originally from Osaka, he spent last season working in Annupuri thinking that a sushi delivery service was missing in the area.
Hitoshige has been working in the food industry for many years and makes sure that only the freshest Hokkaido seafood is used in his handmade sushi. He prepares the food in a friend’s kitchen in Izumikyio II and delivers all over Niseko.
Apart from a variety of affordable sushi rolls, he also makes grilled, fried and sautéed meat dishes as well as Tempura sets. For delivery call him on 0136 23 3771.