Manager Matsura Shougo (pictured) and owner Outa Mitsuaki are good friends who met in Niseko about 11 years ago. Matsu was born in Tomamu – near the famous ski resort of the same name and moved to Furano when he was 18, before making the move to Niseko. A few years ago they decided to open Mina Mina as a place to hang out and spend time with friends in a happy environment. The name is actually a play on words – in Japanese Mina means ‘everyone’ and in the language of Hokkaido’s indigenous Ainu people it means smile. Drop into this popular Izakaya on any night and there’s a good chance everyone will be smiling. Their osusume (recommended dishes) are their gobo (plant root) chips which present as extra long potato chips, and their jyajya-men – Asian noodles topped with spicy minced pork and egg. Powderlife’s tip: try the Karaage – Japanese style fried chicken – a big improvement on the western style.