Visitors to Niseko can experience the absolute best of Japan’s famous wagyu beef at a cool new restaurant on the main street of Hirafu this season.

Momiji Japanese Restaurant and Sake Bar is sourcing A5-grade beef from nearby wagyu farming region Shiraoi, that can be experienced either as succulent teppan-grilled steak, or in a wholesome shabu shabu hot pot.

So what makes this wagyu so special? Japanese beef has a letter grade from A-F, and number grade 1-5: A5 being the highest possible score. Shiraoi yields beef at grades B to A, with levels 3-5 – so at Momiji Japanese Restaurant, you’re eating only the best of the best.

At Momiji Japanese Restaurant you can have your wagyu in two ways – either watch chef James fry up steaks on the teppan hot plate at the front of the restaurant, or take it thinly sliced in a steaming hot pot, shabu shabu style. We chose the hot pot to warm up on a cold night!

Momiji Japanese Restaurant and Sake Bar serves its shabu shabu in one of two broths (we chose a rich soy milk broth) and staff take you through the process: cook your ribbons of meat first, swishing gently in the broth for seven seconds, cooking the meat just enough to lose its pink colour. Then dip it in one of two sauces – James recommends the tangy Ponsu – and enjoy.

After delicious, perfectly balanced mouthfuls of wagyu heaven, next are the vegetables: tofu, three kinds of mushrooms, and a range of delectable greens go in the pot to simmer. Fish them out, dip and eat at leisure. We liked the soup so much we drank that to the last drop as well – the broth gets richer and more flavourful as food is cooked inside.

There is, of course, more on the menu at Momiji than just the wagyu. Chef Ikari-san, with experience working in kitchen at the famous Goshiki onsen, brings traditional Japanese dishes to the fore – Shojin Ryori (traditional temple-born vegetarian cuisine) and expertly sourced and served sashimi.

If you can’t choose between Izakaya style tapas, teppan, hot pot or sashimi there are course options that bring it all to your plate with stunning desserts to finish.

We did mention Sake Bar, right? Momiji Japanese Restaurant and Sake Bar also stocks an extensive list of sake varieties carefully sourced and paired for each flavour on the menu. Just ask the chefs what you’re looking for. As the bar counter stays open a little later than the kitchen, you’re welcome to stick around and finish off that bottle while you watch the snow and hubbub of main street flow past your window. Perfect!

Restaurant Hours: 5.30 pm – 10:30 pm daily (9:45 last order)
Sake Bar Hours: 5.30 pm – midnight

Phone:  (+81) 136-55-5989 during business hours
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