TWO Mongolian yurts, a couple of new restaurants and the Niseko Food Market have created a bustling international food, restaurant and bar district in Hirafu.
Up until this season, the street, which is home to the new venues (opposite Seicomart and running down alongside the big yellow building Australia House), was all apartments, houses and car parking.
Long-time Hirafu business owner Scott Walker is behind the yurts (one housing Bhozan Nepalese Restaurant and one the all new Samurai Bar) and one of the restaurants, Kabuki Okonomiyaki, Hirafu’s first dedicated okonomiyaki restaurant.
The other restaurant is the relocated Niseko Genghis Kahn Lamb Barbecue restaurant that was just above the traffic lights on the main hill leading to the ski slopes until last year.
Scott says he was inspired by the original Gentem Café Yurt Restaurant just outside Hirafu Village in St Moritz.
“I saw how fantastic the Gentem Café was – the space was amazing, the feeling overcomes you, it’s such a nice place to relax. So I thought it would be great to have some in the village,” Scott says.
Bohzan is run by Scott’s Nepalese staff who serve up authentic Nepalese curries, while the Samurai Bar is a relaxing ¥500 bar complete with open fire and samurai armour on display.
Kabuki is make-it-yourself okonomiyaki, served on a teppanyaki grill in front of your table. Genghis Kahn is a Hokkaido-specialty that involves grilling strips of lamb on a small coal-heated grill at your own table.