JYU is the place to go if you are looking for okonomiyaki prepared the traditional Osaka way in a warm, cozyand remote setting. Located at the T junction of Routes 66 and 343 between Annupuri and Higashiyama, it is well worth the 15 minute drive from Hirafu Village to get there.
If you don’t know what okonomiyaki is, you have to try it. It is one of the tastiest dishes in Japanese cuisine. The name is derived from the word okonomi, which means “what you like”, and yaki, which means “to cook” or “to fry”. The best explanation for what this dish is like is that it is a savory pancake made with cabbage,
grated yam, flour, and egg as a base, and pretty much anything or whatever you would like to put in it. Beef, squid, pork, scallops, mochi (Japanese sticky rice pounded and shaped), kimchi, octopus, pork, natto (fermented soy beans), or cheese. You name it! And you can put it in.
As I enter Jyu, I am warmly welcomed by the owners Tetsuo and Akiko Enoue. They are from Osaka, where okonomiyaki is said to have originated from, but after a visit to Niseko in 1995 they couldn’t stay away from the Hokkaido snow. They would return twice a year, every year, for a quick holiday to snowboard, but would always have to return to their restaurant business back home. Finally in 2001 they moved to Hokkaido, and
decided to try opening an Osakastyle okonomiyaki restaurant in Niseko. Jyu opened in 2002, and it has been a success ever since.
I order a seafood okonomiyaki, and to Mr. Enoue’s insistence he adds a kimchi negiyaki as well to my order. Where okonomiyaki’s main ingredients are cabbage, Worcester sauce, bonito flakes, and Japanese mayonnaise, negiyaki is made with spring onions, soy sauce, tempura bits, and lemon. I watch as Tetsuo and Akiko skillfully prepare my meal on their hotplate, and when it is ready they bring it out to my own personal hotplate built into my table.
Okonomiyaki has a strong flavour, and is quite filling, where as negiyaki is quite a bit lighter in flavour and density and is perfect for those with a smaller appetite. Together they complement each other nicely as I alternate from bite to bite, and even my last piece is the perfect temperature and delicious thanks to the hotplate. For those of you with really big appetites, especially after a long day on the mountain, I highly recommend their modanyaki, which is okonomiyaki, with a layer of yakisoba (fried noodles) inside!
If you have a big group, Jyu has a comfy tatami room that can fit up to 18 people, and a dining room that
can fit up to 15 people, as well as a counter area.
Reservations are recommended at night because it gets very busy.
Location: 263 Soga, Niseko
Open: 4.30pm – 9pm Weekdays,
11.30am – 9pm Weekends and
Public HolidaysThey are closed
Wednesday and every 3rd
Tel: 0136 44 2336