If there is something else that Niseko is known for other than their powder-soft snow, it’s their community that consists of people from all walks of life from around the world. This guarantees that in every corner you will find a little piece of their culture that they’ve left behind. You can definitely expect nothing less than a wide selection of culinary delights that will invigorate your taste buds! Below are some of The Luxe Nomad’s top picks that you should surely stop by during your next trip to Niseko. All of which can be found in the first edition of the WanderLuxe print magazine, located in every accommodation managed by The Luxe Nomad in the Hokkaido region.
Click each name to find the Google Map link.
Perfect for relaxed gatherings with friends
Opened in 2019, the sister restaurant to Kamimura has a more laid-back vibe while staying true to its ingredient-focused cooking philosophy. Proffering a family-style dining format, the à la carte menu offers genre-defying dishes including sushi, pâté as well as
meats cooked in charcoal ovens.
Perfect for a traditional kaiseki experience
Recommended by the Michelin Guide, this 16-seat restaurant in a mountain cabin is one of the most coveted bookings in Niseko. Guests are invited in by host Midori Rai, exquisitely dressed in a kimono. Her husband Tatsuru-san, also in traditional Japanese
garb, prepares the noodle dough for the soba, cutting it by hand in view of the lucky diners. They serve the same two-hour soba kaiseki course menu at lunch and dinner – all you need to do is score a seat.
Perfect for sampling a Japanese winter favourite
Eat like a local at Ebisutei, a snug izakaya located just down the hill from the Hirafu intersection. It’s one of the few restaurants in town to serve oden, a tasty nabe with boiled eggs, daikon and fishcakes in a light, soy-flavoured dashi broth. Take your pick from their menu packed with sashimi, salads, grilled fish, Hokkaido-style fried chicken and more. Before you’ve had your fill, save space for the deep-fried oysters on the half shell, which goes well with draught Yebisu beer.
Perfect for an authentic izakaya experience
Nestled on Hirafuzaka in the Niseko-Hirafu ski resort, Bang Bang showcases top-quality Hokkaido produce. Offerings include yakitori grilled using Bincho charcoal plus seasonal seafood favourites including king crab, grilled yellowtail collar, as well as the renowned Akkeshi Kakiemon oysters. With seating limited to approximately 35 guests, reservations are recommended to savour the cosy atmosphere and delicious dishes.
Perfect for a rustic-luxe meal in a chic setting
The traditional barn exterior clues you in that ingredients take centre stage here. This stylish hotspot aims to showcase the purity of Hokkaido’s finest ingredients – from seafood to Wagyu beef and seasonal produce sourced locally – which is then transformed by chefs employing meticulous French cooking techniques. With mood lighting and a lofty ceiling, The Barn by Odin is an elegant destination for sophisticated post-ski drinks and dinner.
Perfect for a Michelin-starred splurge
Opened in 2007, Kamimura was Niseko’s first headline restaurant and continues to live up to the hype. Chef Yuichi Kamimura’s colourful, creative degustation menus blend the finest local produce from land and sea in a style best described as “Hokkaido French”. When Michelin inspectors first visited, they gave Kamimura Niseko’s first star, which the chef has retained ever since.
Perfect for serious carnivores
Black Wood Grill marries Japanese and French techniques in the primal art of cooking meat with fire, salt and smoke. This 40-seat restaurant has a relaxed, family-friendly ambience and lets the natural flavours of Hokkaido’s top-notch produce shine. We strongly recommend the course dinner, which combines the best Hokkaido ingredients with the fine skills of the French-trained chefs. If you’re craving something simpler, their casual lunch offerings also hit the spot.
Perfect for a thick, spicy warm-up
Load up during a day on the slopes with Tsubara Tsubara’s famous soup curry, a Hokkaido specialty. Choose between the regular or coconut base, and try specials like the tsumire meatball soup curries. Thick and smooth with a kick (spice levels range from 1 to 20), they will hit the spot on a cold winter day. The mom and- pop-style restaurant’s pleasant atmosphere and friendly service are also a plus.
Perfect for a meat-centric feast
A Niseko fixture since it opened in 1989 and recently endorsed by the Michelin Guide, Niseko Loft Club is a Japanese barbecue hotspot specialising in Genghis Khan (“Jingisukan” in Japanese, and no relation to the Mongol leader). Top-quality lamb, beef and deer make up their signature Genghis Khan dish, but you can also savour the meat in fresh cuts. Wash it down with a Kirin beer, ume-shu or your choice of wine – they have a sufficient selection of drinks to keep you happy all night long.
Perfect for hardcore seafood lovers
Kato-san, a seasoned crab specialist with over 55 years of expertise, extends his successful crab market and restaurant legacy to Niseko’s Grand Hirafu with this namesake restaurant. Together with chef JJ – who has 45 years of experience, notably in the renowned seafood destination of Kasumi – they embrace Niseko’s abundant fresh seafood in seasonal set courses.
Perfect for a lingering dinner
Loosen your belts at this Chinese-style hot pot restaurant. Ryunabe serves up the most flavourful selection of homemade nabe to go with favourites like wagyu beef and Spanish Iberico pork. Regulars order the Chinese traditional dried fish maw not only for its mild umami flavour but its so-called age-defying properties and nutritional benefits.
Perfect for world-class yakitori
It’s well worth taking a trip to Kutchan for succulent yakitori prepared by the owner, Akihiro Matsuo himself. Since Anthony Bourdain visited Yakitori Torimatsu, the family-owned joint has welcomed fans from all over the world though it has been a destination for locals for nearly four decades. The secret? They use only fresh ingredients – never frozen – for their yakitori. While crowd favourites like negima and tsukune are bestsellers, they also serve horse tongue and raw chicken for the adventurous diner.
Known as the “Fridge Door Bar”, Bar Gyu+ is a must in winter – if you can find its snow-encased entrance. Hokkaido’s oldest cocktail bar has even been featured on Bloomberg’s list of the best après-ski bars on earth. It might be cold outside, but inside has all the warmth and cosiness of a log cabin, particularly after you’ve sampled a few of the many Japanese whiskies on offer. Regulars keep coming back as the bartenders change up the menu every season.
Located one street from Hirafu Village’s main restaurant strip, this American-style clubhouse draws in a young crowd with its fusion of Texan and Hokkaido flavours. Come for the eight-hour, coffee-rubbed, maple-smoked beef brisket, the apple and sakebrined fried chicken, and the Hokkaido pork ribs with hot BBQ peaches. After 10pm Freddies transforms into a Western saloon, with lively entertainment that usually leads to dancing on the tables.
Think Hong Kong’s iconic Dragon-i nightclub in the heart of Hirafu. The Powder Room welcomes an international crowd of clubbing enthusiasts with its electric atmosphere, contemporary Japaneseinspired menu and extensive selection of sake, wine, champagne and whiskey. Dress to impress – this is the place to see and be seen in Niseko. Don’t miss the must-try caviar shots for the ultimate extravagance on a glamorous night out.
Don’t let the charming alpine log cabin look fool you. Wild Bill’s lives up to its name as Niseko locals and visitors come for live music, free pool and a mood that gets increasingly raucous as the hours go by. Sip on locally brewed draft beer and cocktails while nibbling on their Latin-inspired dishes. Whatever you choose, a night of partying is definitely on the menu.