Niseko is a haven for those who love snow sports in winter and hiking come summer, and while there are four parts of the region to pick from when it comes to organising your visit – Niseko Annupuri, Niseko Village, Niseko Hanazono and Niseko Grand Hirafu – a recent trip to this beautiful part of Japan saw us based in the latter part of town.
Most visitors to Niseko might have their sights set on finding the best spring powder or the most scenic autumn running trails, but luckily for you our eyes are glued on where to head for the best foodie fix when all that exercise is done. A few days hopping around Grand Hirafu gave us plenty of opportunity to taste-test our way around, so read on for where you should head to get the best chow in town.
Dimly lit with an exceptional alt-pop soundtrack (download Shazam and get ready to use it), Musu is the place to go for bite-sized tapas and chic cocktails. Just off the main Grand Hirafu intersection, this first-floor space is all filament lightbulbs, chalkboard menus and bottle-flinging bartenders. Prices are on the higher side for the area, but in return you’ll get attentive service and a tasty selection of impeccably-poured drinks and homemade dishes. We couldn’t stop ordering the yuzu negroni and spicy prawns.
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Not fussed about metal cutlery, soft lighting and comfortable seating? If you’re all about hearty, warming Asian fare then make Fujisushi your lunch go-to. You’ll probably have to queue, and you’ll definitely have to dodge an army of folk set for adventures in the great outdoors but, trust us, the gyoza and rice with tempura shrimp, vegetables and scrambled egg is the best comfort food you can imagine. Wash it down with local beer or sake. And then go back the next day to order the same again.
Granted, from the outside, this family-run restaurant looks a little suspect. But descend into the basement and get ready to find your new favourite eatery. On your own? We say grab a seat at the bar where the friendly staff are ready and waiting to have a chat. There’s only one thing you should order here, and that is, of course, pizza. Crispy crusts, the freshest mozzarella and two size options make these wood-fired babies irresistible. What’s more, the wine list is great value and has a healthy selection of Italian bottles that are worth mulling over.
This beautiful glass-fronted restaurant is a stunning choice for a relaxed yet elegant dining experience. With a mezzanine level and a ground-floor space, the atmosphere is friendly and intimate yet sophisticated, so perfect for couples or small groups looking for a little more luxury. Seafood here is next level, so order oysters if you can, otherwise mussels come a close second for that crisp, fresh taste of the sea. A bottle of wine from the neat list will make a splendid sidekick to your meal in this special space.
Whether you’ve been up the neighbouring peaks or not, sometimes the only thing that will satisfy you is a burger. And Grand Hirafu’s Bigfoot Lodge is the only place to go and get one. Now, be warned, portions are generous and sides are moreish, so only the hungriest diners should stop by. This eating spot is big on attitude and low on pretension so check your ego at the door and get ready to make friends. We like that you can head fireside in the colder months, or go up to the pool table and dining nooks on the first floor in summer, just make sure to grab a menu and get ordering one of the tastiest wagyu burgers you’ll ever get your hands on.
A small and unassuming eatery that welcomes reservations, Rin is a cosy, casual Japanese izakaya that’s good for groups of all sizes. Whether you have the pork skewers, seared salmon, baked cheese or something else entirely, the concise menu is bound to throw up a new favourite or three. A seat at the bar is a great option, but there’s no such thing as a bad table at this small spot. The service here is familiar and the sake flowing. Be warned, it gets busy so best to book ahead.
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