Guide to Eating in Niseko: Making the Most of Your Culinary Experience without reservations
If you’re headed to Niseko this winter and have heard you MUST book ahead if you want to experience some of the culinary magic of the Hokkaido region, fear not. In my nearly 20 years of spending time there in winter, I prefer to simply explore spontaneously. Have I missed out on the latest hotspots? Maybe but I do prefer less hype and more delicious quality. Take this as a brief guide for savour Niseko’s unique flavours without booking way ahead of time.
Exploring Without Reservations
Whether you’re up for wandering through the ski villages or taking a short drive, you can find some tasty fare wherever you go. Eating in Niseko without a reservation is entirely possible.
Izakayas are informal taverns serving up small, shareable dishes alongside drinks like beer, sake, and shochu. These great little spots make eating in Niseko without a reservation possible. On the Annupuri side, try Lodge 401 for dinner and Luckyfingers for lunch or dinner.
In the main village of Hirafu, there are some fun food trucks to try. You will find gyoza, tacos, egg waffles, pizza rolls, karage chicken, wagyu beef bowls, roasted potatoes and other interesting fare and unique beverages. There’s a food truck village too where you have more than a few choices in one location.
If you have a car, leave the busy areas and check out some local gems. One favourite is Okonomiyaki Ju near Annupuri. Pizza aficionados will be impressed with the Italian pizza oven at Del Sole. Sprout cafe in the town of Kutchan is a great spot for something yummy. White Birch cafe in Niseko town has excellent sandwiches and coffee. These are all good options for eating in Niseko without a reservation.
On the ski hill
When you’re out for a full day on the slopes, it’s a given you will be eating somewhere on the mountain or very nearby. We love the buffet lunch at Eclat in the Niseko Northern Resort in Annupuri. If you get a table near one of the big windows, you can watch the action on the hill while you try the huge variety of dishes on offer. If you’re just after a quick bite, stop in at the tiny Paradise Hut – their fries are one of a kind. King Bell Hut, at the main village in Hirafu, has ramen in addition to other fast foods. In Hanazono, the Edge Restaurant is a perfect meet and eat spot for a quick meal before heading back up the chairlift.
If you need to stop for a hot drink, find your nearest vending machine. The hot chocolate is perfectly sweet and the green tea is super fresh.
Wine, chocolate and bread
Sometimes all you need is wine, chocolate and bread. Cave de Bambou stocks lovely wines, local handmade artisan bean to bar chocolate and locally baked bread and pastries.
Cooking at home
The little markets and large grocery stores stock super fresh ingredients! You can’t go wrong here. Grab some essentials (you might need Google translate to help figure out what’s what) and cook at home. This year we made a tasty spaghetti with chicken meatballs, a yummy fried rice with strips of wagyu and teriyaki chicken with rice and the freshest broccoli I’ve ever had. It was quick, easy, delicious and budget friendly.
You can pick up ingredients at your nearest Seicomart, Lawsons, or Hirafu 188 in the main village. Head to Niseko town for A Mart, 7-11 or the View Plaza. You’ll have to travel to Kutchan for the larger shops like Lucky, MaxValu and Co-op.