Food & Nightlife
Niseko is renowned for the fabulous nightlife and the amazing choice of restaurants. It’s the best of any ski resort in Japan, so we've given Niseko “best skiing in Japan
” awards for the après, restaurants and nightlife!
Annupuri and Niseko Village (Higashiyama) have restaurants and bars, yet the Hirafu village is the heartbeat of Niseko, with most dining and nightlife options centred around this village.
Many bars and restaurants don’t accept credit cards so make sure you’re cashed up with yen.
There are so many great eating spots in Niseko, prices are cheap by Western comparison, and the variety of cuisine will be a highlight of your trip.
You’ll need to make reservations for dinner at many of the mainstream restaurants. As a general rule the further you venture from the main intersection, the more chance you’ll have of getting in for dinner without a reservation.
The highlight of Niseko dining is at The Barn
in Momiji - Zaka St in the lower village. As you’d expect from the name, the restaurant is shaped like a barn. It’s a gorgeous building and the huge glass frontage makes The Barn
the perfect place to sit and watch the snow fall (or dump!). The Barn has chic décor and beautiful ambience, and the mezzanine level in particular is rather special. Dinner is a set menu of three courses with a few gourmet options for each course. The menu is French inspired with mouth watering dishes such as beef cheeks and duck confit, and the desserts are to die for. The wine list is impressive and includes wines from the owner’s vineyards in Burgundy France as well as other international wines. Considering that this is such a delightful dining experience, the prices are very reasonable.
Here are a few of our favourites for Japanese cuisine.
is a good little Japanese dining experience. As is typical of an izakaya, Raku has lots of little snacks, sashimi, sukiyaki and other treats, and thankfully they have table seating so you don’t need to drag your aching body onto the floor. Raku is located in Sasayaki Ave in the upper village. They accept credit cards.
is another good izakaya on the corner at the traffic lights. You’ll need to book for dinner.
Create a big mess at Kabuki 1
in Shirakaba-Zaka Street in the lower village. Here you can grill meat, vegies or cook your own okonomiyaki (Japanese savoury pancake). Or much less messy is Kabuki 2
next door in the yurt. They have the same food but they cook it for you.
is a little izakaya on Koen Ave in the upper village, sort of hidden away as there are no other buildings surrounding this little gem. Whilst they have an English menu and the staff speak a little Engrish, this authentic little restaurant seems to be Niseko dining as it used to be back in the good old days.
And if you need a break from Japanese food or you don’t want to be pinned down to the commitment of a dinner reservation, wander down past Lawson’s to the Taj Mahal
– no secret as to the type of cuisine offered here!
Niseko Village Restaurants (Higashiyama)
There are many restaurants to choose from in the Niseko Village area. Most of these are located at the Hilton hotel, and there are also a few restaurants at the Green Leaf Hotel. For a good dose of Hokkaido seafood, check out the Crab Shack next to the Ski Center (the former Niseko Higashiyama gondola station).
The Black Diamond Lodge Restaurant and Bar is a melting pot for hard-core skiers and boarders from all around the globe. The good value-for-money food seems to be a reflection of the clientele with an eclectic mix of cuisine from Japan, Canada, Mexico and Europe.
Other Niskeo Restaurants
There’s a large variety of restaurants in the towns of Kutchan and Niseko which are not far from the Niseko ski villages. Meals tend to be cheaper and you’ll have a higher likelihood of finding a little of the “real” Japan.
Niseko après ski (ie late afternoon or early evening drinks) is really good by Japanese standards, but pretty quiet compared to Austria or Whistler. There’s the Après Bar next to the King No. 1 chairlift specifically catering to early drinkers, but unfortunately our favourite the A-frame Boyo-So has been bulldozed to make way for progress!
Niseko Hirafu Bars and Nightlife
Niseko gets the Powderhounds awards for the best nightlife in Japan for good reason. The Niseko nightlife is famous, and Hirafu in particular is very colourful and has a large range of bars to choose from. From wine bars and authentic Japanese izakayas for a quiet beer, to bars that absolutely rock, there’s something for everyone. Thankfully the majority of the pensions and other lodges have lifted their evening curfews so you can party on as long you like. Of course take care when rolling home. If you’re really likely to over do it with the revelling, perhaps consider wearing your avalanche beacon out?!
Many of our favourite old rustic bars have been bulldozed to make way for progress, but plenty of new funky Niseko bars have popped up in their place.
Wild Bill’s is a well known Niseko pub that frequently goes off and has a reputation for happy endings. At the opposite end of the spectrum, head to The Barn for a sophisticated drink at the mezzanine bar. The owner Brett is an institution of Niseko, partly from his old Wild Bill’s days, and he apparently still has a heavy hand when pouring the drinks.
Another good bar is the popular Jam Café Bar. This bar has a funky vibe and good music.
And what would a big ski resort be without an “Ice Bar
”? It can be a small challenge to find the ice bar/s. Considering the temporary nature of these structures, the ice bars tend to move around from year to year. In 2011 the “original” ice bar was located in the upper reaches of the main street near the Welcome Center, whilst another one popped up opposite the Mihirashi apartments. This upscale ice bar had changing coloured lights and you could buy a drink in a glass made of ice that they let you keep as a souvenir – probably not the type of souvenir that would make it home in the suitcase?! The ice bars are great for a visit for the novelty factor, but generally one drink is enough before you get too cold.
Another favourite is the Fridge Door bar (Gyu) in the lower village (Yotei-Zaka St) where you literally enter the bar through a tiny coke labelled fridge door. This place always seems to be happening.
Other Niseko Nightlife
In Niseko Village (Higashiyama) there are a few upscale bars at the Hilton, whilst the Black Diamond Lodge Restaurant Bar has a pumped up atmosphere where powderhounds can trade their powder stories of the day. Lots of bevies, music, ski and snowboard movies, pool, and hot Japanese chicks behind the bar - all the necessary ingredients required for a good time!
There’s not much nightlife in An’nupuri or Hanazono, so stay there if you’re looking for peace and quiet.
Restaurant Listings Niseko
||The Barn - French Cuisine
French Cuisine in a relaxed bistro style setting. Combining the best French ingredients with fresh local Hokkaido produce. Also a great list of top French wines.