Heading into the new season, the first Post Covid, the dining landscape will be quite different with the departure or relocation of several popular restaurants from Niseko Hirafu, and the launch of quite a few new ones as well.
On balance there are probably just as many restaurants now as there were pre-Covid so concerns of a shortage of eating options this season may not eventuate. However the common theme is that restaurants can't get enough staff, reflecting the critical shortage in hospitality world wide, so you may face some inevitable service delays.
The Niseko Promotion Board have published a list of "Where to eat" this season as well as opening details, contact numbers - it's a good start: etc/https://nisekotourism.com/news/where-to-eat-this-november-december/
Anyway, here are my notes on the Niseko Hirafu dining scene, not comprehensive, and I will endeavor to update it as more information comes to hand. I haven't included bars but the good news is that all the favs are still around.
What's gone from Niseko Hirafu NISEKO PIZZA has relocated to Kutchan on Route 5 and Cezar is there still serving 'Hannibal Lector' pizzas. BOMBAY SIZZLERS won't be open at least for this season, but Restaurant Man Jimmy has opened up in a fabulous new space in Kyobashi, central Tokyo. Shin has now retired from AN DINING and is focusing on his new Ginger Beer (HAKKO GINGER). SESSA YAKINIKO has also departed Niseko. And EZO SEAFOODS reopens as a Seafood & Sushi Market + Bottle Shop. Open daily from 4pm to 8pm, just pop in and pick up trays of sushi and sashimi and cooked favorites as well as seafood products for cooking at home.
Who is back?The popular restaurants that are still here and that will be open this season are ABUCHA, KAMIMURA, KITCHEN, THE BARN, EBISUTEI, KOHARUYA, RYUNABE, BANG BANG, FUJI ZUSHI, AN DINING, THE ALPINIST, MUSU, KOGETSU, VBG, LAVA LOUNGE PIZZA, WILD BILLS, NEW YUMMYS, SAKURA, KUMO (Skye) TAMASHI, STEAK ROSSO ROSSO, REN (behind NAC), HAKU STEAK and many more. For all day dining GREEN FARM CAFE & TEMPORADA. SOMOZA and THE PARK HYATT CHINA KITCHEN are outside of Niseko Hirafu but feature firmly on the Niseko dining circuit and will be open.
What's new? Most are located in the new condo developments - SANSUI, SETSU and INTUITION.
SANSUI is a plush new condo on Hirafu zaka (below the Alpen). There will be two restaurants including LUPICIA and SUSHI SHIN, famous and exceptional local businesses that have moved into Niseko Hirafu. My prediction for what it's worth is that LUPICIA will be the 'go to' restaurant this season. Why? Because whatever Lupicia does it does with flair and excellence.
INTUITION Condos, in front of Sunsports Land, will be home to NANIWATEI, a highly-regarded Japanese Seafood and Wagyu restaurant that was formerly operated outside of Niseko Hirafu. From the 343 intersection, walk 200m (in direction of Higashiyama). It is on the ground floor in the 5-story Intuition building on the left hand side of the street.
SETSU is another condo development (massive) opposite Lawson on 343. It will be quite a dining hub with:
-AFFURI, a trendy noodle joint,
-Edomae sushi masters SUSHI KATO, -- MELI MELO a restaurant that is talking about Michelin Stars and "culinary collaborations."
-ARAKI TEMPURA is also a highly reputed tempura restaurant with Michelin star/s to boot.
The funky new QFOX is located right down in the lower village just around the next block down from EBISUTEI. There is an inviting bar at street level with rock album covers inside e.g. The Beatles, Elton John, Paul McCartney; and a Chinese hotpot restaurant in the back. It can only be good.
NISEKO EATS debuts with a food delivery service offering Vietnamese and Indian for takeout, as well as sumptuous charcuterie trays.
A restaurant on Momiji St (opposite Ezo Seafoods) named MAME NISEKO is due to open in CNY. Will update as details come to hand.
That's it for the moment. Hope this has been useful. See you in Niseko soon!