Ezo Seafoods Fresh Season Wrap up 2023/4

Ezo Seafoods Fresh Season Wrap up 2023/4

2024 年 Mar 12 日James Gallagher

This week, Ezo Seafoods Fresh closed its doors after a successful 3-month season. Keiko and I would like to thank all of our customers, both new and returning, for your great support. We hope that you loved the seafood and sushi and that we met your expectations for the freshest seafood in Hokkaido. A special thank you also to our dedicated staff whose hard work and enthusiasm were instrumental in making this season fun and rewarding. 


Welcoming guests from around the globe

We continue to be amazed at the diversity of guests visiting Niseko. Niseko's reputation as a predominantly Australian hangout is now well and truly outdated. 'Traditional' markets of Singapore, Hong Kong remain strong but the sampling of pictures below gives a glimpse of the real trends in Niseko. Nightly, our customers hailed from various parts of America, Thailand, and the Philippines, amongst other countries. Making these connections with guests from the simple "where are you from?" is one of the joys of the hospitality business in a tourist town.



Seasonal work is hard work

Three months doesn’t sound like much. And posing for selfies with glamourous customers doesn't look too hard. But the work days are long and demanding. The daily routine, which starts at 4am most days, must be maintained at all costs to keep the ship sailing smoothly. If everything went smoothly it would be a consolation, but inevitable issues crop up to test one's patience and disrupt the routine. This season the icy road conditions and traffic were a particular source of grievance. On the other hand the early starts give one a chance to take in the breathtaking beauty of Hokkaido winter mornings.

(Traffic Image courtesy of Chad Clark @seaandsummitmedia)


A Season of Progress and Learning

This was our second season in the new takeout format. One of my objectives was to increase the value of the various products. To these ends, I sought guidance from two sushi masters in the technique of 'akazu shari' or red vinegar flavored rice, a more full flavored luxurious style that is common in the high-end counter sushi restaurants of Tokyo. Although it demanded more time and work (and cost), requiring the daily blending of two types of red vinegar, it was a sacrifice I was pleased to make. While I didn’t get specific feedback on the ‘akazu’ flavoring I took encouragement from several positive reviews and posts on our sushi. e.g.

"Such amazing sushi for takeaway and
the presentation is unreal. Everything
is super fresh and worth the price.
Definitely order in advance so you
don't miss out on trying their delicious




Expanding fish choices for Sushi

I also introduced several new fish to our sushi offering including 'Sawara' (Pacific Makeral), 'Kinmedai' (Redfish), 'Shimaaji' (Striped Jack), 'Fugu' (Pufferfish) and 'Hirame' (flatfish). We used 'Sawara' as a replacement for the more common Kingfish. We smoked the Sawara and seared the skin producing a wonderful smokey flavor and texture. 


"Chirashizushi" an exciting new direction

In addition to improving the value for customers, we also introduced several new products. Following requests from customers, this season we also prepared “Chirashizushi” and “Makimono roll” boxes. After we posted photos of the Chirashizushi platters on social media, we immediately received requests from guests for different types of Chirashizushi platters. It was exciting to be pulled into new directions. 


Sayonara "Geo" at the Fridge

Ezo was also invited to cater for several events at the famous local bar “Gyu+” aka “The Fridge Door.” One such event was held by the family and friends of the late George Mueller ("Geo"), one of our beloved customers from the Oyster Bar who passed away in 2020. When I heard Geo had passed away I put aside a bottle of his favorite wine, a 2015 Chablis. The event at Gyu+ — another of Geo's beloved spots in Niseko — was the perfect occasion to uncork the bottle and toast George.


The future of Ezo Seafoods

Anyway what a relief to make it to the end of the season, our 14th in Niseko. As we consider the future of Ezo Seafoods, and our ability to remain fully engaged in the business, we are encouraged that the majority of our staff have committed to return next season. Furthermore one couple who have a combined 10 season experience with us in Niseko, have expressed interest in eventually taking over the business. We are delighted to initiate discussions and develop a program for this transition.

Keiko and I are now ready for some downtime before opening up our summer restaurant Ezo Seafoods Summer on Japan’s Izu Peninsula. We don’t know how many more years we will continue to operate in Izu so if you have considered a visit to this beautiful part of Japan, I recommend you do it this year!

Thanks again to our customers and staff for their support and enthusiasm for Ezo Seafoods. We look forward to seeing you next season!

Finally, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

Warm regards,


James Gallagher/Keiko Takaoka

Ezo Seafoods Fresh


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