It’s the powder season again! This year, the snow situation at Hakuba looks awesome as it has already started dumping since end November.
If you are considering Hakuba for a ski or snowboard trip, please visit my destination guide. Unlike Niseko where the restaurants and eateries are mostly concentrated around Hirafu, Hakuba has establishments scattered across the region and therefore your activities would depend on where you stay and your mode of transport there.
I generally found the standard of food at Hakuba higher than Niseko, and food prices were more affordable. Some quick tips on finding food:
- Our lunch breaks were always at the base camps of various ski resorts and the canteens there serve really delicious meals at 1000JPY!
- If you intend to ski the whole day, you could buy full-day passes that includes 1000JPY meal voucher for use at the base camp. Simply visit the ski resort’s website and download the coupon before you head down to the ticket counter to purchase your lift pass.
- There are a number of brunch cafes and dinner places at Hakuba. As we stayed near Echo-Land, a number of restaurants and cafes we visited were located there.
#1: Takahashi-ke – Ramen shop at Echo Land
Sounds cliche, but this is a small, understated wooden hut which sells delicious ramen and is run by a family. The menu is also very simple, just two options of ramen – soy sauce ramen or spicy Tan Tan noodles; and another two options for sides dishes – gyozas or ponzu chicken.
Sometimes, simple food is the most delicious and we couldn’t resist a bowl of piping hot ramen in the cold wintry weather.
#2: Zen Soba
Had to visit this soba restaurant because it appeared in so many recommended lists! It’s a traditional Japanese restaurant, with both tatami and Western seating. The soba noodles are handmade!
Because Zen is such a popular restaurant at Hakuba, try to go early or make a reservation in advance.
#3: Sounds Like Cafe – Echo Land
If you are into brunch and coffee, do check out the quaint Sounds Like Cafe, which opens at 8AM! It has good coffee and boasts a cozy ambiance.
Sounds Like Cafe: 399-9301 Nagano-ken, Kitaazumi-gun, Hakuba-mura, Hokujō, 3020−504
#4: Penguin Cafe – Echo Land
Another breakfast place in Hakuba which opens at 9AM. We were into their delicious tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet) burger and spam sandwich!
#5: Hie Izakaya
A popular izakaya on Echo Land, this small establishment requires advance booking or you will have wait for a couple of hours for a table at dinner. Despite it’s small seating area, Hie offers a wide menu. All in all, it is indeed a good place to relax after a long day on the slopes with delicious and authentic Japanese food and a cozy atmosphere.
If you are craving for sushi at Hakuba, you need to visit Kikyo-Ya! It is one of the highly recommended restaurants at Hakuba for its fresh sashimi. If you are visiting Kikyo-Ya for dinner, it is advisable to make reservations prior.
Emu was a recommendation from my ski instructor and the cook-your-own okonomiyaki restaurant was a fun night out for us! Emu provided generous okonomiyaki mix, making it quite a fun process to cook our own meal. Additionally, they serve a mean gigantic bowl of ramen!
Special mention: DIY Pizza at Tea Lounge Lyrical, Hotel Green Plaza (Cortina Ski Resort)
If you have a chance to do your ski runs at Cortina, do check out the value-for-money DIY Pizza at Tea Lounge Lyrical of Hotel Green Plaza – the ski-in-ski-out hotel to Cortina.
You pay according to the size of the pizza base, and you can put as much ingredients as you like on the pizza without additional cost. It’s great for those who would like to have a hearty and fuss-free meal before heading back to the slopes. We got the full-day ski package which included meal voucher and free onsen entry, stretching our dollars on our day out to Cortina.
Hotel Green Plaza, Cortina: 399-9422 Nagano-ken, Kitaazumi-gun, Otari-mura, 千国乙12860−1