This is an inquisitive little fox we encountered on the Hanazono Golf Course in October
Whilst we still love our favourite restaurants in the Niseko area, we are always keen to try out new ones.
One that has just opened in Kutchan is Japanese Cuisine Sato. Tel: 0136 220263.
I ate here 2 weeks ago and it was delicious. Primarily a sushi restaurant but does also do other Japanese specialities such as Tempura.
This restaurant can be found in the street parallel to the main restaurant street in Kutchan, one back toward route 5 and on the corner on the left if you are walking down that street toward Kutchan’s main street leading down to the train station.
For all of you Sydney Golf “Tragics” who believe that only your own club has the best course in the world, get over to Japan, especially Niseko for some golf.
I played with my great friend Mary there a few weeks ago, just as the leaves on the trees were changing and it was absolutely stunning!
We did only play at Hanazono but there are a mass of courses in the area.
I am only a beginner, and found the course not only challenging, but the scenery absolutely breath taking, especially on the outer 9 holes.
If you are after a short day trip which includes lunch at the best and most well known Oyster/seafood restaurant in the area, you must drive over to Kaki-goya which is about a 10 minute drive south of Iwanai toward Suttsu.
The oysters were to die for. We had between 2 of us for about 3,000 JPY 3 very large oysters, 3 large scallops, 3 large prawns and a section of snow crab with 4 legs attached. This was all cooked in front of us on an iron BBQ plate. It was absolutely delicious and a must for visitors to Niseko both summer and winter.
Above is just a “taste” of Japanese Cuisine Sato!
Last Sunday 28th August we joined the owners of Fubuki 2, Billy and Eva Fung at the Porche Carrera Cup out at Sydney Motor Park.
Billy competes with his Porche all over Asia and Oceania through out the year.
There were races over both Saturday and Sunday and Billy placed very well amongst some very experienced drivers.
Next weekend they are off to Singapore where he will again be competing….Good Luck from your Fubuki friends.
If you like Whisky you must try the local drop. It is called Nikka Whisky from the Yoichi Distillery which is about a 45 minute drive toward Otaru from Niseko. One of the cheapest bottles and our favourite is the “Nikka Whisky From The Barrel” pictured above. It has a mellow sweetness to it and retails in the local Kutchan supermarkets for 1,900-2,600 JPY a bottle.
The founder of the Yoichi Distillery was Masataka Taketsuru who travelled to Scotland where he studied whisky making at Glasgow University. In 1920 he returned with his young Scottish wife and started making the first Japanese Whisky. There is a lovely story about Masataka, The founder of Japanese Whisky, on the distillery’s website: www.nikka.com/eng
At the distillery there are guided tours leaving every 30 mins only in Japanese though and you can sample 3 different whiskies – The above pictured whisky blended from multiple types of malt and grain, A blended pure malt and A Coffey Grain Whiskey.
The Distillery is open all year round from 9am-4:30pm and the telephone number for your cars sat nav is: 0135 233131
The cherry blossoms are all bursting in and around Niseko at the moment so get there ASAP or you will miss seeing them.
Such a beautiful time of year in Hokkaido with everything budding from trees in the mountains to all of the spring bulbs, the farmers fields filled with delicious vegetables and the vivid blue skies.
Lake Shikotsuko is a one and a quarter hour drive from Niseko. If you take the bus from New Chitose Airport to Niseko you will drive right past this lake.
It has loads of onsen hotels, some very basic and some very smart places to stay but still fairly reasonable price wise.
We stayed a night at Lake Shikotsuko Daiichi Hotel Suizantei. It is a beautiful Japanese Onsen Hotel. The rooms were large and the buffet dinner and breakfast were delicious.
Lake Shikotsuko also hosts its own Ice Festival in February in line with the Sapporo Ice Festival. Much smaller in scale buy equally beautiful.
The most stunning new Ryokan Hotel has opened recently over near Hanazono and the Weiss Hotel.
It is called Zaborin.
I was lucky enough to spend a night there during February 2016 and it has to be one of the most memorable Japanese experiences I have had to date.
Zaborin is a fine example of Contemporary Japanese architecture and has interiors that compliment the peace and harmony of the surrounding nature.
It has only 15 rooms all with their own private indoor and outdoor onsen-private bath. Each room is individually named and ours was called FUBUKI of all things.
In the room rate, breakfast and dinner is included. It does not come cheap however the food was exceptional and the interiors were stunning..
Famous Hokkaido Chef Yoshihiro Seno who has worked in New York and Tokyo has returned to his roots and is all about using the locally grown produce and getting the best out of it all. His style is a northern version of Kaiseki which is more tactile and natural than the Kyoto Kaiseki style.
Dinner was an assault of visual excellence and taste.
Breakfast was much the same
If you are after a special night either before or after a stay at Fubuki, make sure you book a night at Zaborin.
Whilst Niseko and Kutchan has an enormous amount of wonderful restaurants, a Beak Family Favourite is Rakuichi over at Annupuri.
Rakuichi, an intimate 12 seat soba restaurant was reviewed by Anthony Bourdain several years ago and with good reason. Tatsuru Rai makes the finest soba noodles in Hokkaido if not Japan. So delicious that he and his lovely wife Midori were invited to the 2014 MAP Symposium 2014 in Copenhagen to demonstrate their craft.
Lunch time is a traditional soba noodle meal and at dinner time Midori and Tatsuru do an 8 course degustation menu with local seasonal ingredients. Make sure you book though for dinner and well ahead! PH: 0136 583170