Located three hours west of Tokyo by bullet train, the Hakuba Valley boasts some of the best skiing in all of Asia. The valley hosted the 1998 Nagano Olympics and will host the Free Ride World Tour this year for a third straight year. While most Hakuba visitors travel to the Valley for the snow, the dining options in Hakuba are diverse and delicious. Here are a few of the best options.
Bernd Keller’s is the only authentic European alpine cuisine in Hakuba, and serves a wide range of international wines and European beers to match. It’s located inside the ski-ski-out Marillen Hotel on the foot of the Nakiyama Slope, where kids can enjoy tobogganing and night skiing on the safe floodlit gentle slope while you watch out of the big windows and socialize around the wood fire with drinks and cheese fondue.
Love delicious pastries, perfectly brewed espresso coffee, baked goods, and tasty pizza? Then Mon Pigeon is the place for you. This warm and cozy eatery is an excellent place to relax with coffee, treats, and beautiful Golden Retrievers before heading to the slopes (that’s right, Mon Pigeon has two dogs that spend their days relaxing in the restaurant). You’ll feel like a kid in a candy shop when perusing the delicious offerings at Mon Pigeon.
Just as the sign adoring the exterior proclaims, Takahashi Kei serves Ramen, Gyoza and Beer, and boy do they do it well. The husband and wife pair running the cozy restaurant offer a variety of delicious ramen including a soup-less spicy tan tan ramen that is not for the faint of heart. Partner your ramen with a side of gyoza and wash it all down with a cold beer. It’s the perfect place for an affordable and delicious meal.
Hands down, one of the best Japanese restaurants in all of the Hakuba Valley, Sharaku is a must visit for sushi enthusiasts. Sharaku focuses on fresh seafood and sushi but also offers great meat dishes like the wagyu steak and sources all of its ingredients locally (the fish, however, arrives daily from the famous Tsukuji Fish Market in Tokyo). The restaurant is conveniently located five minutes from the Happo-One ski lifts in the main village. Great for couples or groups alike, Sharaku serves a wide-range of local Sake to accompany your meal.
Mimi’s is the highest rated restaurant in Hakuba on Trip Advisor and one of the few fine dining experiences in the Valley. Run by husband and wife team Kazu & Yuki Shinamoto, the couple brings a passion and focus to serving the highest quality food made from the best locally sourced produce. Trained in Italy, Kazu serves classic European dishes reimagined for the Japanese palate. The locally procured black pork is out-of-this-world while Yuki’s desserts are the best in the Hakuba Valley. We recommend ordering the rack of lamb dinner with a red wine and a slice of amazing apple pie for desert.