It's the beginning of spring in niseko, hokkaido, bringing into season delicious seafood and crisp vegetables ripe for culinary indulgence.
Niseko Village, Japan’s premier ski destination, features a wonderful mix of the traditional and contemporary.
Hokkaido is a prefecture often thought of as a place blessed with some of the best produce Japan has to offer. Three important factors – a year-round cool climate, clean water and fresh air – play an important role in helping Mother nature with bountiful harvests of crisp lettuce, juicy tomatoes and crunchy bamboo shoots.
Hokkaido’s surrounding sea is also home to plenty of magnificent marine life, from meaty scallops to creamy flavour-packed sea urchin perfect for sushi.
Enter Niseko Village, Japan’s premier ski destination that features a wonderful mix of the traditional and contemporary. Here, you’ll find a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, thrill seekers and gourmets, who will surely appreciate the world-picturesque destination.
To enjoy Hokkaido’s best springtime produce, have dinner at The Crab Shack, Niseko Village’s seafood-focused restaurant that welcomes guests to dine with their hands. Imitating the look and feel of a Hokkaido boathouse, diners are invited to select their seafood of choice from a marketplace display that changes daily and seasonally. The restaurant’s signature cooking methods are steamed kaizoku-yaki and konro grilled, but they can also cook to your preferred style.
Come spring, from March to May, strawberry, alpine leek and asparagus are the freshest rock stars of the fruit and vegetable world. From the sea, herring, spear squid and horsehair crab will make a return to most restaurants’ menus, Yang Shu Ten included. Focusing on the casual and classic, this modern Japanese restaurant specialises in using fresh Hokkaido produce to make sushi, tempura and teppanyaki. Open for lunch and dinner, it’s another stop food lovers will want to mark down on their list. Also a must try is delicious jingisukan or ‘Genghis Khan’ Mongolian barbecue, a local dish that consists of grilling lamb and vegetables on a special grill at the table. A Hokkaido-style spring is not complete without eating jingisukan while viewing the cherry blossoms at the beginning of May.
There’s more to be found at Niseko Village and its immediate vicinity. Travelling within an hour’s radius takes you to the top-rated restaurant on TripAdvisor for all of Hokkaido called Misaki, specialising in the exotic bafun uni (available only in the warmer months). Nearby in the canal city of Otaru, you’ll find the Onze Harukayama lily garden and further east, the Takino Suzuran national park famed for its tulip blooms. And for those who enjoy a tipple, the Yoichi whisky distillery offers yet another natural wonder, aged single malt whiskies produced from the crisp and clear waters of Hokkaido’s pristine springs.