It was Friday and rather than waiting for my buddy’s friends to get into Niseko, we were off to the mountain to ride. There was no way we were going to pass up the powder that’s been dumping all night long. However, the temperature wasn’t holding up and the powder, dare I say, felt like California powder. Not that it was a bad thing but we came here for Niseko powder. You know the light fluffy kind which can get knee high yet still you plow down the runs like it were nothing. That’s the stuff we were looking for. Not bad though. We spent all of the day on the Annupuri area finding small stashes of powder in the trees. The top was closed so we couldn’t traverse over to the other resorts. Bummer. Day one and our All Mountain Pass was under utilized. Gotta make up for it by the only way I know how, by eating good.
We did a little Googling and found some tips, the best one being from this site Silverspoons & Chopsticks. They had a place called Karabina at the top of the list, which happens to be down the street from our hotel. We took a chance and scored. Thanks fellow bloggers/writers.
This little place was tucked right by the road leading into the Annupuri resort. Looks like a little cabin and its intention on making you feel warm and cozy worked like a charm. First you arrive down stairs in a little shoe area no larger than a big closet. You swap out your snow dredged shoes for some house slippers. Ahh, amazing how good that feels. Then you walk upstairs into the fireplace warmed room. Take a seat in the various make shift tables and be prepared for some great food. Yes, it’s izakaya but no, it’s not all about skewers. Only simple well crafted dishes that compliment this cold climate. What might that be like? Well, check out the pictures. I wanted to cover how local this shop was in relation to the big fancy ones around Hirafu. There’s only a small team running the place. And they care about their customers. Dishes came out one after another with either the waiter/waitress or the chef explaining the dish. We were never left wondering what to do. Yes, some foods do need instructions. And it’s a little worrisome that most of the time they are in the back preparing your food. Something you’ll have to accept being such a local shop. However, the most memorable thing was our ride home. We were less than a mile away from the hotel, but it was storming. We asked to see if they can call us a cab, but they said no need. They can drive us back. How awesome is that?? Now that’s good people.
Niseko-cho, Abuta-gun, Hokkaido, Japan 048-1511
Verdict: Definitely coming back here even if I’m staying over in Hirafu.