Writer: Narumi Shiraishi, Marketing Specialist; Editor: Anthea Hung, COO
After a day of skiing and snowboarding on Niseko’s snowy slopes, nothing satisfies the senses more than a meal of delicious Japanese dishes. Niseko isn’t just famous for winter sports; it’s a year-round haven for foodies. From the freshest seafood caught in Hokkaido’s icy waters to locally grown fruits and vegetables, your taste buds are in for a real treat. This article is your guide to savoring the finest Hokkaido foods in Niseko throughout the seasons. As you plan your Niseko holiday adventures, make sure to add these must-try seasonal foods to your itinerary.
The best Hokkaido seasonal foods in Niseko
To warm up from the cold of the winter months, these are the top dishes you should try:
- Fish and Seafood: Hokkaido is known for its fresh seafood. You can enjoy various types of fish all year but in winter, those in season are pacific cod, surf clam, octopus, and delicacies like crab (king crab) and oysters.
- Hot Pot “Nabe”: Nabe is a popular winter dish in Japan. In Niseko, you might find local variations of nabe. It often has ingredients like local vegetables, tofu, and seafood in a flavorful broth.
- Ramen: Hokkaido is famous for its ramen. You can enjoy steaming bowls of rich and hearty ramen, which is perfect for keeping warm in the cold weather. Favourite ramen types include miso, shoyu and shio, while some places have a Hokkaido-style ramen with butter and corn. Try it if you can – everything tastes better with butter!
For the Spring lovers, the sakura spring season brings some fresh dishes:
- Fish and Seafood: Look for fresh Hokkaido catches of fish and shellfish as the season progresses. Ones to look out for are herring, flatfish, snow crab, and uni (sea urchin).
- Asparagus: You will find locally grown Niseko asparagus on many menus. Try to sample all of the regional variety if you can, which are available in green, white and purple colour variations.
- Sakura-Inspired Dishes: Some restaurants offer limited-time dishes featuring cherry blossoms (sakura) or their flavors. Give them a try as you won’t be able to try them again once the spring is over.
Summer brings an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits to Niseko’s markets and restaurants:
- Vegetables and Fruits: Enjoy dishes that have ingredients grown locally by farmers in Niseko. The area is well-known for fresh produce such as corn, tomatoes, melons, and berries.
- Barbecue (Yakiniku): Outdoor barbecues are popular during the summer months. You can grill a variety of meats, vegetables, and seafood, including sardines, squid and scallops, to enjoy with friends and family.
- Cold Noodles: Cold noodle dishes like hiyashi chuka (cold ramen) and soba are refreshing options for hot summer days.
- Soft-Serve Ice Cream: Hokkaido is known for its dairy products, and you’ll find delicious soft-serve ice cream made from local milk. A popular well-known soft-serve ice cream spot in Niseko is Milk Kobo Niseko Takahashi Dairy Farm.
If you have a sweet tooth, visit some of the other local Niseko cafes that have delicious selections of sweet treats and desserts. To make your search easier, check out our comprehensive article on the best sweets cafes in Niseko.
In Autumn, expect something different as it is hunting season:
- Wild Game: Keey an eye out for dishes that feature wild game like venison and boar.
- Fish and Seafood: This is THE season for favorites like tuna, salmon, and ikura, ideal for sashimi and sushi lovers.
- Mushrooms: Hokkaido is abundant with various types of mushrooms in the fall. Matsutake mushrooms, in particular, are highly sought after.
- Pumpkin Dishes: As the weather cools down, dishes featuring pumpkins and squash become more popular. Try the different types of pumpkins grown locally such as
Get planning and start eating
Niseko, with its reputation for fresh, seasonal ingredients, promises a foodie experience like no other, regardless of the season. As you plan your holiday adventures in Niseko, know that you will be able to enjoy Hokkaido’s exceptional seasonal foods no matter which season you visit.
Haven’t visited Niseko yet? Plan your next trip to this winter haven, where fresh and flavorful food awaits you all year round. Book your Niseko ski holiday with us and indulge in the seasonal culinary delights that only Hokkaido can offer.