When we were on the ski lifts, I asked my ski instructor, Kentaro-san, which are the popular dining spots around the Hirafu-Kutchan area. He named JoJo’s and Yummy’s for western food, and A-bu-cha for Japanese. A-bu-cha happens to be one of our favorite Japanese restaurant around the area too. By day, it is a cafe with its own bakery, and at night, it is filled with a constant stream of visitors, both local and foreign. This was our dinner destination on our first night up on the mountains.
S and I made our way down the hilly slope at around five forty five hoping to grab a table when it opens shop at six. Arriving with five minutes to spare, there were already a few small groups of people waiting patiently in front of the restaurant, shivering in the cold. At this point we were slightly worried that we might not get a table, but were lucky enough to be spared one. A and T were in charge of ordering, as they were regulars and had visited A-bu-cha many times. I happily sipped my plum sour while taking in the wooden hut surroundings.
We had the corn with butter (Y400), tuna & tofu salad (Y750), whole mackerel (Y1,600), chicken wing in gyoza, Kose-Nabe (Y1,700), Japanese udon (Y200), and teriyaki chicken with mayo (Y1,200)
S was disappointed when the tuna & tofu salad arrived as she discovered the restaurant uses canned tuna instead of fresh. However, the home-made salad dressing and the silky smooth tofu combination more than made up for this. Next to arrive was one of our faves – the chicken wing stuffed with gyoza – fried to a golden crispy finish, the chef was generous with the stuffing of vegetables and pork, which was cleverly conceived in the wing.