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Last year when we came to Hirafu, there was one night when I was stuck in the hotel for work. As food at Prince Hagashiyama, where we stayed, was overpriced and unexciting, A & T kindly brought me back a pizza from the village for dinner. The pizza was sooo good that I managed to finish three quarters, quite an accomplishment for moi, who doesn't really fancy pizza. So this time, we made our way to Pizzeria Niseko Paraiso again. 



Originally this was only a sports school and serenaded as a pizzeria at night on first trial in 2005. Guess it was proven to be such a hit that this year, the pizzeria has been expanded to a huge area within the complex to accommodate more diners. 

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For our third night in Hirafu, we decided on Big Cliff. The reason is shallow one of the friends we bumped into on the mountain told us that they had been to Big Cliff and said not only was the food there good, but that they also bumped into some HK entertainment stars there. Those stars have been spotted in Hirafu a few times so we concluded the restaurant must be good enough if they decided to revisit. This was another busy restaurant, but luckily we did make reservations in advance. One of the key attractions is the 23 type of yakitori on offer. As usual, starving after a day of strenuous skiing and snowboarding, we just pointed to almost every single item on the menu. 



For yakitori, we went OTT and ordered gazillions - beef sirloin, shitake mushroom, bacon asparagus roll, pork, chicken gizzard, chicken liver, chicken heart, and spicy sausage kebabs. The bacon asparagus rolls were yummy with the bacon fatty enough.


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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. 

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A & T stumbled upon this true gem a couple years back and have been devotees ever since. In fact, part of the reason why we are staying one night in Sapporo instead of making our way straight up to Hirafu was to relive the yummy sushi memory here. Situated in the food underpass next to the Sapporo train station, it is one of the busiest restaurants in the area – and all for a very good reason – its ultra fresh and tasty sushi. 



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Over the CNY holidays, we made our annual pilgrimage to Hokkaido for a much anticipated ski trip. This time we went for seven days staying in Sapporo for the first night, then jumping onto the first bus up to Niseko the next day for a 3-night stay there. We then headed for Rusutsu, another popular ski resort an hour away from Niseko, for some variety. We took the five-hour direct flight from HK to Chitose airport, landing in the snow cladded city of Sapporo late afternoon.



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