By Andrew Kehoe
Known for hosting the 1998 Winter Olympics and amazing amounts of frothy powder snow, the Hakuba Valley is not usually associated with excellent dining. However, visit Hakuba and you will be amazed by the variety and high standard restaurants available. This article will guide you through where to eat in between a day of epic powder runs.
Before you hit the slopes, fuel up with a hardy breakfast and some of the best coffee in Hakuba. Luce sits directly across from the Kokusai Chair lift, making it the perfect place to stop in for a pre-ski meal. I recommend the avocado toast and salmon set with one of the gourmet coffees.
The Rabbit Hole
After tearing up the morning runs you’ll surely work up an appetite and need a breather and bite to eat. Why not stop in The Rabbit Hole for (probably) the best burgers in the Hakuba Valley. All burgers are creatively named—Chuck Norris Burger, Lochness Monster, and Johnny Be Good—and all are packed with juicy goodness. Vegetarians are also in luck, the Smells like Bean Spirit may be the most delicious option on the menu.
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Once you’re finished burning off the Chuck Norris Burger, you can ski straight to dinner at Bern Keller’s, literally. Located within the ski-in-ski-out Marillen Hotel, Bernd Keller’s is the only authentic European alpine cuisine in Hakuba, and serves a wide range of international wines and European beers. It’s also at the foot of the Nakiyama Slope, one of the few night skiing runs in the valley.
Late Night Drinks
A lively sports bar by day, Jack’s transforms into the center of nightlife in Happo Village by 10 PM. If you’re a night owl, this is the place for you. DJs and live bands frequently perform, as travelers and locals mingle over beers and stories from the slopes.
The Azusa 3 is a direct express train from Shinjuku in Tokyo to Hakuba. It is a 4 hour journey.
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