2013 was our 5th consecutive year skiing in Niseko Japan. While it is the snow that never fails to be the best our other reason is to visit Raku. Very much a traditional Izakaya (like your local pub) with a warm and inviting interior to escape the -10c outside. No bookings taken, it is small and nearly always full from about 6 till 9 but tables tend to turn over reasonably quickly. You can always find a seat or corner to stand in and have a drink while you wait. It’s worth it. Highlights for us are the whole grilled squid, tuna sushi, frozen salmon (not actually just raw) avocado salad, the Hokkaido fish, or the simple grilled corn. There are also a few dishes for the non adventurous among you. There is a variety of sake (petrol) simple cocktails, beer etc typical of Japanese izakaya's and all average priced. This year they even had an affordable red and white wine by the glass which is unusual for Japan. However for a ski village restaurant we do not find it at all expensive. The lady that runs the place dresses traditionally and is absolutely wonderful. She recognises us when we enter each year and these days we always bring her a little gift and get hugs in return. The staff are always great and handle English ok, even though we tend to murder the Japanese language every time we visit. So get in early or go late, or be prepared to wait around, it is worth it.
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