Food & Nightlife

Madarao has a decent sized village that’s mostly made up of hotels and pensions, with only several options for dining and drinking. The norm for Japanese guests is to dine at their hotel or pension, but with more westerners visiting Madarao, the Madarao restaurants and bars are becoming in hot demand.

Madarao Restaurants

The main restaurant at the Madarao Kogen Hotel is Piemonte, serving up mountains of food in the form of a family friendly buffet. The quality of the buffet is very good, and for breakfast and dinner they serve up a huge range of western and Japanese food. And what would a Japanese ski resort buffet be without a chocolate fountain to get the kids (and big kids) on a sugar high?! All the food is labelled with Japanese and English signs, which can be handy when you’re staring at very unfamiliar food.

The Furusato Restaurant at the Madarao Kogen Hotel is more formal and offers gorgeous views across the night skiing area. The Japanese food is exquisite, and go here hungry because the kaiseki style courses just keep appearing.

The village has a small strip of eateries. Jazzy is very popular (for the food, not so much for the jazz memorabilia!) and it’s just a small place so it can be difficult to get a reservation. Jazzy also has a nicely stocked bar.

Madarao dining also includes a burger bar and a pizza restaurant. We stopped at the “pizza restaurant” which only had two types of pizza and there wasn’t much else to order because they’d run out of rice!!

Aki’s Pub and Café is reasonably simple and nice to visit for a beer, a pizza, or an amazing katsu curry. It’s also worth visiting to meet the famous Aki!

It’s worth heading into Iiyama at least one night during your stay. There’s a night bus that heads into town at 4pm so you can visit one of various restaurants not far from the old station. Or your accommodation can help you with a Sushi Train and Shopping tour that departs at 6pm, which includes time at the Sushi Train restaurant where your food is delivered by mini bullet train in classic Japanese kitsch, a visit to the convenience store if you need an ATM, and a trip to a grocery store.

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Madarao Bars & Nightlife

There are a few Madarao bars that are ideal for a quiet drink. You won’t need to bring your party shoes to Madarao Kogen and you might even get to cleanse your liver a little. Like other Japanese ski resorts (with the exception of the westernised ones) there are limited après ski festivities and negligible nightlife at Madarao. Most Japanese that visit the resort have an onsen after skiing, eat dinner, perhaps get a beer or Chu-Hi from the vending machine, and retire to the hotel room.

The Drop-off Bar is an old izakaya that’s good for a sedate drink. They serve up very basic bar snacks such as microwaved karaage, yakitori and gyoza.

In “Sydney Street” where a few Australians/westerners have bought properties, you’ll find a good Madarao bar. Shaggy Yak is an upscale yurt next to Snowball Chalet, with couches and low Japanese style tables. In addition to a range of drinks, they serve up some yummy food that’s ideal for appetizers or dinner.

End Bar at Hotel Madarao sometimes has live music.

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