Food & Nightlife
Madarao Kogen is more a collection of hotels and pensions than a village per se. In the evenings, most Madarao
guests dine and sip on a quiet drink at their accommodation, but there are also a few stand-alone restaurants and bars.
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.
Opposite the Madarao Kogen Hotel at the top of the lifts is a little restaurant bar. Despite its great location as a potential après ski drinking hole, unfortunately it’s not open until the early evening.
Further along in the first block of shops of the village is a cute izakaya (small Japanese bar) selling typical izakaya fare. There’s no English or Engrish menu but you should get along fine if you order beers or sake and start reeling off a list of your favourite izakaya snacks, and best of all you don’t have to sit on the floor. This is a lovely little spot to come for a non-resort taste of Japan.
In the same area there is the Rudolf pizza restaurant, a coffee shop, and a restaurant/bar called Jazzie which opens about 6pm.
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.
Madarao Bars & Nightlife
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 no 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 lounge bar at the Madarao Kogen Hotel is open until 5pm for a quiet and picturesque drink around the fire, and then they generally use the area for the buffet dining.
Otherwise after about 6pm you can head to the izakaya or one of the restaurant bars if you need a cleansing ale.