Food & Nightlife
The nightlife at Myoko Kogen
is not particularly vibrant yet it is much more upbeat than many other Japanese ski areas with the range of restaurants and bars being a strong point of Myoko Kogen. Most Japanese visitors have dinner at their hotel as part of their accommodation package, whilst due to the number of gaijins in town, the restaurant and bar trade in Myoko Kogen continues to do well with over 50 establishments to choose from.
The traditional bars (izakaya) are the most prevalent; a great spot to mingle with new friends and sample lots of Japanese treats. Most of the bars and restaurants have some form of an English or picture menu, so you might not get lots of opportunities to use your phrase book.
Akakura Onsen Restaurants
Akakura Onsen is the hub of food and nightlife in Myoko Kogen with at least 25 restaurants and bars. There are a range of Japanese restaurants including ramen, soba, yakiniku, and udon noodle restaurants as well as izakayas. It is highly recommended to make a booking for dinner, especially if you have a large group or want to go to a small restaurant or izakaya.
On the corner at the top of the main street are a couple of izakayas; Kei
(formerly Hoheto). Both offer great food and a cosy atmosphere.
Nearby is Sennin Izakaya
, tucked down one of the side streets. This tiny bar serves up simple food via an English menu as well as lots of kanpai. The staff don’t much English but by golly they are really friendly. When we visited they had a short ski instruction video playing with really cheesy music. It was played over and over and over and over –we felt like ski legends afterwards!
Also at the top of town is the Hunter Bar
that serves Japanese food and a few Western options. They have an English menu and free wifi. This is a large restaurant so it’s a bit easier to get into than some of the others.
One of our favourites for a cheap and cheerful feed is Shokudo Koyama
, which is located in the street up from Myoko Snowsports.
If you’re in need of a fix of western food, head to the over-priced Pomodoro
, an Italian pasta and pizza restaurant. Downstairs is a really cute ramen restaurant, Udon-no-fo
The main street also has a few creperies where you can buy savoury crepes, or head there for a decadent dessert after dinner. One of the crepe shops also sells burgers.
The Curry House
has a very simple English menu of Indian curry set meals. It’s nothing that exciting. Only go there if you have a desperate craving for an Indian curry.
If you’re hankering for a real coffee (which can be hard to find in Japan), head to Café Panorama
at Myoko Snowsports. They also serve cakes and simple meals.
Akakura Onsen Bars
The Skater Bar
is probably the most vibrant bar in town. It stays open until late, and it’s reminiscent of the olden-days of Myoko Kogen with its super smoky atmosphere.
The Love Bar
can fire up at times. Whilst the name is rather dubious, this venue can be rather good with some party nights, dancing and live DJs.
To get into the Japanese culture you should really head to a karaoke bar and sing your heart out (and let your friends laugh at you!). Kotobuki
is just off the main street; a cheesy bar where you can partake in karaoke without having to sit in a little box room. We managed to spend a fortune here – must have sung way too many songs and been charged an ouch fee!
Akakura Kanko Restaurants
Shin-Akakura doesn’t have a large range of restaurants, so not surprisingly some people staying in this area get a taxi up to Akakura Onsen village.
The magnificent Akakura Kanko Hotel has a couple of very upmarket restaurants. Sorbier
offers French a la carte modern creations, whilst Shirakaba
provides modern Japanese cuisine. Café Terrace
is more casual and suitable for lunch with great pastries, sandwiches and views.
The Castle Bar
at the Windsor Hotel is a nice little bar and restaurant. It’s sort of an izakaya with bar snacks, and to add to the atmosphere, the staff sometimes may play their taiko drums.
Other Myoko Kogen Restaurants and Nightlife
Suginohara Ski Resort has lots of day time restaurants as well as some cute izakayas for après drinks. However in the evenings most people retreat to their hotel or pension, and there is really only one evening restaurant in Suginosawa Onsen at the base of the ski area.
Ikenotaira Onsen has about five restaurants. At Alpen Blick Hotel is the aptly named Beer Hall Restaurant Tatra
that has all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink packages, and a brewery on-site. They also offer a transport service upon pre-arrangement. Only go there if you are super hungry because it’s rather expensive and equally crap. When we visited they took about half an hour to process our payments, then told us because we were late, we only had one hour (until 9pm) to utilise the all-you-can-drink plan. The big beer hall was freezing cold and so was most of the food. The only way to ensure we had hot food was to reheat it on the little cookers on the table. And to make sure we didn’t drink too much, the service was really sloooooooow. Getting the picture??!
Down in Myoko Onsen town there are 20+ bars and restaurants. It’s not a party town, but if you’re into karaoke there are an abundance of bars where you can sing your lungs out.