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Izakaya Raku

A tasty Japanese pub experience in Niseko

Izakaya Raku is a small Japanese style pub found in Upper Hirafu Village in the Niseko Ski Area. Many visitors to Niseko have never experienced an izakaya before and it is a great way to experience lots of different Japanese foods in a social atmosphere with friends and family. An izakaya is often compared to a Tapas bar because of the slow pace of eating and the many different small plates on offer.

Niseko has a variety of different izakayas that you can eat at in Hirafu, from larger ones that seat lots of people to some that only seat less than 20. Izakaya Raku is on the smaller side with only 30 seats but it feels a lot less crammed than some of the other izakayas I have visited, where there is often no room between your chair and the chair behind you. Raku doesn't take reservations, so during the peak season it is best to arrive at 6pm when they open so you can get a table. When you enter the restaurant you are greeted by a hostess in a kimono who will take you to a table and give you some menus. English menus are available and everything has pictures which makes it easy to see what you're getting, and we had no problem communicating with the wait staff in English.

The food menu is quite extensive with a focus on seafood, ranging from around ¥300-¥3000. Some of the options include deep-fried chicken, sashimi, yakitori, fish and rice bowls with roe. I chose the Imomochi with Camembert which was basically deep-fried cheese surrounded by potato cake, meatballs on a skewer with mushrooms and fried chicken. All of the food was delicious and presented on the plate really well. The drinks menu is also quite big if you like Japanese drinks like sake, umeshu (plum wine) and shochu but if you just want a beer then you only have the one option.

Compared with other izakayas that I have visited in Niseko this is the only one where we have received all of our food pretty much around the same time. My other experiences have been that you get a single plate at a time and you might be waiting a while between each plate which can get a bit annoying if you are not prepared for the slow pace of meal. It is also the only izakaya in Niseko that we have not been charged a mandatory service charge by percentage or fixed fee which was nice for a change as the price on the menu will be what you end up paying.

Izakaya Raku is located on a side street near the Hirafu 188 Building so is within walking distance from most accommodations in Hirafu or you can get off at stop 8 on the Grand Hirafu Shuttle Bus route and it is a just a short walk away. It is well worth checking out during a stay in Niseko.

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Bonson Lam 8 years ago
This article is also in https://www.facebook.com/JapanTravelHokkaido/
Bonson Lam 8 years ago
This is a great article, Kylie! Crammed with lots of useful information and tips about the menu and about getting a seat. Do you see lots of Aussies there these days?
Bonson Lam 8 years ago
Thanks Kylie, I can imagine the vibe there! This is a great place to go as there are English menus and information in many places.
I visited Izakaya to celebrate my birthday during my trip before. Probably some tourists are not interest to or maybe ddo not notice that Izakaya is the place that worth to visit compare with foodcourt in mall
Kylie Plester Author 8 years ago
A birthday Izakaya visit would be the perfect way to celebrate
Justin Velgus 8 years ago
Izakaya trips are some of the best times I have had in Japan!
Great idea introducing one in a popular location.
Kylie Plester Author 8 years ago
It's such a great way to try lot's of different Japanese foods with a group of friends or family

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