- 3 min read

Restaurant Yo

A Hidden Gem in Hirafu Village

Restaurant Yo is considered one of the best traditional Japanese restaurants in Hirafu. The family run restaurant, located in lower Hirafu Village, has been serving traditional Japanese cuisine in one of the most intimate settings for the past 12 years.

Yo is a little different than most other restaurants in town due to its set menu policy. Instead of Izakaya or A La Carte style dining, there is a choice of six set courses which you must decide upon at time of booking: Irori BBQ, Meat, Seafood, Shabu-Shabu, Vegetarian and Kids course, each of which contain many different dishes and leaves a little element of surprise as to exactly what you are going to get. Yo is unique in that it sources all of its food it serves the day it serves it, ensuring only the freshest ingredients are used. The Irori course contains a selection of meat, seafood and vegetables that customers cook themselves over a Japanese BBQ and is set aside in an exclusive room, which is reserved for the Irori course only, and as such, all of your group members must have the Irori course. If you would like to try one of the meat, seafood, shabu-shabu, vegetarian or kids courses, you will be seated in a separate, equally magnificent section of the restaurant and each member of your group can enjoy different courses.

As you enter the restaurant, you will immediately feel its sense of intimacy as you make your way through its narrow hallways into the secluded dining rooms. The beautifully decorated restaurant is dimly lit, in true Japanese style, and features bamboo lined walls, sliding doors, various scripture-lined walls and tranquil music. As you take your seat at one of the sunken tables, you will be amazed at how immaculately set out the tables are, with some of the meals in your course already cooking away in front of you. It's quite a nice change dining at a restaurant that doesn't require you to browse a menu and order meals, the element of surprise is almost thrilling. The remaining meals in each course are brought out to you as the kitchen prepares them throughout the night, allowing you to enjoy a true Japanese dining experience. At first the table layout and process can be a little daunting, however the friendly English & Japanese speaking Yo staff will get you seated and explain how the restaurant works and recommend how to enjoy each dish and take your drink order.

Yo is strictly reservation only and has only one seating per night at 7pm sharp. You must book at least 24 hours in advance, and at time of booking, decide upon which course you would like to have. It's not uncommon for the restaurant to be fully booked for one month in advance during peak times in winter so book as early as possible to avoid disappointment. Yo offers a free pickup and drop-off service in Hirafu Village which you can also request at time of booking. Yo is located in the Hurry Slowly Pension, in lower Hirafu Village and is open from December 15 to late March. The Irori course is ¥5,800 per person, the meat, seafood, shabu-shabu and vegetarian courses are ¥4,200 per person and the kids course is ¥2,100.

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Chris Barnes Author 10 years ago
Restaurant Yo will open shortly for the winter season in Niseko. This is not only a fantastic restaurant, but a fantastic experience in Japanese cuisine. I highly recommend a visit if you're in Niseko this year!
Richard Flair 10 years ago
This is a great restaurant. I visit each winter with my family and it's always one of our best dining experiences of the trip.
Chris Barnes Author 10 years ago
Thanks Nicole & Simple. It truly is a hidden gem in Niseko, and due to its single seating policy, it's often booked out for months in advance.
Tyra 'nell Pille-Lu 10 years ago
You walked me through the restaurant via your article. Nice write up -- simple and easy to understand, and not to mention, I like the photos, as well.
Nicole Bauer 10 years ago
This restaurant is a not-to-miss experience when you are in the area! I went there last winter and we decided on the irori course, which I can highly recommend. The food was awesome and the atmosphere is Japanese farmhouse style, truly unique! The fact that there is only one seating per night gives makes it a great night out, no rush, you can just take your time to enjoy the food and drinks. And yes, it's a lot of food, brilliant food! Thanks for the great write-up, Chris!

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