- 3 min read

Fuji Sushi in Niseko

The anatomy of a set meal

Spring has arrived in Niseko, on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, and the area of Hirafu has turned into a sleepy little village in the shadow of Mount Yōtei. With the skiers gone for the season and summer still a few weeks away, the bucolic setting has narrowed its culinary offerings to locals and visitors alike.

One spot that manages to stay open, no matter what the season, is Fuji Sushi. The restaurant is part of small Hokkaido-based chain with locations in Sapporo, Otaru and Shakotan. The menu is extensive and serves not only sushi but a number of other traditional items such as tempura, tonkatsu and sukiyaki to name just a few.

I arrived in the early evening after a brisk walk up the hill from my Hirafu accommodations to a very quiet and nearly empty restaurant. I didn’t necessarily take it as a portent of things to come but rather as an indication that the busy winter season had truly come to an end. After perusing the menu I finally decided on a sushi set meal for ¥1980.

The décor was typical of Japanese restaurants, a notable observation as Hirafu has a number of international residents, including a large number of Australians. In fact, it was slightly reassuring to be surrounded by the design as it reminded me that I was in Japan. Hirafu is a place that, if you blindfolded and dropped me into, I might struggle to determine its national identity upon a cursory glance.

After a few sips of green tea my meal arrived. The set meal was laid out in front of me on a dark wood tray with everything in its right place. The heart of the meal was the sushi which consisted of several pieces of nigiri and a tuna maki. Small, ornamental bowls contained cold salads of steamed spinach served with roasted sesame seeds, marinated octopus draped in a wasabi-infused mayonnaise and a salad of field greens in rice wine vinaigrette. To the right of the plate of sushi sat chawanmushi, a steamed egg custard with mountain yam, kamaboko (sliced processed seafood identical in taste to imitation crab meat) and shiitake mushrooms. Prawn and vegetable tempura sat in the upper left corner with a dollop of grated daikon radish to be mixed in with its accompanying tentsuyu sauce. The final piece of the set was of course a bowl of soup. I anticipated that it would be miso soup but instead was pleasantly surprised to find a clear broth with wakame seaweed, spring onions, soft tofu and roasted salmon.

Fuji Sushi isn’t hard to find as it sits on the main road that runs through town and connects to other areas of Niseko. Given the seasonal nature of the area, it’s also nice to know that it will be open should you be in search of a meal in Hirafu.

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