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Kutchan Township

The Hirafu ski village is part of the municipality of Kutchan. The main Kutchan township is located about 8 km from the Hirafu Ski Village, and is home to a number of shopping and dining options as well as cultural venues and civic services. Although Kutchan offers many restaurants and shops most do not accept credit cards so be sure to bring ample Japanese Yen.

Access to Downtown

Fresh Powder is proud to offer complimentary, escorted grocery shopping trips twice weekly. Shopping trips are normally scheduled for Sunday and Thursday afternoons. Please check with the manager’s office for more details. The trips offer approximately 45 minutes of shopping time. In addition the town bus offers pickups from near the Hirafu Ski Village Seicomart convenience store. Several routes offer access throughout the downtown area. Please check at the manager’s office for the latest bus schedule. In previous years, the town has also operated a free hourly evening shuttle bus between the Hirafu Ski Village and the downtown area. This bus makes several well position stops in Kutchan. If you are looking for convenience a taxi downtown will cost about ¥1500 – ¥2000 one way and takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

Restaurants and Bars

Café Kaku Pizzeria

American-born Chef Shukin has been running this pizzeria / café since well before the “ski boom”. Café Kaku makes use of local organically grown wheat, a west-coast US recipe and an old-fashioned stone oven to produce the perfect pizza pie. The well-decorated, warm café atmosphere makes this restaurant very popular with locals of all ages. The espresso is highly recommended, and import beers are also available. (Sorry, Kaku does not deliver, but is more than worth a trip to Kutchan!) Located on Ekimae Avenue, next to the Hokuyo Bank. To find out more information we recommend that you visit their website here.

 

Fujii Bakery

Located just one block from the Kutchan train station on Ekimae Avenue, the Fujii Sweets Shop has been delighting locals and visitors alike with a wide variety of scrumptious treats since as far back as 1950. Pastry Chef Chiaki Fujii is a decorated third-generation chef, maintaining a proud tradition of using locally-grown ingredients. Seasonal tarts and pies offer a true taste of rural Hokkaido, and the bakery’s signature éclairs and cream puffs are baked fresh in front of your eyes! If you happen to have a birthday during your visit to Niseko Hirafu then they also make custom make birthday cakes.

 

Yohtei-Maru Sushi Train

Nearby Otaru and Hakodate seaport are fishing gateway to the sea of Japan and the Northern Pacific Ocean where some of the most scrumptious seafood can be found. These ports mean that the sushi shops in Kutchan can provide the very freshest toppings for the many varieties of sushi and it is no different for the Kaiten sushi restaurant of Yohtei-Maru. We recommend trying the local delicacies such as crab, yari-ika (tender squid from Hakodate) and shiro-tsubu (ivory-shell whelk). For large groups of 8 or more, they provide a complementary shuttle service as well as private room party options. Yohtei-maru takes its name from a rail ferry vessel which can now be found in the National Museum of Maritime Science in Tokyo.

 

Sushi-dokoro Nihonbashi

If you are looking to sample sushi and sashimi in a traditional Japanese restaurant with tatami mats, low lying tables and traditional customs we recommend Nihonbashi. Tucked in the back streets of Kutchan this classy sushi restaurant has been serving the township of Kutchan for over 30 years and lately the restaurant has been drawing a lot of increasing attention from overseas visitors. Nihonbashi also offers a fine selection of sake, the perfect accompaniment for a sushi dinner. At lunch time, their "Chirashi-sushi" (sashimi toppings scattered over a bowl of sushi rice, pictured left) offers a delicious sample of the variety of fresh seafood available. The "unagi-don", eel roasted in a sweet sauce and served over a bowl of rice, is popular in the summer.

 

Miyako Street (Kutchan Entertainment District)

Tucked away just north to the main street serving the Kutchan train station, Ekimae Avenue runs parallel to the highway cutting through town. From a distance this street appears to be a quaint alleyway but don’t be fooled. The alleyway actually stretches over six blocks, featuring literally dozens of small pubs and restaurants hidden behind little doors on the side of the alleyway. A great variety of cuisine can be found in this area include barbecue, noodles, yakitori, seafood, and sushi. The food is often supplemented with ample servings of sake and Sapporo beer. This area and the bars along it is still largely "off the beaten path" for international tourists, and until it becomes discovered it offers a look at authentic local culture.

Shopping and Souveniours

Cocoro-ya Kimono & Japanese Souvenir Shop

Cocoro-ya (which loosely translates to "heart and soul shop") not only offers an incredible selection of Japanese arts & crafts, but also the chance to join classes for Kimono dressing technique, traditional hand crafts, and many more traditional Japanese past times. Fans of kimono can purchase traditional kimono as well as a series of modern-style clothing made with kimono cloth and patterns. A small sit-down café provides a wonderful opportunity to get to know the store owner, Yoshika-san, and the friendly staff.

 

Sports & Ski Shop

Sports Takiguchi is immediately recognizable on the main street leading to the Kutchan train station by the parking lot fence made entirely of old skis. This store is by far the largest sports shop in the township of Kutchan and the Hirafu area. They specialize in powder and racing skis during the winter, as well as an excellent variety of ski wear, hats, gloves, and also ice spikes for walking boots (very handy!). For summer visitors, they carry an impressive selection of golf gear. If you wish to pre-order any gear, we recommend visiting their website here. Boom sports is a sister store to Takiguchi Sports located diagonally across the road from them, which focuses mainly on snowboarding and skateboarding gear. They stock a large range of Burton products and often have great end of the year specials.

Downtown Services & Facilities

Niseko Hirafu does not have a post office and up until last year did not have an ATM. However the Kutchan township has both. Located in the post office is two ATM’s, one that accepts international cards and one that does not. Please note that the postal ATMs offer service for many but not all, international debit and credit cards. We suggest you check in advance with your bank. In the unfortunate event that you or a member of your skiing party is injured the Kutchan Kousei Hospital offers general medical and emergency service for the region. It is modern and very well equipped. However you will need a translator as the staff do not talk English. For this reason we strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance prior to your visit.

Furano Office Furano Apartments & Chalet Direct Phone No:
Address: 14-26 Kitanomine, Furano, Apt #1: 1 BR Japanese Bath +81 (0) 167 23 6481
  Hokkaido, Japan, 076-0034 Apt #2: 2 BR Mid Floor (Kitanomine) +81 (0) 167 23 6482
Telephone: +81 (0) 167 23 4738 Apt #3: Studio Mid Floor +81 (0) 167 23 6483
Fax: +81 (0) 167 22 1089 Apt #4: Studio Fire Place +81 (0) 167 23 6484
Email: furano@freshpowder.com Apt #6: 2 BR Top Floor (Tokachidake) +81 (0) 167 23 6486
Web: www.furanofreshpowder.com Chalet: 5 BR Parkside +81 (0) 167 23 5624
 
Niseko Office Niseko Apartments Direct Phone No:
Address: 183-38, Aza Yamada, Kutchan-cho, Abuta-gun, Apt #1: 3 BR Creek Side +81 (0) 136 22 3687
  Niseko Hirafu, Hokkaido, Japan 044-0081 Apt #2: 3 BR Mountain view +81 (0) 136 22 3707
Telephone: +81 (0) 136 22 3807 Apt #3: 2 BR Top Floor +81 (0) 136 22 3763
Fax: +81 (0) 167 22 1089 Apt #4: Studio Top Floor +81 (0) 136 22 3801
Email: bookings@freshpowder.com Apt #5: 1 BR Top Floor +81 (0) 136 22 3806
Web: www.nisekofreshpowder.com Office: Downstairs +81 (0) 136 22 3807
 
General Enquiries Emergency Contact - Staff Mobile
Telephone: +81 (0) 167 23 4738 Mobile #1: +81-90-6212-6913  
Email: info@freshpowder.com Mobile #2: +81-90-7517-8467  
Web: www.nisekofreshpowder.com