As I was writing two years ago, when you live in Tokyo, Hakuba is the ultimate place for winter sports. The snow condition is amazing, they have wonderful tracks of all levels both for skiers and snowboarders in Happo-one, some back country options, even in Iwatake a cross country course (though it's not easy to find equipment) and some snow shoeing options now. My favorite hotel is still La neige. But today I want to focus on my favorite restaurant there: the "Hummingbird". Every time we go to Hakuba we go there and it is always perfect. The chef: Hidefumi Hasui, after working in the largest Japanese restaurant in New York during the 70's and 80's and working as graphic designer, he now cooks alone in his kitchen very delicious simple, home style cuisine with simple local fresh products. Exactly the kind of cuisine you want to eat after a day outdoor in the cold and the little variety of food in ski resort cafeterias (Japanese typical ski food being udon and curry rice, and now with the foreign crowd from Australia they've added pizza, French fries and fried chicken... so there's a lot of room for improvement here!). His pickles are a must, as well as the grilled salmon and the zosui - 雑炊, something that is in between rice soup rice porridge and risotto, I also love his tofu salad with tones of herbs, salad and tomatoes. The restaurant is very tiny and only a dozen of people can have dinner there every night, served by the only waitress, so booking is mandatory. With his popularity increasing every year, during the winter pick season booking one week ahead or more is now timely. During the lowest season the restaurant is open only for reservations so again, call a few days before going. Whenever you go to Hakuba, go to the hummingbird absolutely, but give a call first!
Restaurant info: Hummingbird
〒399-9301 Nagano-ken, Kitaazumi-gun, Hakuba-mura, Hokujō