Food that soothes the soul is a universal love. In Japan, comfort food comes in many forms but one such dish seems like it was simply made for winters in Hokkaido: nabemono, or as the locals simply say, nabe.

So, What is Nabe?

Nabe, or Japanese hot pot, is a soup-style dish available in a variety of different flavours with many different ingredients. Nabe, meaning "cooking pot", is a dish generally served during the colder seasons in Japan, making it the perfect authentic dish to try during your winter stay in Niseko.

Japanese hot pot is an ideal dish to share with friends and family as it encourages everyone at the table to cook and eat together from one central hot pot served on the dining table. The dish is frequently cooked at the table, too, and diners can pick the cooked ingredients they want from the pot. Vegetables and meats cooked are then eaten with either the broth or with a dip.

Hot Pot

A great dish to share among friends: hot pot at Niseko Sakura. Photo: Niseko Wine & Dine

Each region of Japan has their own distinct nabe and with Hokkaido famous for the freshest seafood in Japan, it's no surprise that one of the most well-known in Hokkaido is Ishikari-nabe from the Ishikari Subprefecture (just under two hours from Niseko). This dish features salmon stewed in a miso-based broth with vegetables.

Popular base flavours for nabe is miso, soy sauce and spicy varieties. Ingredients often used in many nabe varieties include shitake mushrooms, cabbage, daikon (root vegetable), tofu, beef, pork, chicken and noodles.

Where Can I Taste It?

Niseko is home to a number of restaurants serving this traditional Japanese dish, many of which can be found right in Hirafu Village. Great places to try this local cuisine include Yukitei Niseko, Nabe-Nabe, Sessa, Crab Dining Kanon, Niseko Sakura and more. Be sure to make your restaurants reservation well in advance for tables during the winter season to ensure you don't miss out on tasting the delights of this delicious dish!

So why not try this celebrated national dish next time you're in Niseko?

Discover more places to eat in and around Niseko with our Niseko Restaurant Guide.