It’s quite a long journey to Niseko. An overnight flight from Sydney, a few hours layover in Tokyo airport, a 1.5 hour flight to Chitose airport in Sapporo plus a couple of hours waiting in the airport and finally, a 3 hour bus ride to Hirafu, Niseko.
To break up the bus trip, thankfully there is a 15-20 minute stop at the Mushroom Kingdom in Hokkaido.
A lot of buses stop at Mushroom Kingdom so if you happen to arrive at the same time as other buses, it can be quite busy. As you are nearing the mountains, it is also quite cold!
The Mushroom Kingdom is a large hall, with two sections inside. The first and closest to the entry is where you order and pick up ready-to-eat food and a small seated eating area. The other area is like a specialty grocery store, with different kinds of fresh and dried mushrooms, jars of sauces, jams and pickled vegetables (all made from local Hokkaido produce), sweets and lots of other wonderful goodies.
I was pretty hungry on the way to Niseko so I had the mixed mushroom onigiri (a triangle shaped rice ball wrapped with nori) which was delicious and filling. On the way back to Chitose airport I had some takoyaki (small ball shaped dumplings with diced octopus). There were lots of other dishes I would have liked to try if only we had more time there!
I couldn’t help but think how much my Ma would love this store. I imagined her dashing to and from each isle looking for all sorts of strange and interesting ingredients my Grandmother would have used, that are difficult to locate in Australia. She may have even squealed with delight!
I didn’t buy anything to take home as I wasn’t sure what Customs allow back into Australia. Next time I visit (I’m thinking of skiing again next year) I’ll read up on the food allowances to see if I can bring some beautiful jams or sauces home.
During both visits I took a bunch of photos so below is a sample of some of the gorgeous food on offer.