After finishing high school, Sho Azumae endevoured on an ambitious journey with his surfboard in tow and just 30,000 yen in hand. Hitchhiking, he eventually managed to visit 29 countries as well as almost every surfing spot within Japan. His passion for journey, sports and the ocean eventually lead him to finally set up shop within Niseko, citing the easy access to great surfing locations as well as skiing as being a prime motivator for choosing this region to settle. Now having spent over 6 years here, Sho has opened Izakaya Kushiya along with his wife.
What were you doing when you first came to Niseko?
Worked as a part-time izakaya staff and a farm hand at Niseko Green Farm. Then eventually we opened Izakaya Kushiya.
What attracted you to farm work?
I enjoyed working outside and was interested in organic farming. Most of the vegetables used for our dishes are from Green Farm, and if I need to source ingredients from elsewhere, I do my best to select fresh and wholesome food.
Why did you decided to open an izakaya?
I had some experiences working at izakaya restaurants, and my wife was a chef, plus I’ve always wanted to manage my own business.
What are some fascinating facts about your restaurant?
We are proud of the quality of charcoal grilled yakitori, A5-ranked Wagyu Abe beef, and organic vegetables. Abe beef is literally provided by Mr. Abe in Shiraoi.
Any recommended menu items?
We recommend everything on our menu! Yakitori, Ramen Salad, Gyoza, Japanese Rolled Omlette, Kitsune (Fox) Pizza. I become picky when it comes to choice of ingredients – I can’t help but think about food safety for kids. Our restaurant has a play area to welcome small children.
What do you think about customers visiting your restaurant in Niseko?
There are definitely a lot of guests from overseas during winter months. Our customers are all great! Parents can get together with the little ones, with our pick-up service adding more convenience.