Seasonal cafe on the slopes of the Happo-One ski resort, near the start of the Kokusai 1 lift. Provides quick meals that are mostly vegan, including Mexican and falafel and hummus wraps, pasta, basic Chinese stir fry and rice meals, Indian-style curry, nachos, and other snack food. Uses organic and locally-grown ingredients. Note that the burger buns (bought from outside) contain dairy, and some sauces contain honey. Address is 長野県北安曇郡白馬村北城 4377. Price: Moderate more-less
Vegan-friendly, International, Western, Fast food, Juice bar, Beer/Wine, Take-out
4377 Happo, Kokusai Lodge
Hakuba, Japan 399-9301

Mon-Sun 12:30am-5:00pm



First Review by rebeccalw21
  • vegan

Vegan Oasis in the Ski World

Posted on 02 / 20 / 2015

I originally added Roots cafe to Happycow, and have been going to Hakuba every season for three years, mostly because of it. However because of that I feel I need to update this to say that something went very badly wrong this season (2014-15).

Staff at a seasonal cafe like this will always be using it as a ticket to travel abroad, and perhaps have little experience in the food industry, so one can't expect the same standards as a cafe run by its owner elsewhere. But this season I found some things quite disturbing, with the worst being when I bought a muesli bar and later (on the gondola) found that it was mouldy! I guess it would take several days if not weeks for a dry item like this to go mouldy in the sub-zero conditions of Hakuba in January. The staff member behind the till didn't seem surprised, and just ordered someone to throw them all out immediately. I wasn't even offered a refund (just "grab something else if you want" - and they seemed surprised that I did!).

Please don't let this put you off coming to Roots or Hakuba as it's still a (mostly) vegan cafe, serving decent food, and a great resort, but just don't expect much more than that, for now at least. Hopefully something is amiss this season (manager away?) and it will improve next season!

On the upside they have built a great new wood-fired pizza oven, though like everything the quality of the pizzas varied a lot.

Roots makes skiing in Japan so much better: no longer is it necessary to carry snack bars in your ski suit or force down white rice and hot chips when hunger calls. Roots cafe is attached to the Evergreen Outdoor Centre (both have the same vegan owner) and is easy to get to - just head to the Kokusai area (Happo One) and it's near the base of the Kokusai 1 lift. The baked items are good for snacks elsewhere on the mountain. It's great how it serves vegan food to so many non-vegans. The main meals are available until 2:30, so I usually go as early as possible (say around 10-11), ski during the busy lunch hour, and then go back for another meal just before 2:30. Note that as the listing says, it's a seasonal cafe, so between the ski and summer seasons be sure to check the website to see when it's open. This cafe makes Hakuba and Happo One the place to ski in Japan.
Updated from previous review on Saturday April 27, 2013

Updated from previous review on Friday February 20, 2015

Pros: right on the ski slopes, all veg and mostly vegan, fast, delicious, healthy food
Cons: service and food standards very variable
  • vegetarian

Heaven in a ski resort

Posted on 11 / 27 / 2013

I lived and worked in Hakuba for 3 and a half months, and without roots I don't know what I would have done. Sounds a bit dramatic, but being a vegetarien in Japan is difficult enough, never mind in a ski resort where the vegi options are limited. Roots is open everyday and is right on the ski slope on the Happo-one resort. The lunch meals (which are the best) stop at 2:30ish so make sure you get there before. I went to this cafe many times with other vegetarians and meat-eaters and both loved this place. A favourite was the 'rasta-wrap' which was braised tofu with spicy rice in a wrap. Other favourites were the vegi burger and the hummus. A great vegan restaurant and a reasonable price! Just under 1000yen for any meal, and it is filling. Also a great idea to try the vegan chocolate brownie and hot chocolate. I highly recommend this place if in the area.

Pros: Fantastic good, Organic and vegan, Inexpensive


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Last updated: 2013/04/25


Added: 2013/04/25


Added by: Guest