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
Cons: service and food standards very variable