A Bar Hidden in the Japanese Mountains

In the heart of the mountains, in the Japanese village of Hirafu, a speakeasy lies hidden behind an automatic drinks machine.


WordsSolenn Cordroc'h

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Only open in the winter, lost in the heart of the mountains in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, Gyu, more commonly known as ‘The Fridge’, is the perfect place to unwind in peace after hitting the surrounding ski slopes.

The owners, Hisashi Watanabe and his wife Ioanna Morelli, decided to convert their basement into an unusual, secret bar. Indeed, visitors certainly need a keen eye to spot the door, now well worn after years of use as an automatic drinks machine. Once inside, customers can relax while sipping a cocktail by candlelight, to the sound of lo-fi jazz. The most popular drinks include their vanilla-infused vodka, Japanese whisky and yuzu mojitos.


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167-21 Yamada, Kutchan, Abuta District, Hokkaido 044-0081