The Bar Hidden in the Japanese Mountains


WordsSolenn Cordroc'h

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

Only open in the winter, Gyu, more commonly referred to as ‘The Fridge’, is the perfect place to unwind in peace and quiet after hitting the slopes.

The owners, Hisashi Watanabe and his wife Ioanna Morelli, decided to convert their basement into an unusual, secret bar. And you’d certainly need a keen eye to spot the door, now well worn after its years of use as an automatic drinks machine. But once you’re inside, you 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