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§39 People makes Hirafu colorful (2)

At last I has reached Hirafu.

Owners of Izakaya Bang-Bang and Bang2
SAITO Masanobu, Toshiko

There are so many people who come over in Hirafu. SAITO Masanobu has come in the 1970s. He is an owner of popular Izakaya Bang-Bang and Bang2.


I am from Kyushu in southern Japan. I continued the journey to the north to the north, at last, has reached Hirafu.

In 1976, I came to Hirafu for the first time. YAMAMOTO Yukio opened “Yukiyama Sanso” in the same year. I came to Hirafu to learn ski. For me, improve of my skiing was the most interesting. Because people gathered from various areas, I was feeling fresh every day.

I hoped that I would continue to live in Hirafu, but I decided to travel to Europe at last. My purpose of going to Europe was to learn foreign languages and food, wine. I studied in Birmingham (UK), Paris and Burgundy etc.

After about four years, I went back to Hirafu. I lived in England and France in those four years. Immediately after my return to Hirafu, I was thinking trying to open a pension in Hirafu. However, due to the increase in pensions at a rate of more than my expectations, oversupply of pensions was expected. On the other hand, there weren’t many drinking spots in Hirafu as before. So I came up to begin the Bang-Bang tavern.

He married with Toshiko whom had been acquainted with in Hirafu before heading out to Europe. “We were as busy as bees at the time of opening Bang-Bang.” Toshiko recalls. “Skiers came in the evening and employees of hotels and pensions came in the night. However, we were troubled with their having stayed until the midnight. But it was good for our business” she says with a smile.

People who live in Hirafu only for business are increasing. We are not so, but we opened Bang-Bang to live and to ski in Hirafu.
Because I love skiing, ski-loving employees get together naturally. Some employees, such as a telemark skier Takanashi Yutaka who is running his own shop now, have decided to live in Hirafu.

I have talked to many customers as possible. A little conversation may give a good impression to our customers. “I have been thinking of going elsewhere, but I came back again,” some customers said to me the next year. Such an episode makes me very happy.

Now I am late 50s, I can be more myself than when I was young in both the business way and my life. A variety of experience and a number of travels may have brought a positive effect on me now. Two of us are looking forward to futures of our life and Hirafu.

Niseko Bang-Bang
188-24, Yamada, Kutchan
TEL: 0136-22-4292