Hanakoji Sawada main image


Hanakoji Sawada

花小路 さわ田

A treasure in these times beautifully combining nostalgic ambience and style with modern flair, this three-star Japanese restaurant presents simply delicious, clean cuisine featuring the very best Hokkaido has to offer. The joy of Hanakoji Sawada’s exquisite cuisine is matched by highly personalized service from the husband and wife team, delighting both first-time visitors and Sawada devotees.

Alight at Susukino Station in the heart of Sapporo's entertainment district and walk several blocks south under the bright lights to find this restaurant on the third floor of a rather nondescript building. But as you pass through the draped noren, you leave all the ordinary behind to find an unimaginably extraordinary interior. Five counter seats, traditional Japanese sunken seating spaces, and table seating too: each offers a relaxing setting to enjoy your meal, but the counter seats with a direct view of Chef Kago’s knifework and the energetic culinary magic taking place in the kitchen are highly recommended.

One of just three three-star restaurants on the vast island of Hokkaido, Hanakoji Sawada was born from long-adored Kappo Sawada in the highly capable hands of Chef Tomoya Kago ten years ago. While it is common practice to use one's own name in restaurant branding, Kago chose to inherit the Sawada name to show his passion and demonstrate the depths of his gratitude to his former boss. The cuisine here stands in a class of its own. This is the place to experience how sophisticated culinary skills accentuate the best produce from the north island. Large zelkova timber planks, from the property of a treasured regular customer, adorn the walls of one Japanese-style private room engendering a truly dignified ambience. The interior is fitting for the most treasured guest, and because the restaurant is loved by many prominent individuals, an additional space was built on the same floor three years ago, allowing guests to dine in total privacy.



The very best Hokkaido has to offer

The cuisine at Hanakoji Sawada is tailored for each guest and party through a careful conversation at the time of reservation. Your occasion, your hometown and your experience at the restaurant all play into the chef’s choices for you. Especially for Japanese visitors from outside Hokkaido and overseas guests, the focus of the first visit is on showcasing the charms of Hokkaido through its many superb ingredients. As for regulars, the approach is entirely different: the chef builds a personalized course, anticipating their desires and allowing them to be the star, never one to push his ideas on others.

Each course entails seven or eight dishes and a refreshing Japanese-style dessert, and each season offers the chance to delight in specialty ingredients like kegani hair crab or fugu puffer fish. In every case, seasonality is key and the chef’s minute yet audacious performance elements wow even the seasoned diner. Yet there is nothing crazy about his techniques – he simply chooses the best methods for accentuating each ingredient’s innate flavor for straight, pure enjoyment.

Slow extraction of umami from premium kombu kelp variety ma-kombu, under the brand name Shirokuchihama, found in the Minami-Kayabe area of Hakodate, takes four hours. To this, Chef Kago adds bonito flakes that have been treated with mold to further draw out moisture for umami-rich densely flavoured flakes. The resulting balance of flavors in his dashi is outstanding. The best example of the chef’s style is his signature deep-fried corn. Locally grown and bursting with sweetness and umami, the only seasoning is salt. One cold appetizer contains edible chrysanthemum greens with lily bulb, topped with a generous spoonful of Italian caviar and finished with the chef’s elegant dashi. A warming bowl to follow may contain the delicious roasted aromas of kinki rockfish in dashi whose clarity belies the richness of flavor within.

An ingredient that speaks perfectly of the season, hair crab from Funka Bay in southern Hokkaido is delicious in its simplicity of preparation. And another Hokkaido delicacy – uni sea urchin – wows with its luscious velvety texture atop grilled eggplant with white miso sauce. The savory portion of the course culminates in handmade soba made from buckwheat grown by a farmer called Ochiai-san in Kuromatsunai, in the Shiribeshi region of Hokkaido. The town is famous as the northern limit for Japanese beech trees known as buna, but its fame keeps spreading with the delectable soba served up by Chef Kago, made possible by the annual buckwheat crop.

Procurement of produce is carefully managed and long-term relationships with suppliers ensure the best of the best comes through the doors of Hanakoji Sawada every day. Many relationships date back more than 30 years, and while the focus is on specialty Hokkaido ingredients, including Shirokuchihama ma-kombu from Minami-Kayabe on the southern tip of the north island, ingredients from Kanto and Kyushu also make their way here.

The sake line-up includes precious prominent brands like Juyondai – the bold and expressive sake from Yamagata Brewery Takagi Shuzo. No matter your preferred style, your hosts are certain to tailor your libations to your individual preferences.

Hanakoji Sawada cuisine #0
Hanakoji Sawada cuisine #1


Tomoya Kago

Super fit from his hobby of marathon running, it is a surprise to learn that Tomoya Kago was born in Hokkaido in 1958. His culinary dreams were fired by his favorite childhood television program “Food Heaven” (Ryori Tengoku). On graduation from high school, he joined a hotel with his hopes set on pursuing French cuisine, but because of its popularity at the time and a lack of openings, he switched his sights to Japanese cuisine instead. His work took him to the Japanese kitchens of the Sapporo Washington Hotel and ANA Hotel Sapporo before he left the north island to polish his skills in the metropolis of Tokyo.

His return to Sapporo came with a new role as the head chef at Sapporo’s Kappo Sawada. Opened in 1989, the restaurant’s proprietress was Hiroko Sawada, who had originally gained fame as a popular geisha. She closed the restaurant in 2009, but it was immediately adorned with a new name paying homage to its origins and with Chef Kago as its new owner.

It is not only the name Kago carries on. As guests, Kago inherited geisha, as well as leading figures from the business world and politics, so it is an understatement to say he felt a great deal of pressure in the early days. His years of experience have enabled him to master seasonal ingredients and ascertain his customers’ preferences to present a range of dishes unrestrained by traditional Japanese cuisine. He has come this far on a motto of “no fixations and no pushing your cuisine on guests“. No doubt it is this respect for guests that have endeared so many to him.

Having surpassed the milestone of age 60, Chef Kago’s culinary career now spans more than 40 years, and yet he still wishes to challenge himself on a daily basis. His primary focus, however, is on making the most of every day and treating his guests to the best possible hospitality he has to offer. Many younger chefs trained by Kago have gone out and their own, but he still hopes to take on more apprentices driven by big culinary dreams.


The chef’s elegant taste, sense for detail and desire to set his guests at ease extends as far as the tableware at Hanakoji Sawada. He shows a deep preference for Kyoto tableware, but his collection also includes many pieces from Kakiemon – the Arita kiln succeeded for almost countless generations. The delicate design within stunning Japanese bowls leaves guests transfixed on its beauty, and pieces such as these perfectly complement the chef’s exquisite cuisine.


Hanakoji Sawada TABLEALL Omakase course from 2023 Apr
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
Reservation Request
Hanakoji Sawada TABLEALL Special course (More luxurious ingredients) from 2023 Apr
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
  • The price includes our booking fee of ¥8,000
Reservation Request


Hanakoji Sawada

花小路 さわ田

& UP
Kaiseki, Susukino
3F, 4 Chome-4 南7条西 3rd floor, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 064-0807, Japan
5:00PM - 7:00PM
Sunday and holidays
+81 11-562-0088


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