You can find yourself in a kerfuffle on almost any topic these days and that includes Christmas. Yokahama, with its German-style Red Brick Warehouse Christmas Market, likes to fancy itself the progenitor of Japanese Christmas but Kobe prefers to point towards the 1890s when Buddhist objects were placed under pine trees throughout the city during the winter months. So Kobe is no slouch when it comes to celebrating the holiday season and that includes its gustatory delights…
Perched on the waterfront, the Oriental Hotel has earned a reputation as a go-to destination for a celebratory meal, with six restaurant choices. The Santa Monica Wind is the hotel’s all-you-can-eat buffet eatery with a glittering menu of over 80 Japanese, Western, and Chinese items served with sun-splashed ocean views. Come holiday time, the Christmas buffet lunch and dinner amps up the cheer with many fresh custom-prepared dishes.
Where: Kobe Merikenpark Oriental Hotel, 5-6 Hatoba-cho,Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0042
When: Christmas week, Lunch 11:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. / Dinner 5:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Doors close 30 min. before closing time; the buffet lasts 90 minutes. Seating capacity 214; reservations are a must.
Price: Adults, ¥4,039; senior citizens, ¥3,635; elementary school-age children, ¥2,424; infants, ¥950
The Kobe Club is a private membership club tucked into the Futatabi Hills, catering to Kansai’s international community. The Kitano Terrace Dining Room, seating 60, welcomes the public to enjoy a wide range of gourmet menu options in the shade of giant Himalayan cedars.
Beginning in 2011 the staff took a stab at a “traditional English Christmas” with roast turkey, stuffing, and all the trimmings. It was such a success that a new tradition emerged at the Kobe Club, right along with Oktoberfest, Country & Western Night and Swiss Folk Music Night. See what the master chefs have in mind for this holiday season at Kitano, but reserve early as this one always fills up.
Where: Kobe Club, Kitano Club Terrace Dining Room, 4-15-1 Kitano-cho, Chuo-ku
Kobe, Japan 650-0002
When: Seating times at 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. during Christmas week
Price: ¥33,000 for two people (¥16,500 per person) including tax and service charge
Italian fare is the star of the menu at the Crown Plaza, a two-minute walk from Sannomiya Station and directly connected to Shin-Kobe Bullet Train Station. Beginning December 1 and continuing through December 25, the Christmas Dinner Course takes center stage with a variety of options that include delights from the sea (red snow crab, octopus, caviar, and more) and the land (wagyu beef or Kobe beef, depending on your dining level). No matter what course you select, the Christmas dinner will conclude with panettone, mascarpone cream, chocolate cake, and raspberry spumoni.
You can also take along one of five holiday-themed Christmas cakes from the Crown Plaza kitchen to celebrate the season. Order at least two days before pick-up, which begins on December 16 and continues through December 25.
Where: 1-Chome, Kitano-cho Chuo-ku Kobe, 650-0002
When: Friday, December 1 – Monday, December 25; 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Reservations are required for Friday, December 22 – Monday, December 25.
Price: ¥10,000/13,000/16,000. Christmas lunch is also available for ¥6,000.