Kobe has seen Christmas steadily become more of a celebratory occasion in recent years with its growing expat population. Many restaurants have capitalized on the fact that residents might appreciate the chance of a slap-up festive feast to remind them of home. Social activities have been scaled down somewhat this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but here is a selection of eateries offering seasonal menus this holiday.
This upmarket French terrace restaurant close to the Kobe mountains has become famed among expat locals for its annual three-course lunch and dinner Christmas menu offerings. This year, diners can choose from such mouth-watering delights as sauteed foie gras, roasted lobster, braised beef in red wine, and Wagyu fillet. A private suite is also available for party bookings.
Where: 1-5-7 Kitano-Cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture 650-0002
When: December 19-25, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. (dinner); 11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (lunch)
Price: 21,780 yen per person (dinner); 14,080 yen per person (lunch)
This hotel complex, a stone’s throw from Shin-Kobe station, runs a festive season throughout December and into the start of January. Shoppers can choose from an Italian Christmas dinner course at Level 36 (Dec. 22-26 only), a festive Teppanyaki at Kitano, a seasonal buffet at The Terrace, a Christmas pair dinner with live piano accompaniment at The Bar (Dec. 22-26 only), a New Year’s Chinese meal at Suzhou (Jan. 1-3 only) plus festive desserts and sweets options. There will be a range of holiday events running across this period too.
Where: 1-Chome, Kitano-Cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture 650-0002
When: December 1 – January 6, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (closed Sundays)
Located in the center of Meriken Park, this waterfront Italian restaurant offers a special Christmas lunch and dinner menu to those who pre-book. Each menu is 3-course where diners can savor pasta’s likes in fermented mushroom sauce, shrimp impadella, and beef fillet with truffle-flavored potato gallet.
Where: 2-2 Hatobacho, Chuo-ku, Kobe
When: December 23-25, 11:30 a.m. (lunch); 6:00 p.m. (dinner)
Price: 29,040 yen per person (dinner); 12,100 yen per person (lunch)
This Euro-fusion restaurant gets into the spirit of things over the Christmas season with a seasonal menu covering the Christmas week. You can enjoy a 3-course offering of turnip, Kobe beef, and a pear dessert.
Where: 4-7-28 Sumiyoshi Yamate, Higashinada-Ku, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture 658-0063
When: December 19-27
Price: 12,000 yen per person
Fast food such as KFC has really taken off in Japan over the past few years. Like many other countries, the Japanese KFC outlets now offer a Christmas meal menu for those who fancy a modern American festive snack. The Christmas 2020 menu ranges from a full Christmas dinner chicken meal to themed festive snack boxes.
Where: Various Kobe locations
When: December and January
Price: Meals from 1,090 yen to 5,890 yen
If you fancy blending a festive celebration with cuisine a bit more Asian, perhaps head down to the Meriken Park Hotel, where you will find Santa Monica’s Wind offering a Chinese buffet that usually has a Christmas twist over the winter months. Savor the all-you-can-eat experience while gazing across the waterfront horizon.
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. Reservations are a must.
Price: 3,300 per person (lunch); 4,300 yen per person (dinner)
If you’d prefer to arrange your own Christmas meal with family or friends in your own home, you can buy all of the festive food and drink you need from The Meat Guy. If you want to take things up a notch and hire a venue, the Kobe Club is available for private functions and offers tailored seasonal menus to suit the occasion.