With its strawberries on cakes, love hotels and KFC, Japan gives Christmas a good try, but it doesn’t quite come out right. What we need at this time of year is some real, good old fashioned tradition, and nothing quite screams ‘IIIIIIIIIT’S CHRRIIIIIIIISTMAAAAAAAAAAAAS‘ like handmade wooden toys, excited children and the scent of hot, mulled Glühwein.
Thank Christ (literally?) for Nagoya’s annual German Christmas Market.
Every year at Hisaya Hiroba in Hisaya-Odori Park, a German themed market brings a sprinkling of Christmas tradition to Nagoya. This year, from December 9th until Christmas Day, the market will be open every day, with its various Christmas events.
You can get some of your last minute Christmas shopping done at one of the many stalls selling handmade crafts, decorations, clothes and trinkets, but be warned that if you are with children you might not have much time for shopping, as you will no doubt be dragged off to marvel at the huge christmas tree, ride on the merry-go-round and then, of course meet Santa!
There’s a good chance you’ll be hungry after all that excitement, so you should make your way over to the food stalls stocked with classic German food such as sausages, pretzels, sausages, mashed potato, sausages, delicious cakes and sausages. To wash down all of that delicious, wintery food you can get great foaming German beers or the aforementioned Glühwein to warm your insides and fill you with a great deal of Christmas cheer as you watch one of the festive dance and musical performances on the stage.
If that’s not enough Germanness for you, perhaps you want to check out one of these German restaurants in Nagoya.
Zur Deele is a bit fancy, serving superb food prepared by a chef who trained in Germany for five years. The exterior is stately brick house surrounded by a cozy garden, and after entering you walk over a satiny floor to the main dining room, to which the restaurant’s name ‘Zur Deele’ alludes. The staff recommends the homemade cured ham and sausage, but all selections use the best seasonal ingredients. Don’t for get the stock of German wine!
Doitsu-un was recommended by a German friend of JIS and described as “the most authentic in Nagoya.” Doitsu-un is actually in Ichinomiya City, but as that’s just a 20 minute train ride from Nagoya it might be worth a jaunt out for a taste test. It is a bit pricey at about JPY 2500 per person (if not more), but you get what you pay for.
A five minute walk from Meieki, Gengenbach is as close to a German bierkeller that you are likely to find in Nagoya. It’s underground, dark and wood-lined and has a huge array of German beers. There is oompah music played overhead, sausages aplenty, and on a Friday and Saturday night, as it starts to fill up and the beer flows, you could just well be in the middle of Berlin.
Finally, if you are in the market for some decent German food to work with at home you are going to need some meat. Though we would normally recommend any meat you purchase be from the Meat Guy, this is an exception. Alsace is deli specializing in German Style meat in Mio Kaguyama Shopping Center in Nisshin that you should definitely check out.