Thanksgiving in Kansai

ByJustin Hanus
Oct 24, 2022

Thanksgiving in Kansai

As we approach the autumn season, citizens of many countries start planning for Thanksgiving towards the end of November. This includes Japan. However, Japanese Thanksgiving is slightly different. Rather than being a religious occasion, Japan celebrates Labor Thanksgiving Day (Kinro Kansha No Hi) to honor workers. This public holiday can be traced back around 2,000 years although was officially established after World War Two.

Another key difference between Thanksgiving in Japan and countries such as the United States is that Labor Thanksgiving Day is always on the 23rd of November (or 24th if the actual date falls on a Sunday) rather than on the fourth Thursday of the month. This means that expats in Japan can actually celebrate Thanksgiving twice if they wish. You can commemorate the occasion in traditional Japanese style with a meal such as fish, rice and Japanese tea. If you prefer the more American-style turkey dinner with all the trimmings, here are some suggestions on where you can go for a meal or to source your own supplies.

Blarney Stone

This popular and friendly Irish pub has two venues in Osaka. In recent years, its Shinsaibashi branch has offered up a themed Thanksgiving menu across the festive period. This has been inspired by hosting Thanksgiving parties for the Democrats Abroad Japan Kansai (DAJK). Expect to see a menu featuring turkey, stuffing, glazed carrots, and thick gravy sauce. It’s advisable to book in advance and you can call ahead to check details of exact menu, prices and timings for 2023.


BLT Steak

This American-style bistro opened its Osaka branch in Umeda’s Herbis Plaza in 2019 and its traditional Thanksgiving menu, usually served over two days in late November, has been a big hit. Available as a lunch or evening dinner option, you can savor delights such as a choice or roast turkey or prime beef rib, cranberry relish, pumpkin salad or mushroom soup for starters and a pecan pie for dessert. Lunch is around 4,200 yen and an evening meal will set you back around 7,500 yen.


Westin Osaka

If you fancy a slightly more formal celebration, the Westin Hotel hosts the annual Thanksgiving Dinner party for the Japan-America Society of Osaka (JASO) in partnership with the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ). Although primarily a members’ event, it’s also open to non-members who can pay to join in the festivities. Bear in mind, though, that the dress code is business formal! The traditional dinner includes turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie and is followed with a few speeches. Costs are 7,000 yen for members and 9,000 yen for non-members.


Alchemy Bar

Alchemy is a live music cocktail bar in central Kobe frequented by many of the city’s expats. Upstairs is a rooftop restaurant that specialises in serving up a proper American Thanksgiving dinner on the fourth Thursday in November. The menu includes delights such as carrot and ginger soup, herb-roasted turkey or chicken, honey-glazed carrots, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and chocolate fondant dessert. You can wash it all down with hot mulled wine or an Asahi beer. Advance booking strongly recommended. Set menu costs are around 4,000 yen per person.


Thanksgiving Supplies

If you’re looking for places where you can pick up supplies to serve up a Thanksgiving feast in the comfort of your own home, look no further than the following:

Horizon Farms: for a range of meat, dairy, vegetables and baked goods
The Meat Guy: festive meats plus fruit and vegetables
Costco: deals on a variety of groceries
Seijo Ishii: perfect for sides and sauces

Ms. Jones from California, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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2 comments so far

Thanks GivingPosted on12:01 am - Nov 19, 2022

Were these events vetted?

Hard Rock – USJ
Blarney Stone – Shinsaibashi

Stopped, as none of the two had the event listed on their website, to which you described.

    AdminPosted on10:16 am - Nov 28, 2022

    Yes, though I did not personally call each of them to check the author’s work. The information here is presented as is, without warranty, and does not constitute an endorsement of the services listed. Sorry you were unable to verify the accuracy of the information and I hope you managed to find a suitable location for your meal!

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