Thanksgiving is one of the most important annual celebrations in the USA. In recent years, partly due to the growing number of American expats in the country, it has been growing in Japan. While Americans traditionally celebrate on the third Thursday of November, Japan has its own yearly Labor Thanksgiving date on the 23rd of November.
Increasingly, businesses such as restaurants, pubs, and social clubs have begun to organize their own Thanksgiving festivities around Japan. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, things have been scaled back this year. However, the following places around Kansai are likely to be offering deals.
With a high expat population in the city, Kobe has had a few venues over the years, providing Thanksgiving feasts for locals. One of the best is Ocean Place, a New York-style restaurant that usually serves up prime slices of Kobe beef and lobster. Over the Thanksgiving period, two menus are often served – an afternoon buffet and an evening fixed menu where you can find the likes of butternut squash soup, honey-glazed turkey, and pumpkin pie with prices between 4,500-6,000 yen per person. Popular steakhouse Tony Roma’s offers up a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day served with all the trimmings for around 2,000 yen per person, but advanced bookings are advised. If you’re after something with a bit more of a Japanese flavor, head down to La Shomon in central Kobe, where you can find prime Wagyu beef slices served up with an array of side dishes.
Osaka is the most populous city in the Kansai region and where you can find some of its most popular events and attractions. Several steakhouse restaurants have catered to expat clients over the years with Thanksgiving menus, including the recently opened BLT. This includes a lunch menu at 4,200 yen and an evening dinner at 7,500 yen consisting of turkey with all the trimmings, soup, salad starter options, and traditional pumpkin pie for dessert. International chain TGI Fridays have also started to get in on the western seasonal offers, including Thanksgiving with a range of specials and party offers. Check their Umeda branch for details. One of the most popular annual Thanksgiving celebrations in Osaka is the party meal thrown by the Japan-America Society of Osaka (JASO) and the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) that costs around 6,000 yen for members and 8,000 yen for guests. However, things have been scaled back this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic—email email@example.com for the latest updates.
Kyoto is host to one of the most renowned spots for Thanksgiving celebrations among expats in Kansai, and that’s Tadg’s Gastro Pub. This Irish-themed pub puts on a three-course spread for around 4,000 yen, including a turkey feast, pumpkin pie, a vegetarian option, and a nice selection of local beers. The venue seats around 40 people in total, so it’s a good idea to book in advance.
Of course, it’s possible to enjoy Thanksgiving within the confines of your own home. Many families still prefer this as it’s seen as a time when relatives come together, plus the Covid-19 pandemic means that fewer people will want to celebrate the occasion elsewhere this year. You can buy all the ingredients you need for the perfect home celebration from the Foreign Buyers Club, based in Kobe. Additional meats can be purchased online from the Meat Guy.