Check out our top three recommended food happenings in Tokyo this month.
Fukubukuro Shopping Madness
On the first day or first business day of the Oshogatsu (Japanese New Year celebrations) season, you will find that a lot of shops have people lining up or even fighting their way inside to get their hands on the Fukubukuro. This word is an amalgamation of two Japanese words: fuku, which means ‘good luck’ and bukuro, which means ‘bag.’ But why all the craziness? Well, these bags contain goods that you cannot check prior to purchasing them. That is where the “luck” comes from, and sometimes the contents surpass the actual price paid. Let’s say that you pay 10,000 yen for a “lucky bag” at a retail electronic shop, and then you open it to find a tablet or camera that is worth 4 times that much!
This “tradition” started out as a way to get rid of unwanted stock in shops, and has grown to become a major shopping trend. Nowadays, all of the most major shopping districts in Tokyo get packed during January 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Some shops even offer pre-booking for fukubukuro as a way to control the rush that brings in hundreds of customers at the same time and reduce the long wait lines. Customers can even request to have the bags shipped to their homes.
Food shops also participate in this lucky bag madness with special food menu items or merchandise like mugs, bags, discount tickets and more up for grabs. Some of the most coveted ones are from McDonalds, Baskin Robbins, Starbucks, KFC and Kaldi. They run out very quickly, so if you want to acquire some items for yourself, make sure to start lining up very early in the morning. Supermarkets have fukubukuro starting at 500 yen which contain nonperishable cooking goods, tea, snacks, etc.
Check out the websites for your favorite shops to find out details on fukubukuro sales since some shops will be open until the 2nd of January and continue offering them until stock runs out.
Check on each shop website
January 1st-3rd (depending on the shop)
Depends on the shop
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This “festival” is actually the gathering of the most major festival events from all over Japan in one place over a 10-day period. From Okinawa to Hokkaido, winter to autumn, you will get to experience a bit of it all along with the amazing food and beverages served at each festival.
Tokyo Dome City will open its doors to hundreds of stalls that bring in the festival spirit from each of their respective cities. In a matter of minutes, you can sample food from coast to coast while enjoying traditional music and activities. There’s no better chance to be immersed in this many festivals from all around Japan at a single location, making it a great opportunity for travelers with limited time to come and enjoy the food, music, dances and traditional Japanese celebrations.
You can check out the festival and what it offers here and prepare your stomach to delight in the stunning food like ramen, fish, yakitori, wagyu (kobe beef), traditional sweets and bento lunch boxes. And let’s not forget about the drinks like wine, sake, beer, shochu, bubble tea and much more. It’s like a Japanese foodie festival paradise! Anyone searching for the chance to sample nearly every traditional dish from all over Japan mustn’t miss it!
Tokyo Dome City
1 Chome-3-61 Koraku, Bunkyo City, Tokyo 112-0004
10th to 18th, 10:00 – 21:00
19th, 10:00 – 18:00
Evening ticket is ¥1300 yen, after 16:00 hrs
¥1200 In advance, limited ticket (10th, 14th-17th)
¥1400 On the day
¥1600 In advance, limited ticket
¥1800 On the day
For multiple days, a pass might be best, costing ¥4,500. And for foodies, there is a donburi ticket which allows entry plus tickets for the National Donburi Championship.
The Japan Brewers’ Cup is one of Japan’s biggest yearly brewery festivals. The 2020 festival will be held at the beautiful Osanbashi pier in Yokohama, bringing together 35 different Japanese craft breweries, 1 Taiwan brewery, 1 Czech brewery, 6 craft beer importers, 300 total varieties of beer, and 5 food vendors. This event also serves another purpose: during the morning there will be a beer competition judged by professionals in the industry, and the general public is invited to join in and support their favorite brands. Anyone interested should feel free to take part!
For a period of 4 days, Devil Craft, Far Yeast Brewing Company, Shonan Beer and Swanlake Beer will be selling their products. Single cup prices start at around ¥500 (prices vary for each vendor). During the festival, the results of the morning competition will be announced and an awards ceremony will be held for the winning breweries.
The food stalls are local shops from around Yokohama and will be offering the perfect dishes from their menus to go with the beer. This includes Chinese barbecue, grilled beef, yakitori (chicken skewers), cold cuts and cheese platters. Definitely a must-come for any beer lover!
Osanbashi Pier (Osanbashi Yokohama International Passenger Terminal)
〒231-0002 Kanagawa, Yokohama, 1-4 中区海岸通１丁目
Thu, Jan. 24th, 10:00 – 18:00 (Only Judging)
Fri, Jan. 25th, 16:00 – 22:00
Sat, Jan. 26th, 11:00 – 21:00
Sun, Jan. 27th, 11:00 – 19:00
¥500 per person