Before you know it will be Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Year’s and Valentine’s Day. But first things first, Thanksgiving is number one in the queue. We know that being away from home and missing your family gathering and cooking for these events can be tough, but grab your expat friends and you can enjoy Thanksgiving in the Japanese capital too.
Here is a post to help you find that essential Thanksgiving element—the big fat turkey. There are a number of stores to visit and some online websites too, so take your pick from below. And not just for buying a turkey in Tokyo, the list also gives options for other foodie additions to your meal too. Happy food shopping!
Nissin World Delicatessen
Nissin is the place for your turkey in Tokyo. This world delicatessen sells turkeys all year round that are a decent size, from 3-4 lbs to some whoppers weighing more than 20 lbs. There are a heap of other foodie goodies—40,000 to be exact(!) including a floor dedicated to global wines. There is also a decent frozen section and even a gardening section too. Nissin seems to cater for expats from all over and they update their ‘Season and Special’ page according to the world calendar—there’s even a page for Oktoberfest, if you celebrate that!
This supermarket is the lifesaver of an expat in Tokyo. It first opened in 1910, so has been keeping some foreign folk happy for a while in Japan. It’s a high-end supermarket boasting over one-hundred years of tradition. For Thanksgiving, this particular supermarket sells Butterballs products. There are a range of other foods too, such as French cheese, yes French cheese, not the fake cheese in most Japanese supermarkets—this place isn’t just for Thanksgiving you know. One added note, love it or hate it, this place sells my must have food product when away from home: Marmite.
Various locations (see map below)
Good old trusty Costco serves customers all over the world and is a good option for buying a turkey in Japan. Here however, you can get pre-cooked turkey breasts saving you on time and cooking stress on Thanksgiving Day. The best aspect about Costco is that there are multiple branches across the Kanto area and indeed Japan, so it’s the perfect place to get any last-minute additions (cranberries, pumpkin-flavored items) to your Thanksgiving meal.
Aimed at the hospitality and restaurant industries, food is big here and all are welcome. This place is for bulk items but all at a low cost. There is lots to find in this supermarket and it offers a wide range of meat and fish options. If you are getting your turkey from here, just remember you need to pre-order it. There are a heap of Hanamasa shops located around the capital, with various branches being open 24 hours. Hanamasa is ideal if you’ve forgotten anything from your Thanksgiving shopping list. Credit cards are accepted too.
There are certain times in the year that can make your visit to Tokyo less than idea.
There’s also been turkey sightings at the Roppongi branch at this supermarket chain. A frozen bird, standard size (serves approx. 8 people) clocks in at 4,151 yen before tax. If making your way to Roppongi is not convenient, try checking out the other Meidi-Ya branches around Tokyo.
The Flying Pig
The Flying Pig’s primary supplier is Costco so that means variety. This easy-to-use website has a wide selection of food items. From chilled and frozen poultry to fresh desserts, The Flying Pig has it all for Thanksgiving and beyond. There is even a CD and DVD section so you can plan you dinner music and Thanksgiving film-watching too. Prices also convert to dollars, making it easy for any buyer who isn’t used to paying in yen yet. A great website for so many other home goodies too, including Skippy peanut butter and M&Ms. Price: 4,981 yen (before tax) for a 12-lb Butterball turkey.
The Meat Guy
Need I say anymore? This is where to buy turkey and guess what—lots of meat. With other meats available such as kangaroo, game and a range of halal meats too, this guy really is the meat guy. For your Thanksgiving turkey, the website gives you some handy instructions on how to cook it, how long to thaw it for and the all important information: how many it feeds. Birds can weigh over 15 lbs, so you’ve got a good range of sizes here. There is even a Pet Deli section, so everyone will be happy this Thanksgiving! Price: 2.2-lb turkey breast for 3,450 yen. 6-to-8-lb whole turkey for 6,980 yen and up.
The Foreign Buyers’ Club
This shop is as easy as it gets for Thanksgiving shopping. There is a whole section dedicated to the holiday. From foodie goods such as pumpkin pie, trimmings and desserts, this place has it all. The site also sells Thanksgiving items for children, such as stickers and bulletin boards. There are also Thanksgiving accessories for your home to get in the mood too, such as seasonal tableware (you can really get yourself sorted here). Great for other events in the calendar too. Price: 6,390 yen for a 12-14-lb Butterball. Larger sizes also available.
So there you have it. If you’re old-fashioned and prefer to go shop in person you’ve got your list. Equally if you’re more digital you’ve got your online shopping sorted too. Happy preparations, happy eating and most importantly happy Thanksgiving. ‘Til next year!
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