Before you know it, Thanksgiving will be here, 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 can be tough, but grab your expat friends and you can enjoy Thanksgiving in Tokyo too.
This post will 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 the options below.
Where to buy a turkey in Tokyo
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 to 4 lbs to some whoppers weighing more than 20 lbs. There are a heap of other foodie goodies—40,000 to be exact!—and a floor dedicated to global wines. There is also a decent frozen section and even a gardening section. Nissin seems to cater to the culinary needs of expats from all over, and they update their Season & Special page according to the world calendar—there’s even a page for Oktoberfest, if you celebrate that!
National Azabu Supermarket
Grab your turkey in person at the National Azabu import shop in Hiroo, or order it online via their website. They have whole frozen Prestage turkeys ranging from 6 lbs (3,196 yen) to 16 lbs (5,443 yen), which are very reasonably priced.
This supermarket first opened in 1910, keeping foreign folk in Japan happy for quite some time. It’s a high-end supermarket boasting over 100 years of tradition. In past years, Kinokuniya has sold Butterballs products for Thanksgiving. There are a range of other foods too, such as French cheese—real French cheese, not imitation cheese found in most Japanese supermarkets.
Good old trusty Costco serves customers all over the world and is a good option for buying a turkey in Japan. You can also 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, and it’s the perfect place to get any hard-to-find additions (cranberries, pumpkin-flavored items) for your Thanksgiving meal. Costco has various locations near Tokyo (see map below).
Aimed at the hospitality and restaurant industries, Hanamasa is for bulk items, but all at a low cost. 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, and they offer a delivery service too.
There have been turkey sightings at the Roppongi branch at this supermarket chain. A frozen bird, standard size (serves approximately 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. Prices also convert to dollars, making it easy for any buyer who isn’t used to paying in yen yet. It’s a great website for so many other home goodies too, including Skippy peanut butter and M&Ms. Price: 4,980 yen (before tax) for a 12-lb Butterball turkey
The Meat Guy
That name says it all—this is where to buy turkey and all sorts of other meats (like sausage for your stuffing). 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 between 6 and 16 lbs, so you’ve got a good range of sizes here. There is even a Pet Deli section, so even furry family members will be happy this Thanksgiving!
Price: A 6-8 lb whole turkey is 4,930 yen
So there you have it. If you’re old-fashioned in-person shopper, 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!
This post was originally published in October 2016. Last updated: October 5, 2021.