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Jul 21, 2010 04:48 AM

Xmas in Japan


fellow chowhounders.

I'm thinking of heading to Japan (Kyoto & Tokyo) at the end of December for a couple of weeks. I have a couple of questions.

1) Is this a good time to visit Japan food-wise? Or in terms of fish, is it good all year round?

2) Are any of the top restaurants going to be open (28th Dec to 3rd Jan) or do they close for holidays?



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  1. 2) Almost all restaurants are closed on January 1, and many are closed January 1-3. I'd suggest spending that part of your trip in Tokyo if possible, as a lot more places are open than there would be in Kyoto.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robb S

      thanks. any more views on availability of good produce in December, would be great

      1. re: fergal76

        Fish and vegetables and cuisine are excellent during that season. We've done seasonal threads in the past that you can run a search for. You really need to find restaurants that will be open and make reservations. End of the December is big for office parties and other end of the year celebrations, so restaurants book out.

    2. 1) Very good time for fish. Fugu is available if you are adventurous. The best time to have kinki is during the winter season as well. Shirako is available too. And if you love hotpot, try anko nabe or/and kue nabe.

      3 Replies
      1. re: FourSeasons

        FourSeasons: Do you mean all types of fish will be fatty during that season, or only some fish? If so, what fish specifically? (Other than fugu). What about uni? I thought it's more of a summer 'dish'. And ika? Do squids actually get fattier during winter? (ha ha).

        I will also be in Tokyo from 31st December till 6th January. I hope to be able to secure reservations at Ryugin, Mizutani, and maybe Kanesaka from 3rd or 4th January onwards..

        1. re: reisende

          No, I just meant that the kinki fish taste better in winter than autumn/summer based on my experience. Ayu is best in summer so not all fish are equal. Uni is available all year round though uni from Tokushima is only available in summer. I am not so sure if squids get fattier in winter, but I just had very delicious ika at Hakodate in the summer.

          Sorry to inform you but the period of your stay is perhaps the worst for foodies. Like Robb wrote, most closed till Jan 3rd. Good luck!

          1. re: FourSeasons

            Just to report back -
            Yes, the time frame I was in Tokyo was horrid in that most restaurants were shut. I managed to have a dinner at Ryugin (brilliant - and somehow what stuck to my mind most was the 'filler' dish of rice or soba; I had rice, and it was magical rice - sorry, not very eloquent).

            Tsukiji was bustling, though, and I did the touristy thing of waiting in line at Sushi Dai (worth the queuing).