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Dec 3, 2011 01:56 PM

Osechi for visitor?

Looks like I am going to be visiting tokyo for a few days before the new year. I thought maybe i'd try getting a fancy osechi box to eat on new years day, and for on the journey back home. I had a few questions:

1. Do all osechi require refrigeration?

2. Would I be able to find an osechi box that is on the small side, say the equivalent of 2-3 meals for one person.

3. Any suggestions for where to get a good one?


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  1. I would check out the nicer depachika around town. They will have prepared ones or the individual items found in them- as will supermarkets and convenience stores. Depachika versions are probably better. But usually the really good ones are ordered in advance... Yeah, they need to be refrigerated. I wouldn't keep one in a hotel room.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Silverjay

      are the really good ones ordered in advance from a depachika, or from a restaurant? thanks.

      1. re: Dustin_E

        I was thinking about the ones from department stores like edozanmai listed below, but there may be higher end purveyors- like fancy caterers or something. Restaurants, not really.

        If you look at the photos and the items in them, you can determine your comfort level with keeping them unrefrigerated in a hotel room. There is a note on the Takashimaya link that recommends eating the contents as soon they are defrosted or taking out of the refrigerator. Some of them have cooked and raw seafood.

    2. If you want to see what is available to order check out the home pages of Takashimaya ( or Mitsukoshi ( Both have a lot of options priced around ¥10,000. Also, osechi generally does not need to be refrigerated; it should have any "uncooked" ingredients, and it is meant to last for the first three days of the new year.

      8 Replies
      1. re: edozanmai

        those look great. thanks. just to be sure, you don't think they need to be refrigerated?

        1. re: Dustin_E

          Don't take the risk ! With transportation, your 'sechi box' won't look good !!! These 'sechi boxes' are delivered around the 30th, are prepared in advance and has to be eaten rapidly. In Isetan, on the 26 or 27, they are going to have stands for the shopping&preparation of 'sechi year-end' and some are vaccum-packed like abalone, salmon, lotus roots tsukudani... And you will able to compose your 'setchi box', ...    

          1. re: Ninisix

            consensus seems to be that traveling back to the united states with an osechi is a bad idea. i think i'll take the advice and pass.

            1. re: Dustin_E

              At minimum, definitely check out the depachika anyway. They are best around the end of the year. I'm in them almost every day exploring and look forward to it every year.....All things considered, osechi is more of a family traditional thing than a real culinary treat.

              1. re: Silverjay

                i've enjoyed depachika on my other two trips, and will definitely visit again this time. any in particular you recommend? i think it my experience it has been:

                takashimaya shinjuku > takashimaya nihonbashi > mitsukoshi ginza

                but i'm sure there are others. also, is it best to visit a little before noon, as everything gets sold out? thanks.

                1. re: Dustin_E

                  Mitsukoshi and Takashimaya in Nihonbashi and definitely Isetan in Shinjuku. Maybe Seibu in Ikebukuro. I always check out Odakyu in Shinjuku. Keio is good too.

                  1. re: Dustin_E

                    To the list of depachika I will just add the very exciting Tokyu Foodshow in Shibuya, and their newer branch out in Futago-Tamagawa.

                    And I don't think you have to worry so much about getting there before noon - bentos and take-out dishes don't generally sell out at midday. If you show up just before closing sometimes you can find some good bargains.

                    1. re: Robb S

                      I usually go through Tokyu in Shibuya and enjoy it, but don't find it on the same scale as the others.....Yeah, battling all day with the obasan is a right of passage.