By MASAKI HASHIDA/ Staff Writer
September 27, 2021 at 08:00 JST
Department stores are going all out in their efforts to make the coming New Year extra special with luxury "osechi" feast packages to cater to stay-at-home demand due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The Matsuya department store in Tokyo's posh Ginza district will offer 10 sets of an Italian-style osechi package for the eye-popping price of 400,000 yen ($3,600) each, including tax.
Store operators anticipate that many people will refrain from visiting their hometowns or dining out during the New Year holidays but still want to enjoy luxurious pre-prepared meals at home in lunchbox style.
And style is what it's all about. Prepared by a restaurant managed by luxury brand Bvlgari, which also operates in Ginza, Matsuya's meal package includes lobster, black truffle, smoked duck ham and roast beef, in addition to balsamic vinegar aged for 50 years.
Chef Luca Fantin said the meal was inspired by the menu served in the Ginza restaurant.
Last winter, Matsuya saw its osechi-related sales increase by 40 percent from a year earlier, with many products going out of stock.
This winter, it will also prepare 15 sets of an osechi package produced by a long-established upscale "ryotei" Japanese-style restaurant for 129,600 yen each.
The Takashimaya department store has also expanded its osechi options, adding a four-tier "jubako" food box prepared by a Japanese restaurant for 324,000 yen and meal packages featuring French, Spanish and German cuisine.
The Sogo and Seibu department stores will also increase by 1.2-fold the number of osechi products prepared by ryotei and well-known restaurants from last winter.
Store operators are keen to incorporate demand from single people and those who want their meals served separately.
Takashimaya sold out of its 41 varieties of osechi sets intended for solitary diners last winter, so it will add 11 more this year.
A Takashimaya buyer said the osechi sales trend will continue to be split into two groups: meal sets for solitary diners mainly priced at between 10,000 yen and 20,000 yen and luxury sets offered for at least 50,000 yen.
Visit this page for the latest news on Japan’s battle with the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Haruki Murakami and other writers read from books before selected audiences at the new Haruki Murakami Library.
The Asahi Shimbun aims “to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” through its Gender Equality Declaration.
Let’s explore the Japanese capital from the viewpoint of wheelchair users and people with disabilities with Barry Joshua Grisdale.