If you happen to be in Japan over this New Year's holiday season, one of the things you may be interested in trying is traditional Osechi ryori お節料理 (Osechi cuisine). These are special dishes, usually served in a square box, often a lacquered jubako tray, which are intended to celebrate the New Year. These dishes are either made with luxury ingredients (top-tier seafood items such as shrimp, crab or lobster) or are considered auspicious because they symbolize long life, family happiness and bountiful harvest.

Osechi switching to individual portions

The end of August and beginning of September is usually the time of year when pre-orders begin for professionally prepared Osechi ryori sets. But 2021 is not going to be the same as previous years.

Unlike ordering home-delivered sushi from a restaurant, which usually arrives in separate round lacquer trays, with Osechi, the trays may be divided into tiers, but there are usually no individual portions. With the whole family gathered, everyone partakes of the delicious ingredients from the same tray.

For 2021, however, some of the Osechi ryori sets available for pre-order have changed to individual portions in order to reduce the risk of infection.

Pandemic-adapted osechi offerings from Keio Department Store

Let's take a look at some of the individually-portioned, or koshoku 個食, Osechi ryori sets available from Keio Department Store:

京・料亭 わらびの里「和風料亭おせち 個食」(Kyo Ryotei Warabi no Sato "Wafu Ryotei Osechi - Koshoku")

These individual osechi sets are from the Kyoto ryotei (traditional upscale restaurant) Warabi no Sato.

Price: 6,480 JPY, 12,960 JPY, 19,440 JPY for 1, 2, or 3 meals respectively (tax included)

京料理 美濃吉「個食和風おせち」 Kyo Ryori Minokichi "Koshoku Wafu Osechi"

This set is from the Kyoto restaurant Minokichi.

Price: 10,800 JPY and 21,600 JPY for 1 or 2 meals, respectively (tax included)

加賀兎郷(かがとごう)「個食和洋おせち三客組」Kagatogo "Koshoku Wayo Osechi Sankyaku-gumi"

Price: 10,800 JPY for a set of three meals.

How to order

In person

From Oct. 1 to Dec. 22, you can order in person at Keio Department Store locations.


From Sept. 1 to Dec. 25 12:00 JST, you can order online at Keio Net Shopping.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.