Repost: How to find a turkey in Japan


American Thanksgiving is next week and Christmas is in a month so I thought I would repost this information from last year for my new readers.

—Edited repost begins here

For the first couple of Thanksgivings and Christmases it didn’t even occur to me to miss turkey. All of a sudden, about a week before my third Christmas here, I felt I had to roast a turkey. Since rarely went out of my way to get food that wasn’t sold in the local supermarket, I had no idea where to look. I was in Shinjuku that evening so I decided to pop into the basement of Isetan and check out the meat shop. I was lucky. They happened to have these tiny one and two kilogram turkeys for 3500 yen and 5000 yen respectively. They were imported from France. Not knowing where else to look, I bought one of the little ones and took it home. It was the best turkey I had ever had and worth the price. Thanksgiving the next year was a bit more of a challenge because while turkeys aren’t hard to find around American Thanksgiving Day in November, Canadian Thanksgiving Day is a full month earlier. Luckily Nissin had one the right size.

The next Christmas I happened upon one in the supermarket in the Meguro station the day before I was going to go off in search of one. Lucky. Eventually I learned about The Meat Guy and that solved all of my problems. You can order a couple months in advance and have it delivered the day you would have taken it out of the freezer so you don’t have to worry about freezer space.

The second easiest option is to ask at your local supermarket. They might be able to order one for you. This will likely have to be done in Japanese but at least you won’t have to travel far if you don’t want to pay for shipping.

Where to find turkeys in Tokyo

  • Nissin has turkeys year round from 3-4lbs to the huge 20+lbs
  • National Azabu had turkeys before it shut down. They should have them again now.
  • Meat counters of large upscale department stores – only around Christmas
  • Some upscale supermarkets will carry them at Christmas time – ask at the meat department.
  • A friend buys her Christmas turkey from her local Hanamasa (website: Japanese language only) but I have never seen one at the ones I’ve visited so you would have to ask. Ask for ターキー(taakii) not 七面鳥 (shichimenchou) as many people associate the roasted bird with the English word and the live bird in the wild with the Japanese word.
  • Costco – you can actually call and ask them before you make the trip out (they won’t tell you the price but will tell you if they have something)

How to find a turkey on the internet in Japan

Note: if you have an average (read tiny) sized microwave/oven you will probably want to go for a 1-2kg bird but be sure to measure the inside of your oven to check. I now have a 30L oven and find a 5kg is a great size.

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Thanksgiving 2013


This weekend was Thanksgiving in Canada and I never pass up an opportunity for turkey. As you can see, the turkey turned out looking rather well this year. It always tastes good but it looks great. I didn’t really do anything different than usual. Maybe it was the fact that this turkey took up 90% of the space in my oven. I kid you not, there was only one centimeter between the top of the turkey and the oven.


I do a potluck every time we have a special event because it is the only way to actually have fun at a holiday party when you only have a tiny oven. I made the pumpkin pies (gluten free version here) the night before because they actually taste better the day after. I made the stuffing in the slow cooker for the first time and I will be doing that again. Also pictured is rosemary potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower gratin (by the lovely @keitaigoddess), salad and turkey. There was also some gumbo and a black forest cake that I forgot to photograph. It was such a satisfying meal.

20131014-130435.jpgAs an aside, Costco has pie pumpkins this year. They are around 300 yen which makes them cheaper than canned pumpkin. They are in the Halloween/Christmas decorations section (not near the food) as I assume they are meant to be jack o’lanterns. If you get those electric tea light shaped candles you could cook them after you use them as jack o’lanterns.

What did you do for Thanksgiving this year? Please let me know in the comments section.


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How to find a turkey in japan

Thanksgiving dinner pictures

We had our annual Thanksgiving potluck on Sunday and it was great. I made pumpkin pie, quick pickled beets and turkey with gravy. Our friends brought some salads, bread and cheese and desserts. Oh, and some champagne. The Keitaigoddess brought an amazing potato bake that may have been the star of the show. I will definitely be experimenting with this.

roast turkey

I roasted the turkey upside down so that all the juices trickle down into the breast and it stays moist. Upside down the turkey kind of looks like a duck.

potato bakeThis is the amazing potato bake.

Thanksgiving table in JapanThis is most of the food. It sort of trickled in over the course of an hour.

pumpkin kabocha pieThis is my pumpkin pie. You can find the recipe here. I’ve stopped adding sugar as I find that sweetened condensed milk.

pumkin cupcakesMore yumminess from the Keitaigoddess. Pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese icing.

turkey stockI didn’t have a Ziploc bag or container big enough to hold the carcass so I decided to make stock right away. I used the crockpot and had it going all night. I can’t wait to try it.

Everyone left full and happy and that makes me happy.