This is not what we were expecting.

Every year, our reporter Ikuna Kamezawa purchases an Osechi Lucky Bag from a seafood store at online marketplace Rakuten. The deal with this bag is you pay 12,345 yen (US$85.35) for it, and in return you’ll get one of 50 different types of osechi, randomly chosen with the most expensive valued at 170,000 yen ($1,175.37).

▼ Some of the osechi on offer.

The cheapest osechi is valued at 14,800 yen, so either way you’re guaranteed to get more than your money’s worth in return, and when Ikuna bought hers in 2022, she received an osechi valued at 21,600 yen, and in 2023 she received one worth 21,000 yen.

However, this year, the osechi that arrived at her home on 31 December — osechi are lucky New Year’s meals designed to be eaten over the first three days of the year — it was her biggest one yet.

The box was enormous, and when she pulled out its contents, it barely fit into Ikea’s largest shopping bag, which was the only thing big enough to help her carry it all into the kitchen.

The first thing she pulled out was a set of ten chopsticks, which were the rounded type commonly used at New Year to help things go smoothly the year ahead.

And then, she pulled out the osechi itself, which was huge and beautifully well packed with auspicious motifs on the lid, including an image of a dragon, this year’s zodiac animal.

After checking out the website, Ikuna found that the osechi she’d received was the 6th most expensive of the 50 types. Named the Super Extra Large Single-Tier Funamori Fishing Boat, this osechi contained 62 items in total and was priced at 40,000 yen.

According to the site, this meal was designed to feed six to seven people, which was a bit overwhelming for Ikuna, who lives alone.  Still, this was her first time seeing such a luxurious New Year’s meal, and she was thrilled to receive it.

Osechi ryori is essentially a collection of dishes designed to last for a reasonable amount of time so it wasn’t impossible to think she might be able to finish it over a series of days. And given that the meal had been made under the supervision of Hiroto Hayashi, a famous chef who often appears on TV, she had no doubts over the quality.

The attention to detail was evident in every morsel, and the finer points of each dish were so extensive they took up an entire booklet.

There were too many items to list so Ikuna suggests feasting your eyes on the colourful array instead. Just this one corner of the tray contained roast beef, prawns, chestnuts, and a variety of fish, each with auspicious connotations designed to being good firtune

She couldn’t resist a little taste, starting with the datemaki rolled omelette, which was one of the best she’s ever had.

Then she tried one of the boiled black beans, which is Ikuna’s favourite osechi dish. However, these were unlike any she’d ever had before, as they tasted like…


Consulting the booklet, Ikuna’s taste buds had been right on the mark — apparently these beans are made according to an original recipe by Hayashi, which gives them a coffee flavour.

Personally, Ikuna would’ve preferred her beans plain, but she wasn’t about to complain, especially with so many other delicious-looking morsels in front of her.

▼ There were some Western-style dishes here too, including Cream Cheese with Nuts and Honey and Grilled Shrimp with Cream Cheese.

▼ This was worlds away from the humble osechi her grandmother would make at home.

Ikuna made a pretty good dent in the osechi on the very first day she received it, and in the end, she was able to polish off every item in this luxury meal within just a few days.

Now she’s already looking forward to purchasing the osechi again at the end of the year, and if she’s extra lucky she might just be able to received that elusive, top-tier 170,000-yen variety!

Photos © SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]