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Restaurant Week offers meal deals across Japan

by Robbie Swinnerton

In the relentless heat of summer in Japan, it is often hard to generate the appetite and energy for a full-course sit-down meal. But there’s far more incentive to head out for dinner (or lunch) at a top restaurant if you know you’ll be getting a bargain.

That is the promise of the now annual Japan Restaurant Week — in fact it runs for 17 days from midway through this month. The premise is simple: All of the 248 participating restaurants offer fixed-price lunch menus from as little as ¥1,570 and dinner from ¥4,200.

This summer’s JRW extends its reach further than ever. While the bulk of the featured restaurants are in Tokyo and the Kanto region (161 of the total), Kansai boasts 51 and there are also 17 participants in Hokkaido and 19 in Kyushu.

There are some pretty substantial eateries involved, too. A total of 17 boast Michelin stars, including such notable names in Tokyo as French restaurant Ginza La Tour, Cerise and China Blue (both at the Conrad Hotel in Higashi-Shinbashi), and Tateru Yoshino (its Shiodome and two-starred Shiba Park Hotel branches).

Families with smaller children need not feel totally excluded, either. Almost a score of places are putting out the welcome mat even for preschoolers, featuring special kids’-size menus.

Reservations open Aug. 5. For a list of participating restaurants, reservation information and a quaint etiquette guide, visit www.jrw.jp/index_en.html.