A romantic dinner at a fancy restaurant usually costs so much that people only go on extra special occasions, such as marriage proposals. But even if you’re not thinking of a life-changing celebration, now is a good time to take your partner out for an exclusive meal.

Japan Restaurant Week started on July 18, and as one of the country’s largest gourmet festivals, it offers a range of fine-dining opportunities at hundreds of high-profile and renowned restaurants in both the Kanto and Kansai areas, as well as in Nagoya, Sendai, Sapporo, Fukuoka and Hiroshima prefectures.

Held twice a year, this summer version of the festival runs until Aug. 6. and its aim is to introduce food lovers to top gourmet experiences at affordable prices. Around 400 establishments are taking part, including those serving Japanese, Chinese, French, Italian and other Western cuisines. Selections of unique and traditional dishes from different parts of the world, as well as various local specialties are on offer.

Some of the listed restaurants in Miyagi Prefecture, for example, are serving dishes using local delicacies such as shark meat from Sendai or oysters cultivated in the Oshika area, while those in Kyushu are including dishes using Fukuoka stonefish or seasonal green asparagus from Nagasaki.

Participating restaurants will have exclusive dishes on their lunch and dinner menus as well as kid’s menus and special offers for families.

Japan Restaurant Week takes place from July 18 to Aug. 6. at around 400 restaurants in various locations in Japan. Online reservations are required. For more information, visit jrw.jp/index_en.html.

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