The sands of time are rapidly running out on 2018. But before the Year of the Boar comes trotting into view, there's still a chance to pause, look back and appreciate some of the highlights and new arrivals from the past 12 months — and to wish all Japan Times readers good eating and good health in 2019.

Japan will see a new Emperor installed next April. But for many people it already felt like the end of an era when the venerable Tsukiji fish market was finally shuttered this autumn and its operations transferred to nearby Toyosu. Despite a few glitches — and an entire day deprived of fresh fish for the city's sushi chefs — the move went smoothly, in the face of grave misgivings about logistics and lingering environmental pollution at the new site.

Meanwhile, several major new developments have mushroomed above the already crowded city skyline. In gastronomic terms, none are bigger than Tokyo Midtown Hibiya, now home to the capital's outpost of Nanzenji Hyotei, one of Kyoto's most esteemed temples of kaiseki (traditional multicourse cuisine); Sushi Namba, whose original location in Asagaya remains one of the hottest tickets in town; refined soba noodles at Sobagami; and the plush new digs of Nihonryori RyuGin.