Lets go to Osaka for dinner next week !

By HK Lawyer AJ Halkes Barrister-at-Law

Osaka Castle

Should we try Japan next week for dinner and is it cheaper than staying in Hong Kong for a couple of Omakase nights out? 

Some in the Japanese dining trade in Hong Kong are complaining that it is now “worse than during the pandemic” : that comment appeared in the press recently in relation to restaurants at the higher end of dining … “omakase” : where a high end set meal experience is offered at the discretion of the chef.  Ray Chui Man-Wai of the institute of Dining Art (Link) has estimated that around 30 percent of the Japanese restaurants in Hong Kong have closed since the beginning of the year; not all will be high end outlets.

Putting aside the question of if that figure is correct or not, the number of Japanese restaurants in Hong Kong has clearly reduced but it’s a lot harder to tell if the trend has been worse for them than the on-going trend of closures across the whole F&B sector; or if any import ban on food is in fact even responsible.

For fun, or perhaps more importantly to understand the reality, let’s just cost out a (virtual) two night trip to Japan and find out what the numbers look like. 

Because … if you intend to have a quality Japanese dining experience, and you have a bit of time on your hands; a budget flight to Japan with a mid-week stay might be the smartest move; so why would you stay in Hong Kong?

I’m assuming  breakfast, lunch and the miscellaneous cost of moving around in Japan by train or transit systems will be similar to Hong Kong (and breakfast may even be included at your hotel) leaving a flight, costs of accommodation and a couple of evenings of great Omakase dining to calculate.

I have chosen two “Michelin mentioned” restaurants in Osaka and excluded any drinks which on a like-for-like comparison would also be the same, or cheaper, in Japan.

Your Japan trip:

Return flight to Osaka on Hong Kong Airlines or Hong Kong Express

Under HK$ 2,000

Hotel mid-range  : 2 nights 

Total HK$ 2,000

Night one :

Hozenji Sushi Dokoro Nakatani 

¥ 25,000  – HK$ 1,320


Night two: 

Sushi Kuroshio Kaiko

Omakase special Christmas meal at 

¥ 22,000 – HK $1,160


 Adjusted HK$ 6,480 

Let’s now look at two quality Omakase meals in Hong Kong using Tatler (Link) for a couple of recommendations one in Kowloon and the other on Hong Kong Island.


Night One: 

The Akari Tsim Sha Tsui 

HK$ 4,000 + 10% service charge 

Night Two :

Kanesaka Central 

HK$3,500 + 10% service charge 

Total HK$ 8,250

Little wonder then that Hong Kong is facing a crisis in terms of the ability of some Japanese F&B operators to survive if it is now almost 25% cheaper to travel to Japan for an authentic Omakase experience for a couple of nights and have money to spare; than to just hop down the street locally. 

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