It’s summer gift-giving season, known as ochugen, in Japan right now. And if you’re looking for an unusual, outside-the-box gift we have the perfect answer for you. Kagurazaka Saitou is a new shop that opened recently in the Tokyo neighborhood of Kagurazaka and they specialize in one thing and one thing alone: karaage, or fried chicken. And it’s the most-beautifully packaged fried chicken we’ve ever seen.
Kagurazaka Saitou elevates fried chicken to an art: one that is gift-appropriate even for your most-special friends and acquaintances. Even the experience of walking into the store feels polished and refined. Everything is made to order so your finger-lickin chicken is always fresh. You can also order online and then walk in and pick up your order!
The 9-piece set (pictured above) goes for 2000 yen while the 6-piece wing set (pictured below) goes for 1200 yen. Quite reasonable, in our humble opinion!
Saitou Karaage’s storefront in Kagurazaka
Saitou Karaage’s minimal interior
Gift giving is ingrained in Japanese culture and there are two major seasons for it. Ochugen, which happens around mid-July, is one of them while the other is Oseibo, at the end of the year. Ochugen is derived from the ceremonial day of Taoism on July 15th, a tradition that merged with Buddhism to create what is a show of appreciation to those who helped or supported you during the first half of the year. The gifts are usually edible like seasonal fruits or wagashi treats.
But remember–the beautiful thing is that the emphasis is not on the gift itself, but rather the act of giving. The value of the gift is of less importance than the presentation and thoughtfulness in which it is presented.