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Wagner-Verdi bicentennial celebration in Tokyo; Hakone for Valentine’s, White Day; strawberry buffet in Osaka

Wagner-Verdi 200th birthday event

The Park Hyatt Tokyo in Shinjuku will host the dinner reception Touches of Opera on Feb. 9 at The Ballroom on the hotel’s 39th floor. The event celebrates the bicentennial of the birth of two great composers — Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) and Richard Wagner (1813-1883), two giants of the classical music world who brought the art of opera to its highest expression in the 19th century.

Cocktails will start at 5:30 p.m. followed by a four-course dinner from 6 p.m. accompanied by vocal performances from operas composed by the Italian and German legends. Featured selections will include the Grand March from Wagner’s “Tannhäuser” and the famous drinking song from Verdi’s “La Traviata,” performed by Japanese soprano Ai Ichihara, Japanese-American tenor John Ken Nuzzo and the Tokyo Opera Singers.

The event costs ¥35,000 per person, including tax and a service charge. Reservations are required. The dress code is formal.

The Park Hyatt Tokyo is a 12-minute walk from Shinjuku Station and an 8-minute walk from Tochomae Station on the Toei Oedo Line. For more information and reservations, call (03) 5323-3456.

Hakone for Valentine’s, White Day

Due to its popularity last year, the Odakyu Hakone Highland Hotel will again offer a special accommodation plan for couples to celebrate Valentine’s Day as well as White Day.

The plan will be offered in two periods, from Feb. 8 to 17 for Valentine’s Day and from March 8 to 17 for White Day, the Japanese holiday in which men return the favor to women from whom they have received a Valentine’s Day gift.

The hotel is in the Owakudani volcanic gorge in Hakone, a hot springs resort area of Kanagawa Prefecture, and the plan includes extras such as a special dessert plate with the hotel’s original French-Japanese-style dinner and exclusive use of an open-air hot spring for 40 minutes.

For breakfast, guests can choose from French-Japanese or traditional Japanese dishes.

The plan is available from ¥16,150 per person for February and from ¥18,150 per person for March. Prices include taxes and a service charge.

The Odakyu Hakone Highland Hotel is a 25-minute bus ride from Hakone-Yumoto Station, which is around 85 minutes by Odakyu Romancecar from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo. For more information or reservations, call (0460) 84-8541 or visit www.odakyu-hotel.co.jp/highland .

New Otani Osaka strawberry buffet

The Hotel New Otani Osaka is holding a special sweets buffet featuring strawberries, playfully dubbed Strawberry Picking at the Hotel, at The Lounge in the hotel lobby, through March 31.

The buffet features various kinds of desserts made with strawberries, such as Swiss rolls, shortcakes, cookies, macaroons and tiramisu, as well as the hotel’s special napoleon pastry. Also, there is a tasting corner of strawberries from producers around Japan. The hotel’s own strawberry ice cream from name-brand produce is also available.

In addition, light foods such as American clubhouse sandwiches are offered.

The buffet is available from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at ¥3,800 per person (¥4,200 on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays), at ¥2,200 per elementary school student and ¥1,050 per child over 4. Prices include soft drinks (juice, coffee and tea), tax and a service charge.

The Hotel New Otani Osaka is a 3-minute walk from JR Osaka-jo Koen Station or Osaka Business Park Station on the subway. For more information, call (06) 6949-3276 or visit www.hotelnewotaniosaka.jp .