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Hotels’ helping hands, Cheers for cherries, Rooms to view the blooms

Kobe hotels offer a helping hand

Six hotels in Kobe — the Kobe Bay Sheraton Hotel & Towers; the Hotel Okura, Kobe; the Kobe Portopia Hotel; the Oriental Hotel; Kobe, the Kobe Meriken Park Oriental Hotel; and the ANA Crowne Plaza Kobe — will host a charity event titled “Kobe Six Hotels Grand Chefs’ Charity Lunch” from March 1 to May 6 in a bid to help orphans in the Tohoku region recover from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The Great Hanshin Earthquake struck Kobe in 1995, and the city took several years to get back on its feet again. In order to attract tourists to Kobe and to show gratitude for the support Kobe received from around the world following the quake, the six hotels established the annual event in 1999. In order to support another region hit by a major earthquake, chefs from the participating Kobe hotels will work together to offer special healthy lunches and unique cocktails at their restaurants, with a portion of the money generated going to Tohoku-related charities.

The lunches are ¥3,000 per person (¥4,500 for a full-course lunch) and cocktails are ¥800 each. Prices exclude tax and service charge. The 10 percent service charge on all meals and drinks will be donated to the Tokyo-based nonprofit organization Ashinaga to build a “Rainbow House” that will act as a support center for orphans.

For more information, call each hotel.

Cheers for cherries

The Hotel Century Southern Tower in Shinjuku is gearing up for the upcoming sakura, or cherry blossom, season with a lunch featuring seasonal ingredients at its French-themed restaurant Tribeks, from March 1 to April 15.

The lunch includes a smoked salmon and spaghetti salad and a choice of either fish (seasonal fish saute) or meat (grilled beef) as the main dish. Dessert will be white chocolate roll cake paired with sakura-flavored ice cream.

Additionally, customers can enjoy the all-you-can-eat buffet salad bar and the restaurant’s original cherry blossom-flavored tea or a cup of coffee.

Situated on the 20th floor of the hotel, the restaurant provides diners with a colorful view of Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, which is one of the more popular cherry blossom viewing spots in Tokyo.

Menu items are subject to change depending on availability.

The course will be available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for ¥2,940 per person in March and at ¥3,024 per person in April. Prices include tax, and there is no service charge for lunch.

A number of other accommodation and banquet plans that celebrate cherry blossoms will be offered throughout the hotel.

The Hotel Century Southern Tower is two minute’s walk from Shinjuku Station (various lines). For more information, call 03-5354-2177 or visit www.southerntower.co.jp .

Rooms with a bloom in Osaka

The Imperial Hotel, Osaka is once again offering its popular accommodation plan, which allows guests to enjoy a peaceful spring day in Osaka, from March 1 to April 30.

The hotel was established in Sakuranomiya, an area well-known for its magnificent cherry trees and the many visitors who come each spring for cherry blossom viewing. At Kema Sakuranomiya Park, people can take in the more than 4,500 cherry trees, while the Japan Mint is very popular for its cherry blossom “tunnel.”

After returning to the hotel, customers can enjoy the hotel’s original sakura cocktail, at either the Old Imperial Bar on the second floor, or the Rainbow Lounge on the 23rd floor.

The plan is available from ¥18,000 for a double occupancy room, including tax and service charge. The hotel will also provide a map of nearby cherry blossom viewing sites and customers can check in after 6 p.m.

Also, from March 28 to April 21, the hotel will offer a cruise on the Okawa River, which flows right past the hotel. On the boat, customers can enjoy meals while taking in the splendor of the lush green riverbanks.

The Imperial Hotel, Osaka is five minute’s walk from JR Sakuranomiya Station (complimentary shuttle bus available from JR Osaka Station). For more information, call 06-6881-4100 or visit www.imperialhotel.co.jp/j/osaka .