The Hilton Tokyo will host two countdown parties on New Year’s Eve to welcome in 2010: the Salsa Countdown Party and the Champagne Countdown Party.

For the salsa party, the Marble Lounge in the hotel’s atrium lobby will be turned into a dance hall from 8 p.m., with Latin rhythms provided by a DJ and professional dance performances. Including unlimited beverages and toshikoshi (year crossing) noodles, which are traditionally eaten in Japan on New Year’s Eve, the party costs ¥5,500 per person.

The champagne party kicks off at St. George’s Bar at 9 p.m. Starting with a welcome glass of Dom Perignon, guests can enjoy unlimited beverages, including Moet & Chandon, and a special buffet featuring roast carved meats, sushi and toshikoshi noodles, with festive live music celebrating the new year. The party runs through 2 a.m. and costs ¥21,000 per person.

The Hilton Tokyo is a two-minute walk from Exit C8 of Nishi-Shinjuku Station or a 10-minute walk from the West Exit of Shinjuku Station. For more information or reservations, call (03) 3344-5111.

Akasaka Rikyu Christmas

Akasaka Rikyu in Ginza, Tokyo, renowned for its traditional Cantonese menus, will serve Christmas lunch and dinner courses from Dec. 18 to 25.

Akasaka Rikyu in Ginza is an outlet of the main Akasaka Rikyu restaurant in Akasaka and has become popular among the capital’s gourmands for owner-chef Hikoaki Tan’s use of milder, healthier seasoning and less oil, which meets Japanese people’s taste preferences.

In addition to its specialties, including roasted and barbecued dishes, shark fin entrees and other seafood dishes, the restaurant offers a range of Tan’s original menus, in a relaxed yet elegant setting that employs Siheyuan Chinese historical residential architecture.

To create the wholesome dishes, Tan features seasonal Japanese ingredients, which he favors for their nutritional quality. Ingredients are sourced from the best production areas around the nation, from Okinawa to Hokkaido, and they include oysters from the Sanriku coast, soft-shell turtles from Saga and Ezo abalone from Hokkaido.

The seven-dish Christmas lunch course is ¥7,350 and the eight-dish Christmas dinner course is ¥15,750 per person, and both include a complementary glass of sparkling wine.

To accompany the meals, the restaurant offers a wide selection of drinks, including more than 100 kinds of wines, Chinese rice wine and Chinese tea.

With private rooms that can accommodate two to 35 people, the restaurant is an ideal setting for business meetings, a romantic date, family events or large private parties.

For yearend and New Year’s parties, the restaurant has two-hour plans with unlimited drinks at ¥10,000 and ¥12,000 per person (available for six people or more).

Akasaka Rikyu Ginza is located at Koujun Building 5F, 6-8-7, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, a three-minute walk from Ginza Station’s Exit A2. For details and reservations, call (03) 3569-2882.

Santa, Mrs. Claus head for Osaka

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be bringing Christmas joy to children and families in Osaka when they take up residence at the ANA Crowne Plaza Osaka hotel from Dec. 12 through Dec. 25.

“Santa Charlie,” Charles Markey, and “Mrs. Claus,” Vicki Cook-Markey, graduates of the prestigious Charles W. Howard Santa School, have for more than a decade visited thousands of children and their families in the United States and around the world.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in the hotel’s lobby, filled with Christmas decorations and live music, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. each day to hear hotel guest and area children’s holiday wishes.

They will also appear at the hotel’s restaurants and visit some guest rooms to deliver gifts.

The ANA Crowne Plaza Osaka is a three-minute walk from Kita Shinchi Station or a five-minute walk from Yodoyabashi Station. For more information, call (06) 6347-1112.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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