Travel | HOTELS & RESTAURANTS

Cultural immersion through dance, festivities

The Shiba Park Hotel, located near Tokyo Tower in Shiba Park, Minato Ward, is inviting overseas guests to enjoy Japanese culture and customs at a Bon odori festival that will be held at Zojoji Temple on July 27 and 28.

Bon odori is the Japanese traditional dance where participants in yukata (summer kimono) dance around a yagura drum tower originally designed to calm ancestral spirits, but nowadays is enjoyed as a recreational event.

At the event, hotel staff in yukata will introduce Bon customs and — if guests desire — escort participants to the festival. Those staying at the hotel can take part in the event free of charge, while taking in the night view of Tokyo Tower and the energetic spirit of Bon odori.

The hotel staff hopes that all guests will enjoy experiencing some of Japan’s seasonal culture and customs, and that they can create many unforgettable memories at the festival during their visit to Tokyo.

Shiba Park Hotel is two minutes from Onarimon Station, four minutes from Daimon Station or eight minutes from JR Hamamatsucho Station North Exit. For more information, access en.shibaparkhotel.com or call 03-3433-4141.

Matcha-flavored delights and afternoon tea

Matcha lovers can indulge in matcha-flavored sweets at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo’s French Kitchen, with its afternoon tea buffet until July 31.

Renowned for its numerous health benefits, matcha features a distinctive balance between bitterness and a lingering sweetness that can be enjoyed from the buffet menu’s matcha-infused dishes, such as eclairs, roll cakes, tiramisu, brulee, tarts and floats. The buffet will also feature a selection of subtly sweet and aromatic desserts made with Uji matcha from Kyoto.

To balance out the sweetness, diners can enjoy savory dishes including house-smoked salmon and dill cucumber wraps, spinach and bacon quiches and shrimp avocado cocktails accompanied by a choice of one of three organic teas such as the award-winning passion fruit jasmine black tea from Art of Tea, a Los Angeles-based premium organic brand.

The buffet is available at ¥3,800 on weekdays, and ¥4,200 on weekends and holidays. Guests can order a glass or free-flow of Champagne for an additional fee.

Grand Hyatt Tokyo is three minutes from Roppongi Station. For more information, visit tokyo.grand.hyatt.jp or call 03-4333-1234.

Restaurants unveil vegan-friendly plans

The InterContinental Yokohama Grand is now offering a brand new menu for all overnight plans until March 31.

Prices vary, but the plan starts at ¥16,500 per person and includes accommodation, dinner and breakfast the following morning.

The new dinner course menu dubbed Oriental Vegan includes dishes crafted primarily from vegetables and soybeans, and are guaranteed to be free of meat, seafood, egg, dairy, honey and the five gokun vegetables (green onions, leeks, garlic, shallots and chives). 
These five vegetables are avoided by most sects of Japanese Buddhism for spiritual health, among other reasons. Guests can choose between the following restaurants: Azur (French), Karyu (Chinese), La Vela (Italian) or the dine-in room service course to partake in the extravagant vegan-friendly dinner.

Visitors who eat egg, dairy or gokun vegetables can switch to the Oriental vegetarian course that is also readily available at any of the three restaurants for an additional ¥1,782.

All dinner courses are seasonally crafted and include vegan wine or aromatic tea to kick off the evening, with an exclusive veggie smoothie served with the hotel breakfast. Reservations are required.

The InterContinental Yokohama Grand is two minutes from Minatomirai Station or 10 minutes from Sakuragicho Station. For more information or reservations, visit www.interconti.co.jp or call 045-223-2267.