Travel | HOTELS & RESTAURANTS

Relish traditional meals and hot springs

With its rich history and intricate customs, kaiseki — a traditional multicourse meal — offers many discoveries. Hotel Hatsuhana in Hakone is currently offering guests the chance to savor and learn about authentic traditional dining with its kaiseki course and overnight plan.

Available from Jan. 7 to Mar. 19, the overnight package plan with dinner and breakfast (starting from ¥19,950 per person for a four-person room and ¥24,950 per person for a two-person room) features the Hatsuhana kaiseki dinner course, which includes traditional delicacies, simmered foods, sashimi, and flame-broiled fish rich in seasonal flavors that elegantly unfold like a picture scroll. While relishing delectable flavors, guests will learn about kaiseki customs and etiquette from specialists. After dinner, guests can delight in matcha desserts and a variety of traditional confections.

Rounding out the overnight plan is access to the hotel’s refreshing alkaline hot spring, consisting of seven baths and a spa for women. A complete package of food, culture, and relaxation, Hotel Hatsuhana’s kaiseki course and overnight plan is the perfect opportunity to explore the depths of traditional Japanese cuisine and luxury.

Hotel Hatsuhana is 10 minutes by bus (free shuttle available) from Hakone-Yumoto Station, which is 85 minutes on the Odakyu Romancecar express train from Shinjuku Station. For more information, visit www.odakyu-hotel.co.jp/hatsuhana or call 0460-85-7321.

A wonderland of fantastical sweets

A captivating world of sweets awaits guests on Tokyo bay. On select days between Feb. 6 and Mar. 27, the InterContinental Tokyo Bay will host a special sweets buffet series inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at the Park Lane restaurant on the third floor.

“Alice’s Sweet Tea Party: Strawberry and Chocolate World and Lunch Buffet” (available from noon to 2 p.m. on select days for ¥4,500 per person) brings to life a sweet, fantastic world of chocolate and strawberries. Surrounded by charming, thematic props, sweets include the mad hatter’s chocolate cake, the caterpillar’s chocolate mousse and lush strawberry confections. The lunch menu offers a balanced selection of appetizers, soups, sandwiches, gratin and curry.

Also, to commemorate the time around Valentine’s Day, the hotel will host an interactive workshop on Feb. 20 (sweets and lunch buffet on this day will be ¥5,000 per person), where attendees can learn how to make iced cookies from executive pastry chef Junji Tokunaga, the mastermind behind this grand collection of sweets.

The InterContinental Tokyo Bay Hotel is adjacent to Takeshiba Station or eight minutes from Hamamatsucho Station. For more information or reservations, visit www.interconti-tokyo.com or call 03-5404-2222.

Delight in a grand buffet of strawberries

It’s that time of year again, berry lovers — ANA Crowne Plaza Osaka is putting on the Saga Strawberry Fair, its popular annual buffet event celebrating all things strawberry.

Hosted by the hotel’s first-floor Lobby Lounge, this order-style buffet is available by reservation from Jan. 5 to May 6. It is served from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and in three, two-hour time slots from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends and holidays.

Priced at ¥3,800 per person, the buffet features 20 delectable types of strawberries straight from the farms of Saga Prefecture. Guests can get their fill of the highly rated Saga Honoka and the newly developed Ichigosan, the prefecture’s first new variety in over 20 years.

These strawberries and many others have been crafted into a myriad of delicious creations. Examples include Ichigosan mousse and shortcakes, Saga Honoka and matcha green tea parfaits, raspberry eclairs and roll cakes, as well as madeleines using Saga’s famous Ureshino tea.

Guests will also be served a selection of black teas from TWG Tea — the perfect accompaniment to the sweet decadence of Saga’s strawberries.

The ANA Crowne Plaza Osaka is five minutes from Kitashinchi Station. For more information or reservations, visit www.anacrowneplaza-osaka.jp or call 06-6347-1112.