Green tea stands out as a champion of Japanese brews — none more so than the Kyoto strain uji-cha. Celebrating that splendor, Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo has teamed up with Kyoto’s historic Tsuji Rihei Honten tea shop to host its Premium Uji-cha Afternoon Tea.

Afternoon tea is served from noon to 6 p.m. at the hotel’s lobby lounge Le Jardin that overlooks the hotel’s regal Japanese garden. It is available until May 31 and costs ¥4,300, or ¥4,800 with a welcome drink upon arrival (welcome drink limited to 20 guests a day).

This collaborative effort, overseen by sixth-generation shop owner Shinsuke Tsuji, has produced a plethora of tea-inspired morsels for guests to experience the charming culinary creativity that has blossomed from the shop’s 159-year history.

Treats include matcha leaf and rum-raisin mini sandwiches, roasted green tea pudding and roasted rice tea scones, as well as accompanying delicacies such as yuzu citrus-flavored cream cheese quiches.

For teas, guests can savor karigane, a refined green tea made using tea stems during the plant’s dormant season, and kanrobi, a low-caffeine yet highly aromatic roasted green tea — both perfect examples of Tsuji Rihei Honten’s dedication to brewing excellence.

Hotel Chinzanso Tokyo is 10 minutes from Edogawabashi Station. For more information, visit hotel-chinzanso-tokyo.jp or call 03-3943-1111.

Reopening offers new look of timeless elegance

There’s nothing like a makeover to put a fresh spin on time-honored class. This fall, the main wing of Hotel Okura Tokyo will complete its four-year-long reconstruction, reopening on Sept. 12 as The Okura Tokyo.

Room and restaurant reservations are now being accepted for the two new buildings of The Okura Tokyo — the 17-story Okura Heritage Wing and the 41-story Okura Prestige Tower — both of which will feature their own ambience and artistic design.

Several commemorative accommodation packages are on offer through March next year, all at generous discount prices. Standing out among them is the 60-square-meter Heritage Room in the Okura Heritage Wing; limited to 10 reservations a day, this ¥80,000 package provides bed and breakfast for two along with access to the exclusive Club Lounge on the 37th floor of the Okura Prestige Tower.

For restaurants, guests will have their work cut out for them deciding between French, Chinese, teppanyaki iron grill, Japanese course cuisine and other culinary specialties. Reservations are expected to fill up fast, so guests are advised to save a spot now to experience the elegance of The Okura Tokyo for themselves.

The Okura Tokyo is 10 minutes from Toranomon, Kamiyacho, Tameike-sanno and Roppongi-itchome stations. For more information or reservations, visit www.hotelokura.co.jp/tokyo or call 03-3582-0111.

Take the edge off at this poolside beer garden

Nothing says summer like unwinding by the poolside with refreshing beverages and delectable dining.

From May 10 to July 7, the Hotel New Otani Osaka will host a beer garden at its poolside restaurant, The Terrace, where, between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. (last entry at 8:30 p.m.), guests can enjoy 90-minute sessions of free-flowing beverages (¥2,800 per person). Situated on the hotel’s rooftop, the poolside features a stunning view of Osaka Castle, which is brilliantly illuminated at night.

The view of the castle only serves to enhance the poolside setting, where LED lighting brightens the pool surface and surrounding area. The Terrace features a variety of entertainment, including amusements such as Ping-Pong and darts, as well as live jazz performances every Friday. The restaurant has also prepared deck chairs to heighten the summer mood.

The rooftop restaurant menu features 15 delicacies, including a 300 gram beef fillet steak, mozzarella cheese with cherry tomatoes, ham with caponata (a relish of chopped eggplant and assorted vegetables), french fries with truffle salt and a double patty burger. The drink menu offers 20 beverages, including whisky and cocktails such as tequila sunrise, passoa, gin and tonic, gin rickey and the restaurant’s staple rum-based cocktail.

Hotel New Otani Osaka is three minutes from JR Osaka-jo Koen Station. For more information, visit https://www.newotani.co.jp/en/osaka/ or call 06-6941-1111.

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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