The significance of a new decade cannot be understated, and the Royal Park Hotel is pulling out all the stops to ring in the New Year — and 2020s — with a series of events and meals.

Offering a focus on family-friendly food and fun; mochi (glutinous rice cake) pounding; traditional osechi (celebratory New Year’s food); a New Year’s buffet featuring Western, Japanese and Chinese cuisines; a fair with activities that harken back to the days of old; and fukubukuro (lucky bags) are some events on offer on Jan. 1, 2 and 3.

Visit the hotel on Jan. 1 and partake in a traditional osechi meal (7 to 10:30 a.m., last order 10 a.m; ¥6,655 per person, taxes and charges included), where carefully curated dishes signify elements such as wishing for good health, prosperity and happiness. Follow the celebratory meal with a visit to a free mochi pounding display at the hotel’s first floor lobby (11 to 11:30 a.m., 2 to 2:30 p.m.), before rounding out the day with a visit to the ennichi fair (10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Jan. 1 and 2) where visitors can play various games and watch a lion dance and other performances (11:30 a.m to 12:15 p.m.; 5 to 5:45 p.m.) make for vibrant start to the new decade.

The Royal Park Hotel is directly connected to Suitengumae Station. For more information or reservations, visit www2.rph.co.jp/en or call 03-3667-1111.

Anniversary brings in new tropical dishes

Tokyo old-timers and newcomers alike will find much to commemorate at the Polynesian-influenced Trader Vic’s at the Hotel New Otani Tokyo, which is offering new menus from Jan. 6 to mark the restaurant’s 45th anniversary.

Renowned for its tiki bar-like interiors, Trader Vic’s opened in Tokyo in 1974 and the 28-restaurant chain’s founder, Victor Bergeron, is renowned for creating the mai tai cocktail, a heady but tropically inspired blend of rum, Curacao liqueur, orgeat syrup and lime juice.

Chef Masato Hamada brings Japanese sensibilities to the fore but pays tribute to the restaurant’s Polynesian-Hawaiian origins, offering a 45th Anniversary All in Pupus Platter (¥3,600, tax and service charges extra), pupus signifying hot or cold and typically bite-sized finger foods.

The 45th Anniversary Land & Sea combination plate (¥10,000, tax and service charges extra), meanwhile, sees a menu fixture from when the restaurant first opened, Fillet Malagasy appear alongside a spiny lobster dish accented with truffle sauce, among other items.

The Hotel New Otani Tokyo is three minutes from Nagatacho or Akasaka-Mitsuke stations. For reservations, visit https://www.newotani.co.jp/en/tokyo/restaurant/vics/ or call 03-3265-4707 for further event details.

Indulge in sweet and savory strawberry delights

Strawberry shortcake, strawberry roll cake, strawberry smoothies, strawberry Danishes, strawberry croissants, and, of course, fresh strawberries are but a few of around 30 items to be indulged in at ANA Crowne Plaza Kobe’s dessert buffet, Strawberry fields by Thomas from Jan. 10 to May 10, 2020.

Guests can be welcomed by a butler into this playful strawberry wonderland pervaded by the fragrant smells of desserts by pastry chef Thomas Ernst and decorated by a strawberry mascot, macaron tower and an illustration by artist Royi Akavia, which provides the perfect backdrop for photos.

After receiving a tapioca cheese tea or strawberry sandwich, guests can choose from not only sweet, but also savory items. These include strawberry risotto, spareribs prepared with strawberries, chicken sauteed with basil and strawberries.

This strawberry lovers’ paradise is open on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 3 to 5 p.m. at the hotel’s fourth-floor casual dining restaurant The Terrace. The buffet is ¥4,500 for adults and ¥2,250 for children between 4 and 12.

ANA Crowne Plaza Kobe is directly connected to Shin Kobe Station. For more information and reservations, visit https://www.anacrowneplaza-kobe.jp/en/topics/restaurants/strawberry_buffet/ or call 078-291-1163 (The Terrace).

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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