A once-in-a-lifetime strawberry opportunity is the title and promise of the 2020 edition of Hilton Tokyo Odaiba’s popular strawberry dessert buffet from Jan. 6 to May 8.

The utensils are multitiered Japanese lunch boxes and chopsticks, while offerings include strawberry roll cake in the shape of onigiri (rice balls) and a savory strawberry and Japanese omelet sandwich. This is all part of the theme — strawberries and Japan.

Some desserts play on the design of Japanese food such as the cream puffs inspired by takoyaki (octopus dumplings). In others, traditional ingredients are merged with the heart-shaped fruit. These include the strawberry, bean paste and sweet dumpling dessert and a green tea and strawberry roll cake.

Guests can indulge at the Seascape Terrace Dining buffet every day either from 2:45 to 4:15 p.m. or from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Prices without tax and service charge are ¥3,500 for adults, ¥2,500 for seniors age 65 and over and ¥2,100 for children on weekdays. On weekends and public holidays, adults are ¥4,200 and children are ¥2,400. In February, a ¥7,500 multiple entry ticket will be available.

Hilton Tokyo Odaiba is directly connected to Daiba Station. For reservations and further information, visit www.hiltonodaiba.jp/plans/restaurants/5951 or call 03-5500-5580.

Indulge in a variety of New Year’s traditions

Inspired by traditions from both near and far, The Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu is welcoming 2020 with a mochi (glutinous rice cake) pounding event; a lucky bag lottery, boasting a luxurious hotel stay as the prize; or a galette des rois, a French cake traditionally served in January. The hotel’s version is comprised of puff pastry with a rich buttery filling and contains a hazelnut.

Jan. 1 events are open to the public. Catch a joyous and festive lion dance and see the effort put into mochi pounding (various sessions available) and traditional music performances celebrating the new decade.

Those in the mood to flirt with lady luck can purchase a hotel fukubukuro lucky bag between Jan. 1 and 11. So-called Diamond and Platinum bags are on sale for a fraction of their contents’ price, the prizes being accommodation and dining vouchers for the hotel’s highly acclaimed restaurants.

Winner or not, visitors can always indulge in purchasing a pastry or two from the second-floor Somerhouse lounge. Note that reservations are required to purchase one of the limited galette des rois (¥2,500 including consumption tax), on sale until Jan. 31.

The Yokohama Bay Hotel Tokyu is one minute from Minatomirai Station. For more information or reservations, visit ybht.co.jp or call 045-682-2222.

130th anniversary, renewal in store for 2020

If walls could talk, The Westin Miyako Kyoto would have plenty of stories to tell. One of Kyoto’s oldest Western-style hotels, this “Queen of Elegance” has noble Japanese teahouse origins and former guests include dignitaries such as Princess Diana and former U.S. President George H.W. Bush.

A grand dame of accommodations, the hotel is celebrating its 130th anniversary in 2020 and is undergoing a major renovation with redesigns of public and other spaces. Of note is a new spa drawing upon local hot spring waters. Average room sizes are increased and interiors are reworked with an emphasis on wood to evoke the surrounding Higashiyama mountain range.

A special celebratory castella sponge pound cake has been released to coincide with this event. One version of the rich yet simple sweet is accented with local Uji matcha, lending a faint aroma and refreshing bitterness. The other is decorated with gold leaf. Available for takeout only and with a shelf life of four days, expect to pay ¥5,400 for a full-sized cake and ¥3,024 for half (tax included).

The Westin Miyako Kyoto is two minutes from Keage Station on the Kyoto metro Tozai and Karasuma lines. A shuttle bus service is available from Kyoto Station. For more information or reservations, visit https://www.miyakohotels.ne.jp/westinkyoto/english/index.html or call 075-771-7111.

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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