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Friday, April 1, 2011


Dining with a twist of cherry

Marking the arrival of the sakura season, the Tokyo Prince Hotel is holding a Cherry Blossom Festival through April 17.

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The hotel's restaurants and lounges allow guests to enjoy cherry blossom-viewing parties as they look out on 150 cherry trees in bloom in the garden as well as 500 trees in neighboring Shiba Park, one of the capital's major viewing spots, against the stunning backdrop of Tokyo Tower.

At buffet restaurant Porto on the third floor, there are 50 dishes, including Japanese, Western and Chinese food, using seasonal ingredients, such as sakura-ebi (stardust shrimp), cherry salmon and sakura-dai (red sea bream). The buffet lunch is available from 11:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. and costs ¥2,630 per person for 90 minutes.

Japanese restaurant Shimizu on the first floor is offering colorful lunch boxes at ¥2,800 and ¥3,500.

At Garden Islands Beer Restaurant in the hotel's front garden, outdoor and indoor parties are available at ¥6,500 per person. And tea salon Pikake on the first floor is serving various desserts featuring cherry blossoms.

The Tokyo Prince Hotel is a 1-minute walk from Onarimon Station or a 10-minute walk from JR Hamamatsucho Station. For more details and reservations, call (03) 3432-1111.

Kohaku macaroon celebration

Through April 28, the Hotel New Otani Tokyo is offering special kohaku (red and white) macaroons, to celebrate the coming of spring at its patisserie Satsuki.

Patissier Shinsuke Nakajima has created two kinds of macaroon that incorporate the colors red and white which represent celebration in Japan.

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The red macaroons feature sakura, a symbol of spring, and are based on Japanese confectionery sakura-mochi (cherry blossom rice cake), with sakura liqueur and red bean paste inside; and the white macaroons use sake lees. Hence, the macaroon combine elemnts of Japanese and Western confectionery. The macaroons come five in a box at ¥1,365.

In spring, many people begin a new phase of their life with something to celebrate, such as graduation, a job transfer or a promotion. The hotel suggests that its macaroons would make an ideal gift on such an occasion, and, that they'd be welcome at an hanami (flower-viewing party).

The Hotel New Otani Tokyo is a 3-minute walk from Nagatacho or Akasaka-Mitsuke stations. For more details, call (03) 3221-7252.

Eat dinner, save Tohoku

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Through April 10, Crayonhouse, a bookstore that targets children and women, and also sells toys and organic foods, is offering a special meal at the store's restaurant Hiroba (The Square) in Tokyo to support the relief efforts in northeast Japan.

Using organic ingredients and comprising traditional Japanese dishes, such as rice cooked with bamboo shoots, baked tofu with miso, sliced raw tuna meat, boiled and seasoned vegetables and soup with minced shrimp balls, the special meal is named Sora Yori Takaku (Higher Than the Sky) after the title of a song produced by Crayonhouse in 1990, praising the loftiness of the human soul.

Following the recent catastrophic earthquake and tsunami, a nursery school teacher in Iwate Prefecture sent a recording of the song performed by her young students to the local radio station, which says the song has received requests from listeners in the afflicted areas within the prefecture.

The special meal is available from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. and is priced at ¥1,890 per person, with a portion of proceeds going to the devastated areas.

Crayonhouse is a 5-minute walk from Omotesando Station. For more information, call (03) 3406-6308 or visit www.crayonhouse.co.jp.

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