Hearty home cooking at a reasonable price

To celebrate next year’s 60th anniversary, the Ootoya chain has renewed its first restaurant in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district.

Ootoya Shokudo diner was opened in 1958, the same year the construction of Tokyo Tower was completed. The restaurant aimed to provide home-style cooking just like mom used to make at a reasonable price. Though times have changed, Ootoya continues to serve authentic Japanese home cooking, with hearty meals available for less than ¥1,000.

Since its creation, Ootoya has grown from a single diner in Ikebukuro to a worldwide Japanese set-meal restaurant chain. Its delicious food can be enjoyed in Japan, the U.S., Southeast Asia and beyond. Ootoya’s aim is to have 200 restaurants worldwide.

Although the locations of the restaurants have changed, the great taste has stayed the same thanks to the traditional menu and the way the ingredients are prepared. Each meal is created at the restaurant from scratch after an order is placed. The ingredients are freshly washed, peeled, marinated, grated and shaved. Even tofu is prepared on-site from 100 percent Hokkaido Toyomasari soybeans. And the result is healthy, delicious and filling meals.

The Ikebukuro restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

For more information, call 0422-26-2603 or visit www.ootoya.com.

Enjoying barbecue, beer and green summer views

The Tokyo Prince Hotel has opened the Forest Beer Garden at its open-air Garden Islands beer restaurant for the summer.

As well as a variety of mouthwatering set courses,  guests can enjoy watching the action in the open kitchen as their meal is prepared, while taking in the spectacular views of Shiba Park through Sept. 22.

The newest addition to the menu is the Kobe Beef and Spiny Lobster Premium Set (¥32,500). The set also includes king crab, red king crab and abalone, as well as cauliflower blancmange and vegetable consomme jelly accompanied by caviar. The premium set is limited to 10 people a day and reservations are required five days in advance.

In addition to the premium set, three other sets are available, ranging in price from ¥6,800 to ¥15,000. Each set offers different kinds of meat such as Japanese beef ham (minute steak), Australian beef sirloin, pork shoulder roast and American beef tongue, as well as scallops, squid skewers, boiled snow crab, various vegetables and yakisoba noodles with three sauces. The sets can be enjoyed for two hours every day between 5:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.

The Tokyo Prince Hotel is one minute from Onarimon Station or seven minutes from Daimon Station. For more information, call 03- 5400-1170 or visit www.princehotels.co.jp/special/restaurant/beergarden.

Staying cool in summer with traditional clothing

The Rihga Royal Hotel Tokyo’s Japanese summer accommodation plan, from July 1 to Sept. 30, promises couples an unforgettable experience.

Guests for the Summer Date Stay plan are presented  with yukata for women, jinbei short jacket and trousers for men, and a traditionally patterned handkerchief in vibrant colors that can be taken home. In addition, the hotel’s beauty salon will be on hand to help women to create that stunning look for a perfect date. The hotel also offers guests  kitsuke, or help putting on yukata, the perfect costume for the plan’s summer festival with fireworks at nearby Kagurazaka.

The price per night in a double room starts from ¥36,000, with an extra ¥3,000 (per person) on Fridays and an extra ¥5,000 (per person) on days before holidays. Tax and service charge are included.

Kitsuke is ¥5,400 per person, with hairstyling from ¥8,460 and up and an additional ¥4,000 for gel nails. Reservations for the plan are required at least three days in advance.

The Rihga Royal Hotel Tokyo is seven minutes from Waseda Station or 10 minutes on the hotel’s shuttle bus from Takadanobaba Station. For more information or reservations, call 03-5285-1121 or visit www.rihga.com/tokyo.

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