The Sotoroku Special Assortment Box Lunch Photo: Mai Shoji

West meets East in gourmet and hotel biz

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By Mai Shoji

In order to cope with the increasing inbound accommodation ahead of the upcoming Rugby World Cup and next year’s Tokyo Olympics, more hotels are opening in the capital. The Blossom Hibiya, a new upscale hotel, debuted on Aug 20 in the Imperial Palace neighborhood.

Photo: Mai Shoji

JR Kyushu Hotels has moved beyond their home ground to realize their second project in Tokyo. Already attracting an increasing number of foreign guests, the hotel has 255 rooms including universal access chambers for guests with disabilities. A large installation of flower arrangements welcomes travelers to the grand lobby. A cashless system and touch panel check-in monitors are available while friendly receptionists are ready to help with a smile.

Photo: Mai Shoji

On the 18th gateway floor of the 27-story stylish hotel is the restaurant Sotoroku, which opened on Aug 29. Stillfoods Inc, responsible for the establishment of many restaurants serving Western cuisine across Japan, such as 37 Steakhouse & Bar and Roti, has made a leap to carry out its first-ever washoku endeavor. The name of the restaurant is dedicated to the 16th of October - the date Stillfoods was founded - read in a twisted phonetic subscript.


The contemporary space with traditional Japanese motifs welcomes you with natural light through the floor-to-ceiling windows. The dining area seats 80 and the bar area 22, with a private room overlooking the panoramic greenery of Hibiya Park.

Sotoroku's open kitchen Photo: Mai Shoji

View of the Tokyo skyline Photo: Mai Shoji

Shigekazu Suzuki, president of Stillfoods, comes from a family business of the well-established ryotei (high-class traditional Japanese restaurant) Takaraya in Kisarazu, Chiba Prefecture, which has a 120-year history. With that in the background, Sotoroku has incorporated a menu from distinguished items handed down from the Meiji era. Their famous Asari Clam Set consisting of local clam tempura and miso soup is available exclusively here in Tokyo.

Asari clam tempura Photo: Mai Shoji

Much of the other local ingredients are from Kyushu, as befitting the founder of the hotel. Simmered Miyazaki Wagyu, Lotus Root & Green Pepper in Sweet Soy Sauce is quite a delicacy and an irresistible match with ultra dry sake.

Simmered Miyazaki Wagyu, Lotus Root & Green Pepper in Sweet Soy Sauce Photo: Mai Shoji

Ultra Dry Sake goes well with the appetizers. Photo: Mai Shoji

The entree has all the best essence of washoku with superlative broth, just the right balance of sweetness and seasoning, and all ingredients coated by wagyu’s rich savor. The soba is an original creation of Kyushu blend of buckwheat flour from Oita, Miyazaki, and Kagoshima prefectures.

The featured menu Sotoroku Special Assortment Box Lunch (¥4,200) evokes the taste of Kyushu all together with assorted tempura, four kinds of sashimi, assorted bolis, assorted a la carte, vinegar vegetables, dressed vegetables, boiled rice & buckwheat in tea, miso soup, steamed egg custard and pickles.

Surprising for a luxury hotel, lunch sets start from a reasonable ¥1,280. Dinner courses can be chosen from three selections including an eight-course one for ¥5,600.

The bar counter Photo: Mai Shoji

Sake lovers should make use of the sake bar counter after work or for aperitifs with a separate bar menu. An original thirst-quenching cocktail, Kyushu Yuzu Honey Royal, adds a touch to celebrate the glorifying discovery of a brand-new Tokyoite hangout.

The private dining room has a great view of Hibiya Park.

Address: The Blossom Hibiya 18F, 1-1-13 Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Access: 3-minute walk from Uchisaiwaicho or 6-minute walk from Hibiya Subway Station.

Tel: 03-3519-8116


Breakfast 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Lunch 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Dinner 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.


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I'm always looking for a new place to stay every time I visit Tokyo. This will surely be on my short list. Thanks for the post!!!

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