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High-class Tokyo hotel launches 'futuristic' lantern dining to beat coronavirus

People enjoy a meal without masks in soft light under transparent lanterns at the Hoshinoya Tokyo resort hotel in the capital's Chiyoda Ward on Oct. 19, 2021. (Mainichi/Kimi Takeuchi)

TOKYO -- A high-end resort hotel in Tokyo has come up with a unique way to enable diners to enjoy meals while offering protection against the coronavirus -- by covering them with transparent lanterns.

    Hoshinoya Tokyo, located in the Otemachi district of the capital's Chiyoda Ward, launched its "Tokyo lantern dinner" service on Oct. 13. An image of people dining under the lanterns posted on the hotel's Instagram account had earned over 7,600 likes as of the morning of Oct. 21, with people commenting that the partitions had a "sci-fi feel," were "futuristic," and "had a strong impact."

    The hotel, operated by Hoshino Resorts Inc., had limited use of dining spaces to guests staying at the hotel as a measure to protect against the spread of the virus, but it devised the lanterns in line with its approach of offering out-of-the-ordinary services to provide spaces where people could eat without wearing masks. Guests staying at the hotel who pay a 30,000 yen venue charge can invite others from outside to dine with them under the partitions. Usage of the "lantern dinner" service is limited to one group per day.

    The lanterns were produced by traditional Kyoto lantern shop Kojima Shouten. They are 102 centimeters tall and 75 centimeters in diameter, and because they are collapsible, it is easy to get under them. They have 0.15 mm thick plastic on the front to stop droplet transmission, and are open at the back to allow air to pass in. The dining space, measuring about 40 square meters, is ventilated five times or more each hour. The hotel says it is easy for people under the lanterns to hear each other.

    (Japanese original by Kimi Takeuchi, Photo Group)

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