Hotels in Osaka, Kobe, and Kyoto Reopen Buffet Style Meals With Safety Protocols in Place

Would you dine at these restaurants knowing they've made it a safe space for you?


When the new coronavirus or COVID-19 broke out, buffet style meals at restaurants and hotels have been self-restrained to prevent the spread of the global pandemic. But recently, these buffet style meals have been reopened by some hotels with some new measures in place. This includes internationally recognized hygiene standards and introducing an à la carte option in some restaurants. Here are some of the initiatives in some of the leading hotels in Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto plus what people think about this new normal.


InterContinental Hotel Osaka
collaborates with an internationally renowned specialist in hygiene


Noka Roast & Grill
, on the 20th floor of InterContinental Hotel Osaka, is a venue which offers modern cuisine in a stylish setting with a dynamic view of Osaka. Here they have introduced QR codes so that guests can view the menu from their own phone instead of from the carte. They have also brought in hygiene specialists to implement international standard in their safety measures.


Spend a fine time in a sophisticated urban mood (InterContinental Hotel Osaka)


The order style has also been reformed. Usually, guests would be going around to get their dishes from the buffet spread but now, they may choose one main dish from the options and the restaurant staff will serve them at the table. The entrée and dessert which guests could previously prepare themselves at the buffet are now provided by the staff per person, too.  The guest can ask the staff for extra helpings.


Introduced QR codes that allow you to check the menu with your own smartphone (InterContinental Hotel Osaka)


We spoke to
Funaki, the PR staff of the hotel, about the reopening of the restaurant and the newly introduced safety and security measures.


 “We are happy to finally reopen and to see the smiles of our guests and have them gather again at our restaurant. In order to establish safety and security for our guests, we have introduced a system whereby guests can view the menu themselves by reading the QR codes on their smartphones. We have also introduced ‘IHG Clean Promise’ in order to institute a high-level hygiene measure.”


IHG (Intercontinental Hotels Group) which is situated in the UK applies the “IHG Way of Clean,” a rigid SOP for the cleaning process. They have collaborated with Ecolab and Diversity, leading cleaning and hygiene service agencies in the industry, to introduce a program, which reflects the recommendations from WHO and CDCP and utilize sanitizers for medical use, in order to set a high standard for cleaning to establish a safe environment.

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As a new measure, a new system called "IHG Clean Promise" has been introduced since June 1 when the restaurant was reopened. More delicate, thorough, clean, and hygienic efforts are being made.


The restaurant, which has always been seen as fresh and clean, is expected to offer the highest level of hospitality in terms of safety and security due to the enhanced hygiene standards.


The main dish, where the chef's ideas shine, is diverse from meat dishes to fish dishes. Sweets are also popular (InterContinental Hotel Osaka)


Intercontinental Osaka also offers “Wabi Sabi -Summer BBQ” until August 31 (Monday), Lunch ¥5,000 (Weekdays), ¥5,500 (Weekends and Holidays), Dinner ¥6,000. All prices exclude Service Fee 15%, which offers a dynamic cuisine using Japanese ingredients and a creative culinary technique. The guest can choose one main dish from 9 options from selections such as “Oven Baked Back Rib,” “Chicken Skewers with Japanese Peppers.” The entrée and dessert are served as a platter. The service is offered both for lunch and dinner, but lunch has a special attraction—the fantastic view from the terrace.


Also, fromJuly 23 (Japanese holiday), the popular Peach Sweets Fair  started on weekends and holidays only. Instead of buffet style, most sweets will be served at the table.


NOKA Roast & Grill is located at InterContinental Hotel Osaka 20F, Tower C, Grand Front Osaka North Building, 3-60, Ofukacho, Kita District, Osaka and is open from 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. You may contact them at +81- 6-6374-5700. It is a 5-minute walk from JR Osaka Station.


Kobe Portopia Hotel
installs shields and implements thorough safety measures


Sky Grill Buffet GOCOCU -grace of Gococu
literally translates to “Five Countries.” In ancient history, Hyogo is said to have consisted of five countries: Tajima, Harima, Tamba, Settsu and Awaji. The restaurant is situated on the 30th floor of Kobe Portopia Hotel, offers a magnificent view of Kobe city which caters to different tastes between day and night. They have now installed a transparent shield on the cooking counter as well as an additional number of air cleaners. Their measures provide comfort for the guest through visible and tangible measures.


From Sannomiya, it takes about 10 minutes by Port Liner and about 15 minutes by free shuttle bus and good access (Kobe Portopia Hotel)


The first serving of entrée is carried by the staff to the table in order to avoid crowds at the cooking counter. There is a preventative shield installed at the counter and tongs are changed every 30 minutes. The buffet has evolved to a new arrangement which assures cleanliness and safety for the guests.

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A tall shield is installed to prevent infection. Disposable gloves are available for pick-up (Kobe Portopia Hotel)


Installed 5 air purifiers with functions to disinfect and deodorize with hypochlorous acid (Kobe Portopia Hotel)


There are disposable gloves to be used when self-serving the food, the doors of the private rooms stay open, the drink jugs and coffee machines, other utensils are sterilized on a regular basis, the tables and chairs are also sanitized. There are thorough measures implemented.


“We do our best to serve the guests individually. At the buffet counter, preventative shields are installed so that guests can still enjoy choosing their preferred dish. Also, on top of the guidance provided by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, we have also installed 5 air cleaners. The seats have also been reduced to 96 from 178 so that guests can enjoy more space” says Ms. Manba, the communication person of the hotel


A lineup of dishes using Hyogo's rich products such as Setouchi’s seafood and Banshu’s chicken (Kobe Portopia Hotel)


“Hyogo Thank You Buffet” is until August 31 (Monday), Lunch ¥3700 (Weekdays), ¥4,000 (Weekends and holidays), Dinner ¥4000 (Weekdays), ¥5,000 (Weekends and holidays). *Children below 3 years are not charged. Enjoy more or less 50 different dishes. The Roast and Grill cooked in a specially made stone oven is amongst the specialty prepared by the chef.


According to Ms. Manba, here are just some of the comments that they’ve heard from their patrons. “We are happy to see the Buffet reopen.” “We felt safe eating, because there were various safety measures implemented.” “We enjoyed the food cook right in front of us that we could eat fresh.” “We feel more relaxed now with the extra space.”


“The best way for the guests is to still the regular style where each self-serve their own plate. However, it seems that the guests have also accommodated this new style and are enjoying their time here” continues Ms. Manba.


It is worth noting that this hotel has brought in measures that are easily comprehensible for children and the elderly. Their safety measures are constituted of ideas such as transparent shields, plastic gloves and air cleaners, as to best conserve the joy of a buffet where people enjoy “seeing, choosing, serving and savouring”. 


Sky Grill Buffet GOCOCU -grace of Gococu- is located at Kobe Portopia Hotel Main Building 30F, 6-10-1, Minatojima-nakamachi, Chuo District, Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture and is open from 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Weekdays) and from 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (Weekends and holidays). You may contact them at +81-78-303-5230. It is a 1-minute walk from Port Liner Shimin Hiroba Station.

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Hotel Granvia Kyoto
reinforces safety and security with inhouse sanitary standards


Café Restaurant Le Temps
is situated on the 2nd floor of Hotel Granvia Kyoto, connected directly to JR Kyoto Station. It has a wide audience because of its great access, as well as the eat-all-you-can buffet. It has introduced cleaning and disinfection according to the “Clean & Safety” sanitation standards of the JR West Hotels in order to assure safety and security.


The interior of the store has a calm atmosphere. There is also an open kitchen with a live feeling (Hotel Granvia Kyoto)


In response to the fans calling for the reopening of the buffet, the restaurant has introduced an eat-all-you-can menu à la carte. They have adopted a new style that allows guests to enjoy both the fun of choosing and the satisfaction of eating all that you want. The signature roast beef, which used to be served as a buffet, has now been changed to a style where chefs and staff provide fresh slices on a plate to serve at the table.


Disinfectant is installed at the entrance of the store and inside the store and can be used freely (Hotel Granvia Kyoto)


The temperature is measured when entering the store. Guest will not be allowed in when body temperature is above 37.5 Celsius degree (Hotel Granvia Kyoto)


“We continue to implement strict management according to Food and Sanitation management as we have always done. Plates and cutlery are washed with high temperature washing and are more through with the cleaning of the kitchen. In addition to the regular cleaning, we disinfect places every time it gets exposed to hands. We have also installed alcohol sanitizers inside and out of the restaurant as well as everywhere in the hotel. We also make sure that there is ventilation,” says Tanaka, the communication staff of the hotel


This restaurant serves food in accordance with the new “Clean & Safety” hygiene standard established by JR West Hotels to accommodate new lifestyles. At the current stage, business hours have also been shortened.


Roast beef, which is popular for its performances cut at the chef's corner, can be tasted with a special sauce (Hotel Granvia Kyoto)


Enjoy choosing & eat-all you can Roast Beef
(Lunch ¥3,900, Dinner ¥5,500) offers a full volume set menu with unlimited servings of bread, soup and salad in addition to entrée, seafood, pasta and dessert. At the Chef’s counter, the chef still slices the roast beef live, but they now serve it on the plate for the staff to serve it to the table. Dinner is even more luxurious with boiled crab with unlimited servings and a Salmon Caviar bowl.

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According to Tanaka, “some elderly or guests with children have informed us that they actually prefer this style because they can enjoy a buffet without leaving their seat. Also, some find it difficult to prepare the dish beautifully themselves, so they prefer the chef to do it so that they can eat a lot and take nice pictures.”


The restaurant ranks high in the “Hotel Buffet Feature” in the magazine, Kansai Walker, and well known for its cost performance. All the staff has been working hard to make a full comeback by reinforcing sanitary measures whilst still providing a reasonably priced Buffet.


Café Restaurant Le Temps is located at Hotel Granvia Kyoto 2F, JR Kyoto Station Chuo Entrance, Karasumadori Shiokoji Kudaru, Simogyo District, Kyoto and is open from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. You may contact them at +81-75-342-5525. It is directly connected to JR Kyoto Station.


The initiatives at these 3 hotels that will become standard in the future


While delicately thorough cleaning and hygiene management,
Omotenashi (Japanese hospitality) that wants to entertain customers with buffets and all-you-can-eat service is still present. The services are well received and highly evaluated. The initiatives and measures that the three hotels have introduced here are likely to become the future standard for buffet services.


Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Kansai Walker™ (21 July 2020)

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