September 2, 2014
  • Rakuten Inc.

Rakuten Travel’s
“Asagohan (Breakfast) Festival 2014” Final
The Best Hotel Breakfast in Japan

Gero Onsen Ogawaya representing the Central Japan region
beats approximately 1,000 other hotels to claim the title

Tokyo, September 2 2014 – Rakuten Inc., held the “Asagohan (Breakfast) Festival® 2014” in Shibuya, Tokyo, hosted by Rakuten Travel.After a strict judging process the results of this year’s final have been decided as follows.
* For details of the judging criteria, refer to the event outline detailed below. 

Grand Prize & Winner of the Asagohan Festival ® 2014:
Gero Onsen Ogawaya of Gifu Prefecture
, representing the Central Japan region 

2nd Place:
Hotel La Suite Kobe Harborland of Hyogo Prefecture
, representing the Western Japan region

3rd Place: 
Hotel IL Palazzo of Fukuoka Prefecture
, representing the Kyushu/Okinawa region

Bandai Atami Onsen Hotel Shikisai Ichiriki of Fukushima Prefecture
, representing the Eastern Japan region

Century Royal Hotel of Hokkaido Prefecture, representing the Hokkaido region

HOTEL & RESIDENCE Nanshukan of Kagoshima Prefecture, representing the Kyushu/Okinawa region 

*Not in rank order

At the Asagohan Festival® 2014, now in its third year, Gero Onsen Ogawaya, representing the Central Japan region received the highest marks and high acclaim from the “Medicinal Congee” and “Overnight Dried Sweetfish” claiming the Grand Prize and the crown of “Best Hotel Breakfast in Japan” for 2014. Mr. Toshiro Kandagawa, who served on the judging panel gave the winner the highest praise, noting that, “the benefits of the Chinese medicine cooking method is displayed in this breakfast dish. It reflects the autumn season, as well as Japanese “Omotenashi,” or the spirit of hospitality spirit. In addition, Ms. Chinami Hamauchi of “Family Cooking School” also gave the winner glowing praise, commenting, “this dish portrays the natural tastes of the produce, without relying on salt to bring out the taste. This health conscious breakfast dish is simply impressive.”

Hotel La Suite Kobe Harborland, representing the Western Japan region came in second place, winning the following plaudits from one of the judges, “the variety of bread and vegetables brings out a nice surprise. This dish is filled with unique originality” (Mr. Kenichi Chen).

Hotel IL Palazzo, representing the Kyushu/Okinawa region gained third place, with their breakfast being described as, “not only is it nutritious, it is also a feast for the eyes. I could understand why this piece is popular with women” (Mr. Hiroyuki Sakai). 

Asagohan Festival® 2014 saw the largest ever number of entrants in the history of the event, with approximately 1,000 hotels and ryokans participating. The most popular entrants following the results of nationwide online voting were invited to take part in five regional contests (Hokkaido, Eastern Japan, Central Japan, Western Japan, Kyushu-Okinawa), where the judges actually tasted the breakfast cuisines created by the contestants. The six contestants who won these regional contests then went through to the climactic Asagohan Festival® 2014 Final, which concluded successfully with the Grand Prize being won by last year’s winner Gero Onsen Ogawaya, representing the Central Japan region. 

Rakuten Travel will continue to provide various plans and packages that showcase the appeal of breakfasts provided by hotels and ryokans, seeking to make breakfast one of the key motivations for travel.

Overview of Asagohan Festival® 2014 Final

■ Name: Asagohan Festival® 2014 Final
■ Date and time: September 2, 2014, 10:00-14:00
■ Place: Tokyo
■ Participating establishments: 

Representing Hokkaido region
Century Royal Hotel of Hokkaido Prefecture 

Representing East Japan region
Bandai Atami Onsen Hotel Shikisai Ichiriki of Fukushima Prefecture

Representing Central Japan region
Gero Onsen Ogawaya of Gifu Prefecture

Representing West Japan region
Hotel La Suite Kobe Harborland of Hyogo Prefecture

Representing Kyushu-Okinawa region
Hotel IL Palazzo of Fukuoka Prefecture

  (Entry by Special Judges’ Recognition) Representing Kyushu-Okinawa region
HOTEL & RESIDENCE Nanshukan of Kagoshima Prefecture
* The special judges’ recognition entry is chosen from the second-placed establishments in all regions, with the establishment with the highest number of points being chosen to go through to the final.

■  Judges:
Hokkaido Contest Judge  Masahiko Kobe (Italian chef)
East Japan Contest Judge  Hiroyuki Sakai (French chef)
Central Japan Contest Judge  Komei Nakamura (Japanese chef)
West Japan Contest Judge  Toshiro Kandagawa (Japanese chef)
Kyushu-Okinawa Contest Judge  Kenichi Chin (Chinese chef)
All-region Judge  Chinami Hamauchi (Food and cuisine researcher)
All-region Judge  Takanobu Yamamoto (Executive Officer & Business Manager of Rakuten Inc., Travel Business )

■  Judging Criteria:
Taste (Taste, flavor, palatability, etc.)
Expressiveness (Beauty, enjoyment, balance, color)
Creativity (Innovative aspects of menu contents)
Suitability as breakfast (Nutritional balance and other aspects that are apt for a morning meal)
Hospitality (The concepts of the chef and hotel/ryokan incorporated in the breakfast)

About the Asagohan Festival® (Registered Trademark No. 5453045):
This year marks the fifth occasion that the Asagohan Festival® has been held. It is an event that comprises online voting by users, followed by actual tastings and presentations (regional contests and final) to decide the “Best Hotel Breakfast in Japan.” Online voting is implemented using the “Like” function of Facebook, with the most popular breakfasts being selected. The hotels and ryokans (inns) selected following online voting (30 establishments in total) advanced through to five regional contests, which included actual tasting. The six establishments that won the regional contests then took part in the climactic grand finale, resulting in the selection of the “Best Hotel Breakfast in Japan.”

■  Event details:
・No. of events: Held as an online vote on five occasions, held as a real event on three occasions
・Online user voting period: April 7 to 20, 2014 (approx. 2 weeks)
・No. of participants: Approx. 1,000 hotels and ryokans
・Central Japan Contest: May 21, 7 contestants
・East Japan Contest: May 27, 5 contestants
・West Japan Contest: June 5, 6 contestants
・Hokkaido Contest: June 18, 5 contestants
・Kyushu-Okinawa Contest: June 24, 5 contestants

About Rakuten, Inc.
Rakuten, Inc. (4755:Tokyo), is one of the world's leading Internet service companies. We provide a variety of products and services for consumers and businesses, with a focus on e-commerce, travel, finance, and digital content. In both 2012 and 2013, Rakuten was ranked among the world’s ‘Top 10 Most Innovative Companies’ in Forbes magazine’s annual list. Rakuten is expanding worldwide and currently operates throughout Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania. Founded in 1997, Rakuten is headquartered in Tokyo, with over 11,000 employees and partner staff worldwide.
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*Please note that the information contained in press releases is current as of the date of release.

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