Photo/Illutration Shielded by lantern-style partitions, guests enjoy dining together without wearing masks at Hoshinoya Tokyo hotel on Dec. 14. The guests are actors. (Takuya Isayama)

In a setting looking both traditional and futuristic, a Japanese-style hotel in Tokyo is offering maskless course meals to guests who are enclosed and shielded by lantern-style partitions.

Hoshinoya Tokyo in the Otemachi district uses transparent partitions created by Kyoto craftsmen, allowing guests to enjoy their meals and converse while forgoing masks.

The lantern partitions, which are part of the hotel's anti-coronavirus infection measures, are 75 centimeters in diameter and 102 cm in height. The portion above the guest’s neck is completely enclosed in the lantern.

The partition is made of a transparent and thin plastic and illuminated by an electric bulb, enabling the diner's face to be clearly seen.

Hotel staff repeatedly tested settings similar to how meals are served. They made corrections considering how diners take or leave their seats, and how best to serve a meal before starting the service in October. 

In November, a couple of guests dined together while enclosed by the lanterns.

“I am glad that I was able to enjoy my meal while seeing another person’s facial expressions for the first time in a while," one of the guests said. 

The hotel received reservations in December, too, for the dining service.

“We would like to provide opportunities to make guest dining more enjoyable,” a hotel representative said. “We hope that guests can enjoy having their meals by eating and talking together, deepening their friendships and building their trust, which should be the basic purpose of dining together."