19 July 2012

Tokyo and Kyoto accommodation

Dreaming of Shinjuku...

For those of you who are interested, i thought I'd post about the two places i stayed while in Tokyo and Kyoto. Both places were different and have their pros and cons but i still recommend them and i would definitely stay there again given the chance.

In Tokyo i stayed at the Shinjuku Prince Hotel, in Shinjuku. The hotel is in a FANTASTIC location. it is not the cheapest but if you can get it on sale,its worth it. It is a few minutes away from Shinjuku train station which is serviced by the Narita Express (Express train that serves Narita, one of Tokyo's main airports). All the lights, sights, sounds and bustling urban atmosphere is right on your doorstep. And it doesn't matter which side your room is on, your bound to get a great view.

The thing you will need to bear in mind is that if you are a non-smoker, you have to specifically mention that you want a non-smoking room when making the booking or you will find yourself on a smoking floor which is not pleasant. This happened to me. The first leg of my trip I'd mentioned i wanted a non-smoking room but the second leg I'd neglected to mention it in my booking. But the staff were quite understanding and efficient in sorting out a non-smoking room for me to move to.

The other thing you will need to bear in mind is that hotel rooms in general all over Tokyo are on the smaller side. The bathroom was like something out of a spaceship and the room was....ultra-compact. They had all the necessary amenities such as shampoo/conditioner/body soap/shaver/body sponge/toothbrush/comb etc.

The tea/coffee facilities were limited to green tea and a small thermos that could be filled with hot water from a machine on the landing near the lifts. Also, there was no minibar but there was a vending machine also near the lifts.

Pics of the hotel and views from the hotel

Shinjuku Prince Hotel - 2 bed room
Shinjuku Prince hotel vending machine

Views of Shinjuku

Japan is known for a different type of accommodation called the Ryokan. It is a sort of inn which is usually desgined in the traditional family style home. They have tatami mats and futons on the floor and usually a small garden. They can be VERY expensive. Luckily my friend A- knew of one in Kyoto - Ryokan Rukucho - that didnt cost an arm an a leg and that was family run. 

This Ryokan did not have a meal package (which can be the norm where breakfast or dinner is included in the nightly rate) and was located slightly outside the main bustle of Kyoto city. This was probably why it was so affordable. An added benefit to staying here was that it had a small shared kitchenette and washer and dryer. My favorite touch however was the electric blankets :) Bathroom facilities are shared but they had both a western style bathroom (ie shower) and Japanese style bathroom where you wash yourself before getting into a deep tub of hot water.

I actually enjoyed being located a little bit outside of the city centre as it gave me a better sense of what local life was like. But as it was serviced by an underground line and buses direct to the city centre and many of the sightseeing spots it didn't feel as though i was far from anything or missing out.

Ryokan Rukucho - Sakura room
Pretty sweet view
A little thank you note i left for the owners

Considering i was visiting Japan for the Sakura, it seemed an apt room to stay in.
The Emergency Exit ladder

High tech toilet control panel
The lovely owner seeing me off after my stay in the front garden
So thats my 2 cents on where i stayed while in Japan, i promise that they are my own views and experiences and that i wasn't paid to write this post. If you find yourself in Tokyo or Kyoto then check them out for yourself :)

Vanishing Point

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