Japan - where to stay in Tokyo particularly!(81 Posts)
We are currently doing some prep and planning for a holiday to Japan in the summer. Me, dh and 17y DD.
We will be flying with Emirates with a one night stop over in Dubai, and flying into Tokyo, though we don't land til very late the first night. We will have 13 nights in Japan and the plan is:
5 nights Tokyo (2 full days and 1 night will be at Disneyland/Disney Seas)
4 nights Kyoto
4 nights Osaka (1 day at Universal; final day is a full day in Osaka as very late flight)
We will travel between the cities by train. Not sure yet on whether we will benefit from having the Rail Pass. I know the fastest 2 Bullet trains are not included, plus the cost of the individual trains between Tokyo-Kyoto and Kyoto-Osaka are not coming out as being quite as much as a 14 day Rail Pass. Need to do more playing around with figures to work out how much with the normal day to day travel.
Been looking at where to stay in Tokyo though. Its mind boggling though as there is so much to choose between.
Can anyone recommend districts or specific hotels you've liked?
We would prefer for DD to be in with us - to save us paying for 2 rooms more than anything else. This (3 adults/triple rooms) seems possible with some hotels, though not all.
For Disneyland we will stay at the Disneyland hotel for the middle night, so thats not a concern but will have 2 nights in Tokyo either side.
Then need to consider Kyoto and Osaka hotels too - argh!!!
Any hints and tops appreciated.
We have the Lonely Planet guide already and have been using it as a guide.
Kyoto is somewhere we want to visit and don't have time to add more locations.
It seems that quite a few will allow three in a room - just says it will have less room at night, but that will be fine as we won't be in the room very much bar night time. Room rate we've been seeing seems about right based on what you've written and what we're finding online. Been checking a range of online review sites too.
I've read about the types of beds we will have so good to hear that they are comfortable. Getting up and down to the grown might be interesting some days (I have arthritis) but dh and dd can always pull me up
Depends on the month you're going but just remember summer in Japan is hellish - humid, up to 40'C heat, and as you'll be outside for much of it at Disneyland it's going to be difficult.
Some fantastic festivals to be had in the summer however across the country. Again, depending on which month you go in hotels can be booked up for the major ones like Gion Matsuri in Kyoto.
As for places to stay in Tokyo, it can take two hours just to get across areas sometimes but depends what you're all interested in - its worth noting the jr pass also covers the yamanote circular line within Tokyo which is a big help. Shibuya can be handy as some areas such as nearby Harajuku and the Meiji Shrine areas are a 20-30 min stroll away up through/past yoyogi park. Asakusa is fab for exploring the more cultural side, though it gets very rammed with tourists and the heat will be crazy if you're above ground and exploring etc.
Osaka is great for day excursions - again, the rail pass comes in handy and also covers the ferry from Hiroshima over to miyajima island, though that's quite a track and would probably warrant an overnight stay down there. On the way, you can stop off and see himeji castle if you want.osaka isn't the prettiest of Japan's cities but the very central part is great for delicious food. If you can't get accomodation for a good price it's also a good city to base yourself in to commute in to Kyoto, at a push. Kyoto itself is super spread out - it takes days to fully see the key attractions, so your 4 days sounds great. I'd recommend perhaps staying near to Gion if you can - absokutely beautiful part of the city, lovely and tradition heart of Kyoto with lots of siteseeing.
To be honest, there are so many hotels it's hard to recommend single ones - booking.com is great for exploring these as they also include the maps of the local area complete with local attravtions/nearest train station which is very helpful. ALSO, Quidco gives you cashback for booking through booking.com so you'd get money back off any bookings you make, bonus
Also, there's lots of hotels with sizeable triple rooms. You'll be fine I'll stop rambling now!
We will be going towards the end of August.
We know it will be hot and humid, even more so than Florida. It won't be as hot as Las Vegas at least, though will be more humid than Florida has been. But we will be prepared and we are more than happy to take our time and take the heat and humidity into consideration. We are not new to Disney so definitely happy to take time out whilst there and hunt out the cafes and restaurants in the park, and retail therapy to take advantage of air con!
We will probably stay at one of the Universal Studio hotels in Osaka - they seem to have the bigger rooms to start with, and right opposite the station - says 15 minutes into the centre.
Ah, hadn't seen that Gion was part of Kyoto. Will investigate further.
That's good to hear Dimsumlosesum. Do ramble on - especially at this planning stage, all advice is great!
We always stay here in an executive room. Reason being that this gives you access to the executive lounge which each evening has a help yourself free bar with everything from champagne to spirits as well as go nibbles - so a good start to the evening. There is an underground station in the basement of the hotel which can get you everywhere in the city.
Specific to Tokyo, I found the Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku to be very nice, and a great convenient location for the station.
The "fastest" bullet trains not being included in the rail pass is a bit of a red herring - they're express trains making fewer stops, but not actually that much faster than the ones you can use. You definitely want a rail pass, get the shortest one that works for your schedule, it'll probably pay for itself with one return trip Tokyo-Kyoto. As mentioned, no need to use it in Tokyo, the Suica card (like an oyster card) is easiest for internal travel there, and I believe it now works on the metro services in Kyoto etc too (it definitely does in Sapporo, but it's been a while since I went to Kyoto).
Visiting Nara from Kyoto is well worth considering, and you can do a day trip to Hiroshima from Kyoto or Osaka if you don't mind getting up early and returning late.
If you're flying into Narita, it's a long way from Tokyo itself, take the Narita Express train.
Car hire is quite reasonable should you need to do so (take your international driving permit), but while fuel is a little cheaper than the UK, if you use the expressways with tolls, they really add up fast.
Watching with interest as we're going in July with teen DCs.
IIRR its Haneda we will be flying into.
We will fly out of the airport at Osaka.
The two proper train journeys we will make will be Tokyo to Kyoto, and then Kyoto to Osaka. Jut single trips, not return. I need to do the figures to see if it is worth it price wise.
We will then use local trains/public transport within Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. We aren't planning to hire a car on this holiday. I'm not sure we will have time to do additional day trips further afield.
It’s a bit of a shame you are just doing cities. There is a lot of interesting Japan out there. Matsumoto Castle is stunning for example. Kamakura and Hase is a great day trip from Tokyo and Nara is wonderful. We also hiked on part of the Nakasendo Highway and this gets you out of the neon bustle of the cities.,
I would definitely recommend Nara too OP, it’s a day trip from Kyoto if you can squeeze it in. There are loads of tame deer wandering around a park and temple complex.
My favourite parts of Japan are the smaller towns and countryside such as in the Japan Alps. So pretty!
It’s a bit of a shame you are just doing cities.
We do really like cities. However, if we like this visit we are likely to return at some point, especially as it'll soon (ish) be just the two of us for holidays. We do enjoy holidays and have a few each year so it's not necessarily a one off.
To check train prices, hyperdia.com is really useful, there's a phone app too.
Tokyo to Kyoto should cost you about £100 per person, while Kyoto to Osaka is more like £20.
As a one week rail pass is about £200, if you're certain you're not doing another long journey, yes, it's probably better value for you without it. I always travel around a lot in Japan, so I really get my money's worth out of them.
@bumblebeebum - can you share the sumo link again please, it didn’t work and I am struggling to find via google.
Flights and hotels are now all booked 98 days to wait ...
Been looking at the trains but not sure how we book them in advance from the UK. The suggested app isn't available in the UK it seems.
You can also buy separate non-stop Shinkansen tickets that the JR Pass does not cover if you need to. These are two separate Shinkansen services so check if either are what you want.
I would book Hilton Tokyo Bay for the whole trip...
StrawberryPancakes - that's where we are staying near Tokyo Disneyland
We don't need the rail pass. Worked out the costs and it's really not going to be worthwhile for us. But been trying to figure out how to book the bullet trains from the UK and it's really not clear. Most sites seem to think we don't need to.
Shameless placemarking as planning my trip. I do hope you keep us updated including a trip report and possibly pictures!!!
Hotel Chinzanso, as pp suggested. It’s not in a buzzy location but is a fabulous hotel - pure luxury. You can get the train all over from the station nearby, which is cheap and fast. We went over hotels for months and honestly it was the best decision we could have made. For the same price in Harajuku we would have got a shabby box room, instead we got marble bathroom with l’occitaine products, in a stunning suite with view over the gardens, and we just nipped in and out of the centre as and when. There are some little shops down the bottom of the hill that do good cheap sushi and other ready to eat meals too. Re Disney, the monorail takes you from Disney parks to the Hilton Tokyo Bay, which makes it a good spot, but seeing as it was about 50% more expensive than the Chinzanso I didn’t expect it to be a glorified Premier Inn! If I had my time again I would strongly consider staying out at the Chinzanso and getting the train back and forth to Disney. I’m pretty sure it took approx 40 mins each way by train and was very cheap, a few pounds each.
Also the Disney, I might be remembering this wrong, but I’m pretty sure you can’t just dip back and forth between the two parks, you have to choose which ones you want per day and stick to that. You can also get back on the monorail back to the shopping centre/station and there are food courts and chain restaurants etc there, plus a supermarket, so can be handy to stock up before a day at Disney.
Oh and take sanitary towels/tampons! I have terrible periods and ran out of my stockpile so had to buy more. I felt like I was trying to buy crack. A couple of supermarkets had zero sanitary stuff at all, then the shops that did, what they had was crap. Just FYI.
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