Japan - Recs for hotel/location for hotel in Tokyo and Kyoto please ($200 per night budget
Apr 1, 12, 9:16 pm
A friend and I will be in Japan for 6 nights from May 6-12. We land at Haneda and depart from Narita. We're spending 2 nights in Tokyo, 2 nights in Kyoto and then back to Tokyo for another 2 nights. We were hoping to keep the hotel costs at about $200/night and still get the best hotel for the price. I was leaning towards The Prince Park Tower and Park Hotel (both next to the tokyo tower) as those seem to be the most popular ones on expedia/hotels/travelocity. But I haven't been able to find much (or at all) details about those hotels on here.
We're wanting to stay at the same hotel both times in Tokyo because we're hoping they'll hold our luggage while we're in Kyoto as I have read that the bullet train does not have space to bring them. We won't need them shipped to Kyoto because we can just pack what we need for those 2 nights.
Location wise, we don't know what's best. Here are the places we'll visit while in Tokyo:
Shinjuku Gyoen Park
the Sumo stadium
For Kyoto, I haven't done any research on the city so I don't know where the train station is nor where any of the attractions are. But a hotel in the middle of all should work.
What we want out of the hotels are as much space as possible for the price and hopefully a non smoking room.
Thanks in advance for the help!
Apr 2, 12, 8:06 am
I've been on the bullet train and there is plenty of room or bags, they run every 30 minutes so they don't tend to get too busy.
From the Kyoto station to city center it's about 10 by taxi.
Don't forget to get a PASSMO subway pass they are the easiest way around, a taxi will set you back 700 Yen for the 1st 2KM.
In Kyoto, visiting the Nishiki Market is fun, you also want to check out the Gion district, and the Nijo Castle.
Tripadvisor has a lot of ideas ready to go.
Apr 2, 12, 9:53 am
There are several city guidebooks for Kyoto. You obviously need to buy one, along with maps of both Tokyo and Kyoto. Go to the Travel section of the nearest large bookstore.
You don't need to take a cab to get to the commercial center of Kyoto. The subway will take you there for much less. Even so, there's a lot to see within walking distance of the station.
If your budget is $200, you have a huge choice of hotels in both Tokyo and Kyoto. Choose a few on the basis of their proximity to what you want to see, and then go to their websites to see what they offer. You have to go way down in price to the backpacker hostel level before you have to worry about cleanliness or safety. Non-smoking rooms are pretty common these days, but large rooms come with a high price tag. No problem though, because with such a short time in each city, you're not going to spend much time in your room.
Any hotel in the $200 range will hold your bags for a couple of days.
Apr 2, 12, 10:13 pm
Hmm, my concern now is which hotel is most convenient (as in easy access to JR lines and subways). I did some research on Prince Park Tower and although people rave about the room space and overall hotel experience, some do say that the subways aren't very close (a little walk).
And after looking at a few subway maps and runs, how can I tell if a line is part of the JR pass?
Apr 2, 12, 11:23 pm
None of the subways are included in the Japan Rail Pass. The only lines that you are likely to use in Tokyo that are included in the JR Pass are the Yamanote, Chuo, and Sobu Lines, and possibly the Joban Line, all of which are above-ground commuter trains.
The Yamanote is a lumpy circle around the central city. The Chuo Line bisects the circle at Tokyo and Shinjuku and runs to the western suburbs. The Sobu partly follows the Chuo but stops at more stations and veers off to the east at Iidabashi.
You can also use the JR Pass to take day trips to Kamakura and Nikko and for the Narita Express.
If the station doesn't have JR in its name, you can't use the pass on the trains that run through it.
The JR Pass is mostly useless within Kyoto, unless you go to the cheesy Uzumasa Movie Studio, although you can use it to take day trips to Nara, Fushimi, Osaka, or Kobe.
It is mostly for intercity travel, and for that purpose, it is a bargain available only to tourists that makes Japanese people and long-term expats sigh with envy.
For travel within cities, get a local Suica or Pasmo debit card (for Tokyo) or a bus pass (sold in 24-hour segments) for Kyoto. With a Suica or Pasmo, you can transfer between JR and non-JR lines with the fare automatically deducted from your card, and if your card zeros out, you can add more money at any train or subway station, as with London's Oyster Card.