Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Asia > Japan
Reload this Page >

Western chain hotels in Tokyo and Kyoto

Western chain hotels in Tokyo and Kyoto

Old Jan 16, 20, 12:01 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: NYC
Programs: DL GM/SC; GE; Marriott Titanium; IHG Spire
Posts: 2,002
Western chain hotels in Tokyo and Kyoto

I'm planning a first time trip to Japan in September and have done quite a bit of research but for some reason am struggling to get a feel for the lay of the land.

I've decided five or six nights in Toyko and four or five nights in Kyoto (with day trips) should be enough and have been looking for centrally-located hotels. Because I'm using points, I need to book with one of the large chains.

I have points and status with Marriott (Titanium), IHG (Spire) and Hyatt (Discoverist) and plenty of points but no status with Hilton.

My first instinct was to book a Marriott property because they offer the best perks with status but after inquiring in that forum, it seems that many of the better hotels either aren't that well located or aren't available for my dates. Lounge access and breakfast are nice, but my desire for a good location might be better served booking something else. Rather than starting multiple threads in all the different hotel forums, I thought I'd try posting here.

I've spent a ridiculous amount of time reading hotel reviews and it seems that many of them mention shuttles to train stations and I'm wondering if this is not as big a deal as it seems. When I travel, I usually stay in very central locations where shuttles to/from hotels aren't necessary, so it's a bit surprising to read so many comments about using shuttles (I've also lived in NYC my entire life, so I tend to prefer busy, bustling areas with a lot going on vs more remote, quiet neighborhoods).

I'm hoping those FTers with some experience with these destinations can weigh in with their thoughts and suggestions. TIA for your help!
ShopAround is offline  
Old Jan 16, 20, 12:50 pm
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Falkirk, Scotland,VS Red, BA Gold, HH Diamond,UK Amex Plat
Programs: Master of the Privy Purse des Muccis
Posts: 13,397
Hi shoparound,

I am a Hilton Person and like the Hilton hotels in Tokyo ( Hilton Shinjuku, Conrad , and Hilton Tokyo Bay)

The Hilton Shnjuku ihas a shuttle bus to Shinjuku JR station but you can walk it in 10mins. The Conrad is close to Shimbashi station.

There is also the Hilton Odaiba close to the Yurikakome ( sp?) line

The Hyatt regency shinjuku is also walkable to the JR station.

The Prince Sakura tower ( Marriott Autograph) has a lounge and is close to Shinagawa.

Although the hotels offer a shuttle service ( handy if you are tired) most of the hotels are close to either metro or railway stations
Regards

TBS
ShopAround likes this.

Last edited by The _Banking_Scot; Jan 16, 20 at 4:58 pm
The _Banking_Scot is offline  
Old Jan 16, 20, 1:05 pm
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: NYC
Programs: DL GM/SC; GE; Marriott Titanium; IHG Spire
Posts: 2,002
Thank you, The _Banking_Scot , that's very helpful. I had started looking at Hilton properties because I have the option of using more points for an executive room, which I like - I wish IHG had that choice.

Three of those properties - Prince Sakura, Hilton Odaiba and Hyatt Regency - aren't available for my dates. The Conrad is more points than I have to spend but I am seriously considering the Hilton Shinjuku, which is available and I can book an executive room with points. I was considering the Westin but this seems to be a better location.

Appreciate your comment about the shuttle service, good to know it's an option but not required.
ShopAround is offline  
Old Jan 16, 20, 4:54 pm
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Falkirk, Scotland,VS Red, BA Gold, HH Diamond,UK Amex Plat
Programs: Master of the Privy Purse des Muccis
Posts: 13,397
Hi,

The Hilton Shnjuku is a good hotel and the executive lounge ( 37th floor is very good)..It has a good gym, pool and convenience store in the basement shopping complex

I think western hotels in kyoto atre scarcer ( there is the Hyatt Regency and Park Hyaytt IIRC). There is more choice in Osaka (easily accessible by Shinkansenn or rapid trains from osaka) although staying in Kyoto maybe worthwhile The Conrad osaka is very good and the hilton osaka gets good reports also)

The westin tokyo is close to the Yebisu garden complex ( beautiful at christmas ) but the hilton is in a bettter location as mentioned.

Marriott has 2 courtyards around Ginza and Tokyo station but with no lounges IIRC)

I would also keep an eye out for any flash sales that hilton may have which can lower the cash cost considerably ( then it is a choice of cash or using points) but at normal ratres using points can be good value in japan)

Regards

TBS
ShopAround and Duke787 like this.

Last edited by The _Banking_Scot; Jan 16, 20 at 4:59 pm
The _Banking_Scot is offline  
Old Jan 16, 20, 5:57 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: SFO
Programs: JAL, KrisFlyer
Posts: 40
I generally stay at Japanese properties in Japan. They often have better service standards than Western properties, in my experience (but I'm a budget traveler). I did stay at a new Hyatt near a convention center in the middle of nowhere last fall and it was very nice.

That aside, anything that offers a shuttle to the train station would be good. I've hauled suitcases for miles in horrid weather and paid for taxis when I couldn't find an elevator into a train station. Last summer I got lost trying to catch the airport shuttle bus on the far side of Kyoto station because you can't walk through the station. You have to go around or under to get across. So that's a pain.
ShopAround likes this.
DillPickles is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 4:53 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Programs: UA 1K MM, Global Entry, Nat'l ExeElite, Marriot Titanium, Hilton Gold
Posts: 806
If you are Platinum or higher at the Prince Sakura, you can use any lounges at the Prince Sakura, The Grand Prince or The Grand Prince New Takanawa. There is a very nice little Japanese garden between the hotels. It is a quick walk to Shinagawa Station, and they also have a shuttle if you have luggage. At Shinagawa Station you can catch the Shinkasen, bullet train to Kyoto/Osaka without any connections. You can also take the Narita Express from NRT to Shinagawa.

I will be staying at the Westin Ebisu in April. An exec with Marriott said I would like it there as the rooms are spacious. The Westin Ebisu allows you to apply SNA’s to your reservations.


In Osaka, the Marriott Miyako Osaka is right next to the Tennoji Station. It is in the tallest building in Japan and you get free tickets to the observation deck. There is also a department store in the building with restaurants and a food store on the lower level. About an hour before closing, the store marks down the price of the freshly prepared foods. We have gotten fresh king crab for a great price. The club lounge always had a Japanese single malt available. The elevators in the main building is a shortfall. They can be crowded, and confusing to navigate, but overall I liked the hotel.

At the Tennoji Station, you can catch the Haruka Express to KIX, they even have luggage storage by the doors. Oh, if you are going to use the bullet train to go from Tokyo to Osaka/Kyoto, and you have anything bigger than a carryon, you will be better off shipping your luggage to your next hotel. After May 2020, if you have large luggage that cannot fit in the overhead racks, you must have a reservation for the luggage seat which is the last row in each car.

The Courtyard Shin Osaka is right by the station where the Shrinkasen and Haruka Express stops. This is the only Shinkansen stop in Osaka. They do have a lounge but breakfast is served in the restaurant.

In Kyoto the Westin Miyako is once again accepting reservations. It is very near to the Keage Station. You may find a good award rate. This April during the Sakura season, I booked 3 nights at 35,000 a night. Use a couple of certifactes so only have to pay for one night.

Based on my experience, for my first visit, I would spend more time in the Osaka/Kyoto area than Tokyo. In Kansai region you can visit Nara, Nagoya, , Kobe and a little farther away, Kanazawa and Hiroshima.

Last edited by northsideguy; Jan 17, 20 at 5:07 am
northsideguy is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 10:13 am
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: NYC
Programs: DL GM/SC; GE; Marriott Titanium; IHG Spire
Posts: 2,002
Thank you, northsideguy , for your thoughtful response. I was looking at the Prince properties but unfortunately, none of them are available as points stays for my dates. I can book the Westin but I think the Hilton Shinjuku sounds like a better location.

I'm still a little indecisive about where to stay after Tokyo. I decided to choose either Osaka or Kyoto as a base. Many people recommended Kyoto, would you agree with that? Both the Ritz-Carlton and Westin have points availability for my dates in both cities.

I did read about the luggage delivery service, which I really like (sounds like a pleasure after having schlepped my bags all around Europe on trains on past trips). I'll be flying in and out of HND, so my plan is the airport bus to my hotel on arrival > five or six nights in Tokyo > Shinkansen to Osaka or Kyoto > five nights there (with day trips) > Shinkansen back to Tokyo for one last night before departing the next day (I'm a DL/SkyTeam flyer, so I don't really have good options out of KIX).
ShopAround is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 11:09 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Programs: UA 1K MM, Global Entry, Nat'l ExeElite, Marriot Titanium, Hilton Gold
Posts: 806
Originally Posted by ShopAround View Post
Thank you, northsideguy , for your thoughtful response. I was looking at the Prince properties but unfortunately, none of them are available as points stays for my dates. I can book the Westin but I think the Hilton Shinjuku sounds like a better location.

I'm still a little indecisive about where to stay after Tokyo. I decided to choose either Osaka or Kyoto as a base. Many people recommended Kyoto, would you agree with that? Both the Ritz-Carlton and Westin have points availability for my dates in both cities.

I did read about the luggage delivery service, which I really like (sounds like a pleasure after having schlepped my bags all around Europe on trains on past trips). I'll be flying in and out of HND, so my plan is the airport bus to my hotel on arrival > five or six nights in Tokyo > Shinkansen to Osaka or Kyoto > five nights there (with day trips) > Shinkansen back to Tokyo for one last night before departing the next day (I'm a DL/SkyTeam flyer, so I don't really have good options out of KIX).
I personally prefer Kyoto but that is just my opinion. Kyoto is a better base for Nara and Nagoya, while Osaka is better for Kobe and the south. Osaka has a more vibrant nightlife scene, but I find Kyoto more relaxing. There will be a JW Marriott Nara opening this year by the Kintetsu Nara Line. I have also stay in the Hotel Granvia Kyoto. This is in the Kyoto Station Complex. It was very good to use as a base for transportation. Have not been to the Ritz but it is near to the Tozai Line which is the same line for the Westin. Going to be back in Kansai in April and hope to catch a Hanshin Tigers ballgame and wear my Cubs Fukudome jersey.

Be advised, if you use the Takuhaibin, overnight luggage delivery service, you need to drop it off the day before you check out, if you want it at the next hotel for your arrival. Ask the hotel what is the cutoff time. I usually drop off the luggage in the morning before I go out for the day so I don’t have to rsh back to the hotel. Keep your carryon with you as there overhead racks on the bullet trains for you.

At HND, there is the Edo-Koji shopping area, with a motif is that of Edo period. For future reference, near NRT is the City of Narita. It is a convent and a nice side trip for a long layover or day visit before the evening flights back to the States.
ShopAround likes this.
northsideguy is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 11:28 am
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: NYC
Programs: DL GM/SC; GE; Marriott Titanium; IHG Spire
Posts: 2,002
Originally Posted by northsideguy View Post
I personally prefer Kyoto but that is just my opinion. Kyoto is a better base for Nara and Nagoya, while Osaka is better for Kobe and the south. Osaka has a more vibrant nightlife scene, but I find Kyoto more relaxing. There will be a JW Marriott Nara opening this year by the Kintetsu Nara Line. I have also stay in the Hotel Granvia Kyoto. This is in the Kyoto Station Complex. It was very good to use as a base for transportation. Have not been to the Ritz but it is near to the Tozai Line which is the same line for the Westin. Going to be back in Kansai in April and hope to catch a Hanshin Tigers ballgame and wear my Cubs Fukudome jersey.
I've pretty much decided on Kyoto. Not into nightlife (I'm a woman traveling alone and don't plan on venturing out at night other than for dinner) and while I like cities, I'm thinking Kyoto might be a nice break after Toyko (and I do plan to make a day trip to Nara).
Originally Posted by northsideguy View Post
Be advised, if you use the Takuhaibin, overnight luggage delivery service, you need to drop it off the day before you check out, if you want it at the next hotel for your arrival. Ask the hotel what is the cutoff time. I usually drop off the luggage in the morning before I go out for the day so I donít have to rsh back to the hotel. Keep your carryon with you as there overhead racks on the bullet trains for you.
That's why I made the decision to base in either Kyoto or Osaka rather than doing a couple of nights in each - easier with the lag time in luggage delivery.
Originally Posted by northsideguy View Post
At HND, there is the Edo-Koji shopping area, with a motif is that of Edo period. For future reference, near NRT is the City of Narita. It is a convent and a nice side trip for a long layover or day visit before the evening flights back to the States.
I don't see any western chain hotels around HND, so I'll either pay for one last night near the airport or overnight around Toyko Station - I still haven't booked anything yet for this trip, so that'll probably depend on train and flight times.
ShopAround is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 1:14 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota,USA
Programs: UA, NW
Posts: 3,730
Originally Posted by ShopAround View Post
I've pretty much decided on Kyoto. Not into nightlife (I'm a woman traveling alone and don't plan on venturing out at night other than for dinner) and while I like cities, I'm thinking Kyoto might be a nice break after Toyko (and I do plan to make a day trip to Nara).

That's why I made the decision to base in either Kyoto or Osaka rather than doing a couple of nights in each - easier with the lag time in luggage delivery.

I don't see any western chain hotels around HND, so I'll either pay for one last night near the airport or overnight around Toyko Station - I still haven't booked anything yet for this trip, so that'll probably depend on train and flight times.
Kyoto is a large city, but it doesn't feel like one, and it's definitely more atmospheric than Osaka. Definitely go to Nara for an experience that is different from Kyoto.

Don't worry about staying in a Japanese chain hotel. Even the cheap ones are spotlessly clean and safe. You can't use your American points, but if all you need is a bed for the night and coffee and a bit of food in the morning before heading for HND, your choices are nearly limitless. I've been a budget traveler in Japan (usually as a single female traveler) for forty years, and I've found only one exception to the "clean and safe" rule.

If you're going in September, be aware that it could still be quite hot (Tokyo is on the same latitude as Chattanooga, Tennessee).
ShopAround likes this.
ksandness is offline  
Old Jan 17, 20, 3:48 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: LAS TPE HND LHR
Programs: BA Meltdown soft-landed Silver, OZ♦+ (BR/UA), B6 Mosaic, WoH♦, Mlife Noir, TR 7*
Posts: 5,089
Originally Posted by ShopAround View Post
I've pretty much decided on Kyoto. Not into nightlife (I'm a woman traveling alone and don't plan on venturing out at night other than for dinner) and while I like cities, I'm thinking Kyoto might be a nice break after Toyko (and I do plan to make a day trip to Nara).
Much of Kyoto's "nightlife" is smaller niche bars (often focusing on a certain ingredient or theme) or speakeasy-type establishments where you should be fine as a solo female traveler. It can be a very relaxing scene and, to me, is one of the most charming aspects of Kyoto.
ShopAround and jib71 like this.
gengar is offline  
Old Jan 18, 20, 11:03 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 4,786
Western hotels are overpriced in Japan IMHO. Japanese chains seems to be consistently cheaper and their quality is fine. Anywhere else in Asia I try to stay in Marriott hotels but in Japan I just book Japanese hotels through hotels.com in the area I want to stay.
travelinmanS is offline  
Old Jan 20, 20, 11:27 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 313
Originally Posted by travelinmanS View Post
Western hotels are overpriced in Japan IMHO. Japanese chains seems to be consistently cheaper and their quality is fine. Anywhere else in Asia I try to stay in Marriott hotels but in Japan I just book Japanese hotels through hotels.com in the area I want to stay.
Some of the Japanese hotel rooms are a bit on the small side though so OP would have to decide if that's acceptable or not.

OP, the Ritz Carlton Kyoto is consistently mentioned as a wonderful experience. If you've got the points and you want to treat yourself, go for it. Nothing wrong with a little luxury at times. I stayed at the Hyatt Regency last year and thought it was a beautiful property though perhaps a bit of walk from some of the things you will want to visit.

For Tokyo, I'd highly recommend the Hilton Shinjuku. Shinjuku is my preferred area of Tokyo to base. Convenient access to the Tocho-mae subway line, literally just a 3 or 4 minute walk from the Hilton. Hyatt is also just across the street and at 12k points a night, is an absolute steal.
ShopAround likes this.
Sandeep1 is offline  
Old Jan 20, 20, 11:36 pm
  #14  
tt7
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: MEL
Posts: 2,435
Originally Posted by DillPickles View Post
Last summer I got lost trying to catch the airport shuttle bus on the far side of Kyoto station because you can't walk through the station. You have to go around or under to get across.
I know what you mean ... it took us a while (and getting lost a few times) to figure it out. There's a walkway on the second level of the Station that connects the two sides. As you enter the Station from the north side (opposite Kyoto Tower), the central gates are straight ahead. To your right, there's an escalator (and stairs) that take you up to the second level (and if you keep going up the escalators, all the way up to the 11th floor). When you get up to the second level, zig-zag to the left (past a couple of cafes on the left) and at the end of the short passageway, turn left into the central walkway. That will take you all the way over to the Hachijo side - when you get to the far end of the walkway, there's a short escalator back down. The Shinkansen gates will be on your left, the Kintetsu line gates on your right and the Hachijo exit straight ahead.

This page of Kyoto Station information provides some photos. The third photo shows the walkway. In the first photo, you can see that initial escalator towards the bottom right of the photo, with the zig zag to the left on the second level (so you don't continue on up the escalators). On the Karasuma (north) side of the Station, the walkway ends with stairs (and an escalator on each side) down to the Station forecourt (to the east of the central entrance opposite Kyoto tower).

I understand your pain. We made the mistake (several times...) of going down to try and get from one side to the other, only to get totally lost in the labyrinth underneath the Station.
freecia and ShopAround like this.
tt7 is offline  
Old Jan 20, 20, 11:45 pm
  #15  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 86,516
For Tokyo, I think the Hilton Shinjuku is a bad location; it's surrounded by high rise modern government office buildings. Given your shopping interests and possible day trips, I'd try to stay near Tokyo Station, such as Ginza or Hibya. For many destinations, Shinagawa station also works, but you're farther from prime shopping or tourist areas. Think also about transportation to/from the airport (HND or NRT?) and try to pick a hotel that has direct limobus service at convenient times.
ShopAround likes this.
MSPeconomist is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: