base in Osaka or Kyoto question

Old May 24th, 2016, 01:53 PM
  #1  
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base in Osaka or Kyoto question

re posting in Asia>Japan forum... incorrectly posted earlier to Asia forum only. my apologies for the du-locate post.

we are planning a 6 night trip to the Kansai area, primarily interested in visiting Kyoto, Nara, Kobe and Osaka. we initially booked 3 nites at Westin Miyako in Kyoto - taking the train right after our arrival at KIX airport in the early evening to go straight to Kyoto. then 3 nites at Hilton Osaka on the last 3 days and will take the train or limo bus from Osaka Station to KIX. we will take the day trips to Nara and Kobe from Osaka in those 3 days.

upon researching travel time by train to Kyoto, would you advise that we just base ourselves in Osaka and just take 2 day trips to Kyoto? THE PROS for us with this arrangement is 1) we don't need to commute to Kyoto upon our arrival at KIX in the early evening and it will minimize packing/unpacking from 2 different hotel check ins
2) I have diamond status with Hilton and none with Starwood hotels to which Westin belongs. ( free breakfast, evening reception and possible upgrade perks taken into account )
THE CONS 1) we will need to spend more $ and time for the commute from Osaka to Kyoto. but the commute is less than an hour which is acceptable to us.

your advice and any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
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Old May 24th, 2016, 02:06 PM
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I do not recommend spending all of your nights in Osaka. Spend at least half of your nights in Kyoto. Otherwise, you'll waste too much time commuting.

I assume you lave a list of what you want to see in each place. For me, two full days in Kyoto wouldn't be enough, but it might be for you (we spent 6 nights - 5 full days in Kyoto).
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Old May 24th, 2016, 06:31 PM
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thank you Kathie. it does seem like there's more cultural sights to see in Kyoto than in Osaka. from the guidebooks I have read so far, I get the impression that Osaka is better for night life, but Kyoto has more to offer for a first timer and casual tourist in the Kansai region. would you suggest that we take the daytrip to Nara from Osaka? Nara looks closer if coming from Osaka vs Kyoto.

I'm now leaning towards 3 full days in Kyoto and 2.5 days in Osaka. our return flight to the US doesn't leave until 5 pm so we get 2 full days in Osaka plus until around after lunch to hang around before we take the train to KIX.
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Old May 25th, 2016, 12:44 AM
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It depends on what kind of nightlife you are looking for. Osaka's Dotonbori area has clubs and bars, I think, in quite high numbers. But it's not as though you won't find any bars in Kyoto, just not as concentrated a number.

Unless you have specific Osaka sights in mind that you are confident merit 2 days, I'd weight more to Kyoto where there are days and days and days and days worth of wonderful sights.
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Old May 25th, 2016, 08:59 AM
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I'd stay in Kyoto other than the night before you go home. Kyoto is a great place.

Osaka is a big city (population between Houston and Chicago) that happens to be in Japan; Kyoto is a Japanese city that happens to be large (population just shy of Philadelphia).
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Old May 25th, 2016, 09:07 AM
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What BigRuss said!
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Old May 25th, 2016, 12:43 PM
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thanks for all your comments and suggestions. just the kind of definitive advice i was hoping to hear. I have made changes to our itinerary. we will be taking the train upon arrival at KIX directly to Kyoto. we will be staying 5 nights in Kyoto and 1 night in Osaka. our US bound flight doesn't leave until 5 pm, so we will be in Osaka for about a day and a half. Nara and Kobe might have to wait for next time.

I booked our 5 nights at the Westin Miyako in the eastern Kyoto area. I'm paying with Starwood points for the stay so not too much flexibility with this. the reviews on this hotel are so so but it is well located for sightseeing, near Philosopher's Walk.

I read rachill_az's trip report and was inspired by the places and restaurants she went to. hotel mume looks really nice too.
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Old May 26th, 2016, 12:14 AM
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It's only a few minutes walk to Keage Station from your hotel, and only a 15-20 minute walk to Yasaka Shrine (the junction at the front there is a hub for quite a lot of bus routes) so I'm sure you'll be able to get around well enough.

I think you'll be glad to be in Kyoto for most of the trip.

Happy travels!
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Old May 26th, 2016, 09:39 AM
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thanks Kavey. this is reassuring after reading some mixed reviews on Westin Miyako. I've read that this hotel is rather dated but great to know that it's well located.
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Old May 26th, 2016, 11:03 AM
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I don't know the hotel at all, to be honest. I generally find the big international chains more expensive than I'm willing to pay so I don't really look at them in much detail. But I think if you've been able to use points to get a great deal, that'll be more money you have to spend on great meals and souvenirs!
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Old May 26th, 2016, 11:52 AM
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so true Kavey. we're looking forward to trying the famed Kobe beef.
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Old Jun 11th, 2016, 03:52 AM
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Kyoto! But that's JMO.
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Old Jun 11th, 2016, 09:44 AM
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The Westin Miyako has several wings. I had a great room with club access when I stayed there, but it was expensive. My guess is that people who were disappointed with the hotel got a room at the lowest price and got put into an unrenovated wing. I think their website describes the different wings. I don't know where they would put a guest who pays with points.

The Osaka Hilton is in a great location practically across the street from JR Osaka sttion.

JR has Rapid Service trains between Osaka and Kyoto. The fare is only ¥560 and takes about 30 minutes and departures are frequent. A regional rail pass could save some money.T he platforms for the rapid service trains are easy to get to.

The airport bus goes to the Hilton or very nearby. When I got off that bus I soon saw the Hilton and the station and decided that the Hilton was wbere I really wanted to stay if I was commuting to Kyoto, but was on my way to Westin Osaka which is less convenient.

The Hankyu Umeda station is also very close to the Hilton. You can use it to get to Arashiyama, 49 minutes ¥400, one transfer. Or to Kawaramachi 43 min, ¥400.

The Hilton, being at a transportation hub, would make it convenient for visiting Nara, Kobe, and Osaka. The city subway is in that whole Osaka-Umeda station complex somewhere.
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Old Jun 11th, 2016, 09:54 AM
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>> 1) we don't need to commute to Kyoto upon our arrival at KIX in the early evening

Not enough of a difference between going from KIX to Kyoto or Osaka to make a decision based on that. The Westin Miyako has a shuttle bus running between the hotel and JR Kyoto station. The shuttle stops at a subway station on the way, IIRC.
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Old Jun 11th, 2016, 10:55 AM
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Philadelphia is a big city.
Osaka definitely is a Japanese city.
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Old Jun 15th, 2016, 11:24 AM
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thanks mrwunfurl for your helpful input, putting everything into perspective. I'm glad I checked my post today and found your responses.

my inbound flight arrives in KIX at 10:45 pm - we will miss the last train to Kyoto, our final destination before we move on to Osaka. what is our best option for travel between KIX and Kyoto? we will be staying at the Westin Miyako.

thanks in advance for all your suggestions.
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Old Jun 15th, 2016, 12:51 PM
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You can take the bus from KIX to Kyoto station - http://www.okkbus.co.jp/en/timetable/kix/t_kyt.html.

We took the bus to get to Nara and it was quite comfortable.

There are buses that run pretty late, which is good to keep in mind if your flight is delayed. You can always take a taxi to the Westin, depending on what time the shuttle/subway/buses stop running.
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Old Jun 15th, 2016, 09:21 PM
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I won't suggest a best options, but just give you the options I see.

rail - you are arriving too late, as you know

bus to Kyoto - the schedule that internetwiz gave shows your only bus option is the 11:40 PM departure to Kyoto station. Then a taxi to the Westin as suggested above

bus to Osaka and train to Kyoto - this would be worse than taking the train and only a desperate backup to missing the Kyoto bus. The KIX-Osaka bus won't get to Osaka until 2AM.

You could stay at an Osaka hotel that night. The Heribis Hotel bus stop is a short walk to the Osaka Hilton, for example.

Stay at the hotel at/near Kansai Airport. There is a Hotel Nikko on the same man-made island as the airport. I've always wanted to stay there so that I could actually visit the airport.
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Old Jun 15th, 2016, 10:31 PM
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we might just stay in Osaka on our first night and leave for Kyoto the next day. I'm concerned about missing the last KIX-Kyoto bus which leaves at 11:40 pm. Our flight arrives in KIX at 10;45 pm. If there are unexpected delays...we're done ! I'm also going to check with United Airlines if we can be re routed to Itami airport which is much closer to Osaka.
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Old Jun 16th, 2016, 09:52 AM
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Check with UA, sure. I'll bet the costs of re-ticketing will be higher than just having a backup plan to take a taxi from KIX to the Westin Miyako. That fare would be 39,000 JPY according to the Westin website. Even less would be bus or train to Osaka and taxi to the Westin.
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