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Booked Tokyo over Golden Week. Hotel questions.

Booked Tokyo over Golden Week. Hotel questions.

Apr 7th, 2018, 10:31 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,576
Booked Tokyo over Golden Week. Hotel questions.

I just booked a two-week tour that starts in Tokyo on May 4, 2019. Learned about Golden Week after booking the tour. Cannot switch tour dates as all spaces are filled (for solo spots). I thought May would be a pretty month. I will be in Tokyo May 1-5, smack in the middle of Golden Week. How bad a mistake did I make? I booked a room as I read accommodations can be difficult to get during Golden Week. Many hotels show no vacancies over those dates. Can so many hotels already be booked due to the holiday or could it be because I'm booking so far out? I booked the Mercure Hotel Ginza Tokyo for three nights on my own before the tour starts. And one night in a hotel in Shinjuku with the tour. Would prefer to book same hotel as the tour, but no vacancy. This is my first time to Japan. I am traveling solo. This senior would appreciate input. Thanks.
luvtotravel is offline  
Apr 7th, 2018, 12:33 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 21,609
Here's some info:

My advice would be to identify your priorities for the time you have during Golden Week, make sure you have some back up plans (which should be easy, as Tokyo has a lot to offer), and recognize the benefits of remaining as flexible as you can.

If you haven't already done so, spend plenty of time with japan-guide.com -- it isn't perfect, but it definitely provides a LOT of great info!
kja is offline  
Apr 7th, 2018, 05:48 PM
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 272
We stayed in Tokyo during Golden Week in 2016. You shouldn't worry.
In fact, there might be some fun festivals going on. We stayed out in Odaiba and there was an "Octoberfest" in May with 25 beer vendors, food, and music. The next night was a "Niku (meat) Fest" with about 50 vendors, crowded but well organized.
Your hotel in Ginza is well located for transport. My advice is to get a train card, Suica or Pasmo put $50 on it and check out the sights you want to see.
We did walk down Takeshita Dori in Harajuku which was a little more crowded than was comfortable. But other sights Meiji, Senso-Ji, Suntory Museum were fine as they usually always have a crowd.
I'd check out Time Out Tokyo for their recommendations once you get closer to the departure for openings and closures.
We like Japan in May, lots of flowers still in bloom, azaleas at Nezu Shrine, wisteria at Kameido Shrine and cherry blossoms up north.
kalihiwai2 is offline  
Apr 7th, 2018, 10:08 PM
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Thanks, kalihiwai2. I feel better about booking over Golden Week. And thanks kja, I will review the info you sent. Much to learn since I know pretty much nothing. But I have a year to figure out what I want to do.
luvtotravel is offline  
Apr 8th, 2018, 08:01 PM
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Diane, this may be a blessing in disguise. We stayed in the Ginza area, and it was wonderful. There are so many nice shops, including two major department stores, and restaurants in the area. My favorite activity in Japan is people watching, so I remember we went in a model train store in Ginza. A young guy dressed in a business suit, was staring endlessly at the trains, probably missing his childhood. We stayed at the Marriott there, which is not a Courtyard Marriott.

Odaiba is good for a day trip, but I would not stay there for a first trip to Tokyo. We enjoyed the peaceful and beautiful boat ride out to the island.

You might want to use the luggage transferring service when you change Tokyo hotels. It is inexpensive and reliable. That way, you can take public transportation, perhaps sightseeing on the way. And then, you would not have to backtrack to your Ginza hotel.

One last thought, the Japanese are extremely polite, especially to Westerners. If you are in crowded spots during Golden Weeks, it may not seem so bad. In fact, you will probably be ushered to the front of a line, for example, at the restrooms.

Enjoy your trip.
CaliforniaLady is offline  
Apr 8th, 2018, 08:16 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,340
Golden week is a time when many Japanese go home to their family. As such I would not think that getting a hotel room in Tokyo would be a problem as there tends to be an exodus of people from the city. I should however state that I have never had to find a hotel in Tokyo for Golden week so take my observation with a grain of salt.
mjs is offline  
Apr 11th, 2018, 04:32 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 255
You will be fine in Golden Week. As Tokyo residents, we always leave Japan during that period as travel can be difficult and prices high.(And we have to book these trips a year in advance as so many other residents have the same plan.. SE Asian resorts are crowded with Japanese tourists over Golden Week.) Unlike Obon,when people travel home to spend time with family, many seize the opporutnity of the vacation period to travel, often domestically. So yes, Tokyo hotels get booked quickly (there is a terrible hotel shortage in Japan which they are frantically trying to address before the 2020 Olympics). Some restaurants may be closed during Golden Week but that's the only 'problem' you might encounter. Re a comment above: Takeshitadori is painfully crowded on even a normal weekend! The Mercure is a convenient base - the 'nonTskuji' end of Ginza. It is right near a branch of Tenya - very popular, very reasonably priced tempura over rice. Look for the yellow and brown sign. Moving to Shinjuku will give you a chance to experience a totally different part of town. You'll have a great time!
Boveney is offline  
Apr 14th, 2018, 05:59 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Mercure Hotel is 1 minute walk away from good gelateria: come out of hotel, turn away from direction of Chuo Dori (main Ginza St), lst left turn and you're there. Mario Gelateria. If you're interested in contemporary art, check out Gallery Q on 2nd floor directly across street.
Boveney is offline  
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