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JAPAN..Travel agent? A few other questions, too

JAPAN..Travel agent? A few other questions, too

May 10th, 2018, 03:01 PM
  #41  
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Thanks again, Guenmai. Although I've been in Kyoto twice before it was so long ago that I barely remember. I will check out the locations of hotel you mention.

I do like to be able to wander around alone from the hotel and not be dependent on taxis but again, I need to do more reading to decide.

The Hotel MUME has been recommended very highly, so if I can make this work for my dates.....(??)..it is booked up just about all of November, though.

Guenmai, do you do a lot of shopping in Kyoto?
ekscrunchy is offline  
May 10th, 2018, 03:24 PM
  #42  
 
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Just my two cents re locations: the 4 seasons would not be a good location for me because I seemed to end up near the river or nearby, in the Gion area, in the evenings. I like to walk around like you do. If I went back, Id stay in one of the hotels along the river. Id even consider the ritz Carlton if I had the money (ha, I wish!) because I enjoyed the walk to it. But it may be different in November, not sure how cold it is, and you may end up taking taxis more that youd expect as a result.

or Id stay at the ryokan where my kaiseki dinner was, because that was an amazing, serene neighborhood. But given how much Mume is raved about here, that would be tempting, if you can get a room.
marvelousmouse is online now  
May 10th, 2018, 10:44 PM
  #43  
 
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[QUOTE=marvelousmouse;16727701]Just my two cents re locations: the 4 seasons would not be a good location for me because I seemed to end up near the river or nearby, in the Gion area, in the evenings. I like to walk around like you do. If I went back, Id stay in one of the hotels along the river. Id even consider the ritz Carlton if I had the money (ha, I wish!) because I enjoyed the walk to it. But it may be different in November, not sure how cold it is, and you may end up taking taxis more that youd expect as a result.

As for Ritz Carlton Kyoto versus Four Seasons Kyoto, for a downtown location, then I could understand staying at the Ritz Carton. However, I judge 5-star hotels by more than location and especially at 5-star hotel prices.

As for really great service, gorgeous grounds, a tea house on the premises, large pool area, a really delicious and large-variety breakfast buffet, and a peaceful and esthetically beautiful location, then it's Four Seasons Kyoto as far as I'm concerned in that category.

Plus, it was also great to have the executive chef go out of his way to make sure that I didn't end up with my few food allergens at my meals as he was there to guide me through the breakfast buffet and even send over breakfast dishes especially cooked for me and without me even asking. One morning I commented on how delicious one of the breakfast dishes had been the day before and even though it wasn't on that day's buffet, he went and prepared it for me without me even asking and had mentioned that he would be more than happy to personally prepare other meals for me if needed. It's those extra touches that I judge a 5-star hotel by and did not get that same high level of service at the RC. However, I'm glad that I tried out the RC Kyoto. So, my personal preference still lies with FS as I have stayed at them a lot and always look forward to going back to one wherever I am in the world as I have found the service high and consistent. So, as to which hotel to choose, that totally depends on what the guest's criteria are for a 5-star hotel.

Have a Remarkable Stay at the Newly Opened Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto Japan Info

Happy Travels!
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May 10th, 2018, 11:03 PM
  #44  
 
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Originally Posted by ekscrunchy View Post
Thanks again, Guenmai. Although I've been in Kyoto twice before it was so long ago that I barely remember. I will check out the locations of hotel you mention.
Guenmai, do you do a lot of shopping in Kyoto?
Yes, as I look for different clothing items and especially kimonos or kimono-style jackets. I also look for cookware and other kitchen items, handbags, and eyeglass frames as I've been buying eyeglass frames, around the world, since the 1970s. I also do the eyeglass shopping in Tokyo.

For eyeglass frames, I love Four Nines (999.9). However, I bought mine in Singapore, in January 2017, although it's a Japanese company. I plan to get to the boutique in Tokyo. I asked around for 999.9 in Kyoto, but couldn't find where their frames were carried although I was sent out on a wild-goose chase after them. They are somewhere in Kyoto. I went to other eyeglass-frame stores, in Kyoto, and ended up with some really cool, hip eyeglass holders for a reasonable price and saw some great eyeglass frames. Plus, the eyeglass holders make really good gifts for friends, of all ages, here at home.

Four Nines has some cool eyeglass holders in vibrant colors as I have bought many in Singapore.

CONCEPT 999.9 Four Nines OPTICAL

For Tokyo: https://www.timeout.com/tokyo/shoppi...shops-in-tokyo

For Japan in general: Where to Buy Cool, Affordable Glasses in Japan Travel + Leisure

Happy Travels!

Last edited by Guenmai; May 10th, 2018 at 11:07 PM. Reason: Typos
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May 10th, 2018, 11:16 PM
  #45  
 
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[QUOTE=Guenmai;16727809]
Originally Posted by marvelousmouse View Post
Just my two cents re locations: the 4 seasons would not be a good location for me because I seemed to end up near the river or nearby, in the Gion area, in the evenings. I like to walk around like you do. If I went back, Id stay in one of the hotels along the river. Id even consider the ritz Carlton if I had the money (ha, I wish!) because I enjoyed the walk to it. But it may be different in November, not sure how cold it is, and you may end up taking taxis more that youd expect as a result.

As for Ritz Carlton Kyoto versus Four Seasons Kyoto, for a downtown location, then I could understand staying at the Ritz Carton. However, I judge 5-star hotels by more than location and especially at 5-star hotel prices.

As for really great service, gorgeous grounds, a tea house on the premises, large pool area, a really delicious and large-variety breakfast buffet, and a peaceful and esthetically beautiful location, then it's Four Seasons Kyoto as far as I'm concerned in that category.

Plus, it was also great to have the executive chef go out of his way to make sure that I didn't end up with my few food allergens at my meals as he was there to guide me through the breakfast buffet and even send over breakfast dishes especially cooked for me and without me even asking. One morning I commented on how delicious one of the breakfast dishes had been the day before and even though it wasn't on that day's buffet, he went and prepared it for me without me even asking and had mentioned that he would be more than happy to personally prepare other meals for me if needed. It's those extra touches that I judge a 5-star hotel by and did not get that same high level of service at the RC. However, I'm glad that I tried out the RC Kyoto. So, my personal preference still lies with FS as I have stayed at them a lot and always look forward to going back to one wherever I am in the world as I have found the service high and consistent. So, as to which hotel to choose, that totally depends on what the guest's criteria are for a 5-star hotel.

Have a Remarkable Stay at the Newly Opened Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto Japan Info

Happy Travels!
That I can totally understand, as Ive stayed at both chains elsewhere and I agree that 4S is terrifically consistent. Also aesthetically I preferred the 4S. I was speaking only based on location preference as I didnt stay at either.
marvelousmouse is online now  
May 11th, 2018, 04:09 AM
  #46  
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So Guenmai you had a private guide every day for your Tokyo stay? Any reason you felt that you needed to have car and driver? Maybe to carry shopping purchases (!)

MM; thanks, you've been very helpful.

I did find space at the Hotel Mume, although it is later (early December) than I would have liked. This means that Kyoto could be my last stop and from there I could transit to Narita for the flight home.
ekscrunchy is offline  
May 11th, 2018, 11:18 AM
  #47  
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The Granvia in Kyoto looks just fine for us but again, seems to be sold out for much of November. They have an indoor pool.

It's lovely about the attention paid to Guenmai by the 4S chef. Can see how this would make an impression! And the concern for allergies, too. But happily I eat pretty much anything and am probably a pretty easy guest to please; for me it's a pool that would be the big factor but even with that, I can overlook if need be.

We have not much interest in dinners at the hotel or even tea houses.

Just looked at RCarlton prices..they have rooms, but seems to be in the area of $1400US per night for the moderate priced rooms!! Moving on.....

Last edited by ekscrunchy; May 11th, 2018 at 11:29 AM.
ekscrunchy is offline  
May 11th, 2018, 12:08 PM
  #48  
 
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[QUOTE=marvelousmouse;16727817]
Originally Posted by Guenmai View Post

That I can totally understand, as Ive stayed at both chains elsewhere and I agree that 4S is terrifically consistent. Also aesthetically I preferred the 4S. I was speaking only based on location preference as I didnt stay at either.
I realized that you were referring to only location. I was expressing that I have several criteria, other than location,when it comes to selecting 5-star hotels at 5-star hotel prices.

Happy Travels!
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May 11th, 2018, 12:11 PM
  #49  
 
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Originally Posted by ekscrunchy View Post
So Guenmai you had a private guide every day for your Tokyo stay? Any reason you felt that you needed to have car and driver? Maybe to carry shopping purchases (!)

MM; thanks, you've been very helpful.

I did find space at the Hotel Mume, although it is later (early December) than I would have liked. This means that Kyoto could be my last stop and from there I could transit to Narita for the flight home.
I did not have a private guide in Tokyo period. I did Tokyo on foot, in trains, and in a few taxis. I stated in my posts that I had a private guide for all of 4 HOURS, for ONE DAY, out of my 9 nights in Kyoto.

Happy Travels!
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May 11th, 2018, 12:40 PM
  #50  
 
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Originally Posted by ekscrunchy View Post
The Granvia in Kyoto looks just fine for us but again, seems to be sold out for much of November. They have an indoor pool.

It's lovely about the attention paid to Guenmai by the 4S chef. Can see how this would make an impression! And the concern for allergies, too. But happily I eat pretty much anything and am probably a pretty easy guest to please; for me it's a pool that would be the big factor but even with that, I can overlook if need be.

We have not much interest in dinners at the hotel or even tea houses.

Just looked at RCarlton prices..they have rooms, but seems to be in the area of $1400US per night for the moderate priced rooms!! Moving on.....
I ate most of my meals from the basements of Japanese department stores in both Tokyo and Kyoto. I was not eating most of my meals at the 5-star hotels. But, I DO like to have a really decent breakfast buffet and the FS Kyoto had an incredible one. Plus, as for staying at the FS Kyoto, it was about more than the attention and concern received from the chef. It was the entire, overall experience. So, as far as I was concerned, the price that I paid was worth the experience.

As for the price that you have found at the RC Kyoto, as I stated in my posts, the prices fluctuate like crazy, but due to my persistence and date flexibility, I ended up with decent prices at my 3, 5-stars in Kyoto. I remember when I was looking at the prices at the RC Kyoto and they were sky high, but I didn't end up paying those original sky high prices.

Last night, I looked up my exact dates of my upcoming FS Kyoto stay and the price of the same kind of room that I booked months ago has priced out at exactly $299.24 more, per night, than what I booked it for months ago and I wouldn't be surprised if it eventually goes down to either what I paid or lower. Prices can change within the short time that I am on a website looking at prices. The room that I booked has a cancelation policy so that if something comes up and I don't make it to Japan, then I will get a full refund.

Last summer 2017, prices were all over the place for the Four Seasons in Tokyo, but I ignored the high prices and kept checking and ended up with a price of $364.25 a night and with the buffet breakfast included, every morning, and also with a spa credit. That same room had previously priced out at over $200 a night more, for the same dates, and without the buffet breakfast or spa credit. I do nearly all of my bookings on my Expedia account, so it's easy to look up the prices that I paid in previous years, as I just did.

Happy Travels!
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May 11th, 2018, 01:25 PM
  #51  
 
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I just stayed at the Ritz Carlton for cherry blossom, and I have also stayed at the Hyatt. The RC was wonderful but at double the price of the RC in Tokyo I am not sure it was value for money. I think it makes more sense to splurge in Tokyo especially if you like tower hotels.

Anyway, in my opinion the location of the RC is better than the Hyatt's location. The area is nicer (seemed more upscale, it's past the restaurant area although there are a few close by) and it's more convenient, especially at night. I also liked staying by the river. Having said this, the location of the Hyatt is not bad, just quieter and a bit off. For us it wasn't a problem, we love walking and Japan is my favourite country for taxis, cheap and plentiful and the drivers are always so polite.

About the Granvia, I just looked it up and it seems to be by the railway station? It's a 15 minute taxi ride from Gion so a lot more off that the Hyatt in my opinion.
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May 11th, 2018, 04:01 PM
  #52  
 
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True, the taxis are really nice and the driver's quite polite. There were drivers who even wore white gloves and their car seats were covered with white covers. It was also interesting when they would push a button and the car door would open for the passenger. I think they also automatically closed.

Happy Travels!
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May 11th, 2018, 04:19 PM
  #53  
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Ticino: (Do you llive there??) Thank you for the clarification on the hotel locations.

I remember my first trips to Japan how impressed I was that ALL the taxi drivers wore white gloves and could open the doors with a push of a button! Nice to see that this is still the case for at least some taxis. Getting more and more excited about this trip!!

We've all but decided to add on Kyushu as well; looking at Takefue and hope they will have room for us!! Any other ideas for that island willl be more than welcome. We will certainly include a few days in Fukuoka.

Any hotel ideas for a night in Hiroshima?

Last edited by ekscrunchy; May 11th, 2018 at 04:21 PM.
ekscrunchy is offline  
May 11th, 2018, 06:04 PM
  #54  
 
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The Granvia is in the train station. Since I use public transport I would find it very convenient. Plus there are plenty of places to eat in the station, including a good tempura restaurant.
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May 12th, 2018, 01:40 AM
  #55  
 
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@ekscrunchy: In Ticino? Not anymore but hope to move back! I live in Stockholm but travel quite a lot thanks to the internet and a very flexible job. Been to Japan several times, the last time was over Easter and we are going back in November for the autumn colours. All our trips to Japan have been relatively short (7-10 nights) so I'm no expert but I do consult Japanese friends before booking anything.

Never been to Hiroshima so I can't recommend any hotel, sorry.

Last edited by ticino; May 12th, 2018 at 01:42 AM.
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May 12th, 2018, 01:04 PM
  #56  
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Ticino, the first hotel I "saved" on my TripAdvisor account was in the Ticino. So fortunate that you have lived both there and now in Stockholm, which is also high on my list of places to visit!!

Thank you for all the info thus far. I had the idea that taxis were crazy-pricey in Japan but if not (and this sounds like a ridiculous concern for someone discussing luxury hotels). Your comments are supremely helpful.

Thursday, thank you yet again...Granvia is in contention. I think we might be more relaxed in the hotel area than some..we can stay in places that some might think are not so good, but do enjoy the top tier as well. I wanted my partner to experience this level of luxury as it will no doubt be the one and only Asian jaunt for the both fo us together. (But who really knows, right!!??) I would so like to meet you someday. Very best regards from thisi Fodor's poster..
ekscrunchy is offline  
May 12th, 2018, 01:19 PM
  #57  
 
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If you want to try luxury in Japan I would really urge you to spend a night in a ryokan, rather than in a hotel. I haven't, because it's hard to find one that will take a solo foreigner, but you won't have that problem. You should be able to find one with western beds, and this is where KimJapan could really help.

I would love to meet you too, any chance you'll be in England in October, I'm still hoping to manage that? And your partner may get addicted to Asia, although Japan is quite different from other Asian countries.
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May 13th, 2018, 03:47 AM
  #58  
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Thursday I will give that idea a look, thank you! No england in october but in the near future someplace...(??)

Guenmai did you get these glasses?? They might be the wildest ones I've ever seen! Who thought of buying glasses in Japan? Not me, until now. ARe they "readers" like they sell at Costco and drugstores iin the US?

https://www.factory900.jp/en/product...aw/fa_086.html
ekscrunchy is offline  
May 13th, 2018, 08:52 PM
  #59  
 
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Originally Posted by ekscrunchy View Post
Thursday I will give that idea a look, thank you! No england in october but in the near future someplace...(??)

Guenmai did you get these glasses?? They might be the wildest ones I've ever seen! Who thought of buying glasses in Japan? Not me, until now. ARe they "readers" like they sell at Costco and drugstores iin the US?

https://www.factory900.jp/en/product...aw/fa_086.html
No, I didn't get those glasses. That's not for me. I buy regular, nice hip eyeglass frames overseas and although I have prescription lenses, I don't need reading glasses.

Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
May 14th, 2018, 03:44 AM
  #60  
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My question was whether those eyeglass stores are selling "readers," or just frames? Thanks.
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