JAPANESE ACCOMMODATION

Old May 31st, 2006, 06:07 AM
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JAPANESE ACCOMMODATION

I have been reviewing the site for the Tour Club in Kyoto www.kyotojp.com. I was looking at the pictures and I am hoping someone on here can help.
There will be two older ladies - late 50's.We are not terribly overweight but definitely not as small as the Japanese people. I am leaning towards the Japanese style room with the attached washroom which seems to be have alot of space for the 14 days that we will be spending there. Looking at the pictures I am not sure if there would be chairs of any sort in the sleeping area during the day? I think from what I have read the futons are removed during the day?
The Western style room has a Western bed but a much smaller washroom area. I am looking for advice on anyone who has stayed in both the Japanese style and the Western style type of accommodation and what they thought.
We will be there for two weeks and just using the room to sleep and probably make tea in the evening and morning.
Any thoughts would help?
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Old May 31st, 2006, 02:28 PM
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There are not chairs as you know them in tatami rooms. There may be chairs without legs...basically a back...for sitting on the floor.

In a place like Tour Club, do not expect luxurious futon. They will be thin, likely single layer ones, and will be very much like sleeping on the floor with a thin mat...like camping. It's hard to tell, but the Japanese style twin looks to be either 4.5 or 6 tatami size...which is not spacious. 1 tatami is the space required for one person to sleep, but nowadays a futon takes up more space than 1 mat. One tatami is roughly 1 by 2 yards in size. So a 6 mat square room would be roughly 12 feet by 12 feet, or 16 square meters...tiny for a hotel room.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 02:42 PM
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I am 50 yrs old and in pretty decent shape (I walk 4 miles a day 5 times a wk, use an eliptical trainer, and hike frequently for farily long distances). But I do not like sleeping on inexpensive futons. I don't like having to roll over and hoist myself up from the floor (I can't get up on my knees, don't ask, bad surgery on one and I can walk and hike, but not kneel well). Kim is right, inexpensive futons are like camping mats. I tried it on my recent trip, at a pretty nice but realtively inexpensive ryokan in Hakone, and it was uncomfortable and hard, I could feel the floor. I am much more comfortable in a western bed. That is just me.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 03:10 PM
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I'm not familiar with the accommodations at Tour Club, but I am in my late 50s (or as I prefer to say, in my extremely late 40s) and have stayed in both Japanese style and Western rooms in Kyoto.

The Japanese-style rooms do have a certain charm, but that charm wears very thin after a couple of days for one not accustomed to that style. No such thing as sitting on the bed, or comfortable sitting up and reading in bed. And it was a major deal when I wanted to take an afternoon nap -- while my Japanese tried to be very accommodating, they didn't know quite what to make out of someone actually wanting to use the futon at 3 in the afternoon.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 03:19 PM
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Also, the bathrooms are the same size in both western and Japanese rooms. They are tiny unit baths. Tiny.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 03:45 PM
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I know someone who stayed there a year ago and I asked him about that as I thought of staying there. I don't usually like to share second hand info but he did comment on the bathrms in the rms. He said it is a very very friendly place (esp. the owner, and the atmosphoere lends itself to meeting other guests). He said the bathrooms are like big enough to turn around in. He said two people could not get in them. But at that price, it is great to get a private bathrm- at least you aren't sharing (I don't know about you but I couldn't do that anymore...). He also said the TVs are somewhat worthless as apparently they are mounted on the wall and are small, but he didn't care about that. He also rented bikes there which he thought was convenient. But I am not sure if he had a Japanese or western rm...
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Old May 31st, 2006, 04:59 PM
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On my recent trip I found the futons in my budget priced minshuku to be quitr comfortable - very firm but then so were the beds in the Western style rooms. Great for my back! Glad no-one was there to see the inelegant way I arose from the thing though.

And all the bathrooms I've ever seen in any accommodation I've had in Japan (and most of Europe for that matter) have been tiny. It depends on what your budget allows you to get used to. I prefer to spend my travel dollars on getting to places rather than spacious accommodation while I'm there.

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Old May 31st, 2006, 05:48 PM
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I have to agree with eigasuki on this one. If you are in budget accomodations, the western beds are going to be just as 'budget' as the futons and certainly will not be "Heavenly" beds. With the rate at about $75 for a double room with bath, I think the Tour club looks quite nice.

Also From their pictures, it appears their futons are about 4 or 5 inches thick. The sleeping areas will be tatami- reeds over (most likely) foam, so it will have some give as well. The pictures show only zabuton (floor cushions), but if you ask, they could probalby give you floor chairs, which have a base and a back, but no legs.

During the day, that 12x12 room will likely have just the low table, cushions aand your bags, so it will feel spacious. Hey, many US bedrooms are smaller than 12x12 and have beds, dressers, and desks in that space!

If you have knee or hip problems, getting up from the floor may be a good reason to forego traditional Japanese sleeping arrangments, but the tour club has both western and Japanese rooms. I'm sure you could switch if the style you choose doesn't work out.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 06:45 PM
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I don't disagree at all that the price is good. The price is good, and by all accounts I've read it's a friendly place to stay and very easy on the budget. I'm not saying don't stay there, but to know what you are getting.

But, Travelingmommy seemed to believe that the room would be spacious, and whether it's 4.5 or 6 mats (can't tell easily which it is) it is not spacious. As a more tangible idea of 6 mats, we have a double (not queen or kind, just double) in a six mat room along one wall. There is exactly one mat width free on the open side, and about 1 1/2 mats at the end of the bed. It' s not a room for partying! We just sleep in that room, our clothes and books and everything else like that are in a seperate 6 mat room we now affectionately call our "walk in closet".

She also mentioned they are in their late 50's and not terribly overweight...so in my mind they are close in age and build to my parents. The bathroom, especially might be problematic, as it is true...the unit baths are tiny...they are pretty much the same everywhere, and the last time I stayed in a place with a unit bath my husband couldn't
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Old May 31st, 2006, 06:56 PM
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hit post by mistake..

Anyway, my husband couldn't sit on the toilet without his knees jammed against the wall and sitting sort of diagonally...and he's 5'10" and not overweight.

Lucy is right. The futons do appear to have a foam pad underneath them. For a while, when we first moved here, we bought a foam pad for under our cheap futon...it wasn't much softer, but a little better.

The main thing I think Travelingmommy needs to be aware of is that the space is small, very small. The living room pictured with zabuton seems to be a common living room from what I've read on reviews. It's not clear if they set up your futon every night and clean it up in the morning....but I doubt it, as they say that from cleaning time for dorm rooms only from 10:30 to 4:00. Leads me to believe it's set up once and then taken away when you leave, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, the price is great and it has a good repuation. I'm unsure about how comfortable it will be for 2 women in their late 50's for 2 weeks...it really depends on what you are looking for and what you expect.

I'm really trying to convey clearly what to expect.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 07:03 PM
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and for a two week stay (which is a pretty long time in one place), I would want to be sure I am comfortable. I'd have back up reservations at another hotel (that could be cancelled without penalty) starting at 2 to 3 days into the stay in case I decided quickly that it wasn't going to work out at Tour Club for 2 wks. But that is just me.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 07:32 PM
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Are you able to increase your lodging budget some? This is a place to choose because it fits your budget, not for comfort or style.

The western double has that one bed which the two of you would share. The triple room is basically a bunk bed and a single. Matresses over wooden boards.

As for the Japanese rooms, what you see in those photos is what you will get. There won't be any chairs.

The photo of the Japanese triple room shows the three futon laying side by side. You can see the wall-tv to the right of the glass doors. I think that the photographer took that shot, turned around, took two steps back, and then took the photo of the bathroom. On the right side of that photo you can see the light coming from the glass doors.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 07:42 PM
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I have not stayed there but just from the pictures I agree it looks very small. Have you tried the Palaceside Hotel - I haven't stayed there either but it seems to be in the same price range and reveiws are ususally pretty good.....Fourteen days is a long time to be uncomfortable. When I was in Kyoto two months ago I stayed at the Sun Hotel but for a twin room it seems higher than your budget. I stayed in a Japanese style room in Tokyo two years ago. It was nice and roomy but the getting up and down was tough....I am a older middle-aged person
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Old May 31st, 2006, 07:57 PM
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I don't see a closet for storing the futon during the day, so they must stay on the floor. The blue door on the left of the bathroom photo looks like the door to a hallway.
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Old May 31st, 2006, 11:39 PM
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You are right mrw. Your comment about no closet got me to take another look. The room in the picture is very narrrow...3 mats wide, maybe 6 mats in 2 rows of 3. See how the head and feet of the futon are against each wall? I don't see any closet doors, and the blue door doesn't look like a closet to me either. The hangers on the wall are the closet for your clothes. No drawers or storage place for your stuff. 2 weeks out of a suitcase.

So, after reading the other comments, and taking another look at the place's website, I am even more in favor of trying to up your budget a bit and finding an alternative.

I also noticed your other post about doing trips from Kyoto, and agree again with Mrwnrfl that you'd be better off traveling around rather than having to get back to Kyoto each night. Even Kanazawa is about 3 hours each way, and I've done that trip once both ways the same day and I can't say I enjoyed spending 6 hours of my day on a train. Maybe spend 1 week in Kyoto and 1 week traveling around with a JR pass. There are many here with Japan experience who can help you with a nice itinerary and nice places to stay within your budget. I really think you'd enjoy that a lot more than 2 weeks at Tour Club. I know I would.
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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 02:12 AM
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I'll second the PalaceSide Hotel. Friends of mine stayed there for 4 weeks in November last year & loved it. I would certainly stay there every time I travel to Kyoto. The room rate actually decreases a bit for each night you stay there too.

As for futon in most public lodgings (well, the cheaper ones that I use!) I have found them to be thin & uncomfortable - the Japanese people call them "senbei-buton" (rice cracker futon). I thought this was normal until I slept on my friend's brand new futon....what a difference!!

I also suffer migraines & dodgy knees & have unpleasant memories of trying to haul myself off the floor >_<

Oh yes, PalaceSide hotel twin room where I stayed had 2 armchairs & a coffee table - a real bonus when you arrive home exhausted and don't fancy sitting on the floor!
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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 02:30 AM
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Here's a link to the Palace Side's price page...http://www.palacesidehotel.co.jp/eng...r-room-en.html

very reasonable, and a room with a kitchenette and sofa would be very comfortable I think for 2 weeks should you choose to stay put. The price is only slghtly more than Tour Club's for the kitchenette room, and a twin with a sofa is the same price as Tour Club's Japanese room. This place looks much nicer to me. Tour Club seems to be more of a hostel...in fact, it calls itself a hostel.
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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 06:24 AM
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I've always been impressed that Palaceside offers traditional Thai massage (60 min., 45oo yen; 90 min. 6500 yen, and 120 min, 8000 yen) and also foot massage (60 min, 5000 yen). One can really enjoy foot massage after a day of walking/hiking in and around Kyoto.
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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 11:33 AM
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You people are fantastic - thank you for all your info. Very impressive.
I have contacted Palace Side Hotel so will wait for their reply.
It has been bothering me since I started thinking about this trip - how I was going to handle the Japanese style of sleeping and I think you all cleared my thinking quite nicely - it won't suit me - maybe if I was younger and more agile. I do a fair amount of camping with my kids in a tent and it's fine for a few days but my bones start to complain after a few days.
I am so thrilled that you people take time out of your busy lifes to reply with such good tips.
Thank you from a grateful Canuck.
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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 11:45 AM
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maybe after your trip you'll find yourself becoming one of the "you people" and coming back to help others here.

i wondered what you would think of all the advice when you checked back here! glad it helped.
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