Kyoto accomodations all booked?

Old Sep 14th, 2006, 11:18 AM
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Kyoto accomodations all booked?

My husband and I are traveling to Japan for the first time this November. We were planning on going to Kyoto for 4 days (arriving November 8th, checking out November 12th). I have been trying to book a hotel or Ryokan but every place I've tried is booked. Have I missed the window of opportunity to stay in Kyoto? If so, are there other places we could go for those days? (Maybe stay in Nara and go into Kyoto? Somewhere else outside Kyoto?) Our itinerary for those days is still flexible but we are flying out of KIX airport on the 12th so somewhere in that area is preferred.

We are hoping to spend about $150USD/night but could go a little higher, if need be. We'd prefer clean and friendly service but are pretty open otherwise.

Thanks very much in advance for any advice.
deegmon is offline  
Old Sep 14th, 2006, 01:31 PM
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Try googling Hirota Guest House

We stayed there in March and it was great. If you can get the cottage in the back - even better. It's 9,000 yen per person and you'll have lots of room and your own bathroom if you can get that.
When I reserved I called her first. Her English is very good.

Anyone else?

Good luck!
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Old Sep 14th, 2006, 02:40 PM
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Thanks, Angethereader. I will check it out.

I am also thinking of just booking through a JTB office when we get there. I recall reading that they hold back a lot of the rooms. Is this a foolish plan? I know it's high season so I don't want to get stuck without a room or spend he better part of a day looking. Or wind up with something disappointing.

Has anyone had success booking upon arrival in Kyoto in high-season? Is it better to do the legwork now?

Any advice is appreciated. Thanks again!

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Old Sep 14th, 2006, 02:51 PM
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try this link

http://digbig.com/4mxfk

Aloha!
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Old Sep 14th, 2006, 02:53 PM
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oops posted too soon

seems asiarooms.com has some available
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Old Sep 14th, 2006, 02:55 PM
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You might want to contact a JTB office in the US. Do know that JTB rates are high, thouogh.

You could visit virtually any travel agent when you arrive in Japan and get a room...you will have to pay in advance and you will be issued a voucher.

You could wait until you get to Kyoto and have the tourist information help you find a place...in that case it would almost certainly be a standard business hotel. There are so many, many business hotels that have virually zero presense on the web in English...you won't be roomless. A business hotel room is small and often smelling of smoke (though not always), but it is a room.

You could try http://travel.rakuten.co.jp/en/ It is not a comprehensive listing by any means, but it is a site that does not charge higher rates for being in English as so many of the other ones do (including hotels' own websites).

The Granvia is showing available on the calendar, but unavailable in the booking engine. You might call them directly.

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Old Sep 14th, 2006, 03:23 PM
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Thanks so much, all. Very helpful. It's reassuring to know that we won't be roomless, worst-case.

Do all of the travel agencies in Japan steer you towards standard business hotels? We're going to be in Tokyo beforehand so perhaps we will try to book something for Kyoto in Narita (but if they are going to offer standard business hotels, I'm thinking I should just do it here and save myself the time/stress).

After reading through these boards, I am thinking of breaking the bank for one night and trying to stay in a high end ryokan. (Of course, that will greatly reduce the budget for the other 3 nights but it seems worth it.) I have requested one night through Japaneseguesthouses.com so we'll see what they say. Perhaps I am too late or they require more than a night's stay?

In any case, I am sure we'll enjoy our stay no matter where we wind up. Seems like an amazing place. Thanks again for the invaulable advice.
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Old Sep 14th, 2006, 03:50 PM
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Agents don't steer you toward business hotels unless that is what your budget allows and/or that is what is available. Getting a good hotel for 15,000 yen in peak foliage time in Kyoto just isn't likely to happen...that's why I said standard business hotel...mainly your budget.

During your time period for Kyoto, your availability problem is the Saturday night. Saturday night is booked, completely, in most places. Perhaps rework your itinerary to be in Kyoto either before or after November 12 so the Saturday night problem doesn't keep you out of the nicer places.

A gorgeous ryokan is a great experience. Your experience is much enhanced if you choose carefully and know what to expect. There are some in depth posts here about ryokan that a search should pull up for you.

Splurging for one night in a ryokan is a good idea. Ryokan stays are often only one night...so no problem there. Weekdays are less expensive than weekends.
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Old Sep 14th, 2006, 03:58 PM
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One more thing. If you decide to use asiarooms.com, know that every single time I've checked rates with them for hotels in Japan, the asiarooms.com rate has been twice or three times the direct booking rate or rakuten.co.jp rate. I really do not recommend them.
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Old Sep 14th, 2006, 04:05 PM
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Thanks, KimJapan. So helpful. Is it possible to book directly with the nice ryokans or do you recommend sticking with japaneseguesthouses.com? I have requested Hiiragiya and the like.

Perhaps we will stay a night in a nice ryokan (if possible), 2 nights elsewhere in Kyoto, and the Saturday night in Nara, assuming they have more availability than Kyoto. Then leave for KIX from Nara on Sunday afternoon.
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Old Sep 14th, 2006, 05:00 PM
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Unless it has changed, the TIC office near Kyoto station has a folder full of descriptions of hotels and Inns. They will let you choose from there, then call and see if rooms are available. They won't just assign you somewhere, although you mmight not have a whole lot of choices.

We have had some very nice hotels and inns thru them ( and in other towns as well) the times we arrived without plans.
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Old Sep 14th, 2006, 05:31 PM
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You can book directly with ryokan, or you can use an agent like Japaneseguesthouses.com. Japaneseguesthouses.com has a very limited selection, but if you find somewhere you like there you could try inquiring directly and through japaneseguesthouses.com and see what you get in terms of response. A problem you may have is language, as many places do not have English language web pages.
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Old Sep 14th, 2006, 05:35 PM
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lcuy:

Is it cheaper when you book thru the TIC? I've always wondered if they sell vacant rooms cheaply,fleece you, or give you a decent deal.

And yes the TIC was open outside Kyoto station in March '06.

Aloha!
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Old Sep 14th, 2006, 05:51 PM
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In Kanazawa, the rooms are listed by rack rate. The TIC does not know what is available or not on any given day. When you ask about rooms, they show you the choices and then they will call the ones you are interested in, one by one, until something is available. Sometimes the rate is cheaper than what they have listed, but usually it's standard published rack rate.
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Old Sep 14th, 2006, 08:22 PM
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Sometimes we've gotten a great room for much less than comparable hotels, other times it is just rack rate.

We leave a lot of unscheduled nights when in Japan, but I usually have a list of possibilities that I checked out online before we started our trip.

The beauty is they do the calling and have always found us something nice at a fair price, sometimes for less than I found it earlier.

You could decline it if you got there and it wasn't as nice as you hoped, but we've always been pleasantly surprised at how well the system works, especially when a town is busy.
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Old Sep 14th, 2006, 11:55 PM
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The APA Kyoto Gion Hotel is well located and in your price range.

I suggest looking for a nice ryokan that is not in Kyoto. I believe, tho have no proof, that you might get a nicer place for the price that way. Stay there on the 12th.
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Old Sep 15th, 2006, 03:44 AM
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Did you check the Hyatt? I just got back from a 4 night stay there. The rate was $150 per night. It's an unbelievable deal (maybe one of the best in Japan!) and I cannot recommend it enough. Let me know if you go and I will give you some advice on rooms. Honestly, I cannot say enough great things about it.
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Old Sep 15th, 2006, 10:22 AM
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Thanks so much for all the great advice. I will check out the suggestions.
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Old Sep 15th, 2006, 11:08 AM
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AJ605, since you are just back from the Hyatt, would you mind giving us all a bit more of a report on it? I want to stay there on my next trip, esp. if the rate is like the one you got. What tips can you give us on this new hotel?
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Old Sep 15th, 2006, 12:31 PM
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I was totally impressed! It definitely set the bar for the rest of the hotels on our trip. First, architectually it is beautiful...sleek, stylish and warm all at the same time. The rooms are a good size and the bath/shower area is wonderful. It's as nice as the best hotels i have stayed in. The gym is clean and has everything you need... a good size. And, the spa is great too. If you would like to use a computer they have free loaner laptops for guests. We found the concierge service to be one of the best during our trip - so helpful in reservations, directions, really anything we needed. Finally, since it is a new hotel the manager invited guests to complimentarty drinks/appetizers in the evening. He and his co-worker spent about 1.5 hours with us talking about their favorite things to do in kyoto, etc. He even gave us a copy of his favorite guidebook of the city. Also, we found the location to be perfect. Not only is it close to the train station, town center and gion but there are numerous buses that stop very close (some in front) to the hotel. If I went back to Kyoto I would most definitely return.

Downsides - 1)no pool, 2)waiters need a little more training (one morning our breakfast bill arrived and it was $70 for coffee and cereal...the waiter didn't understand that coffee is unlimited) and know minimal english, 3)the bar and the continental brkft were great but i was disappointed with my meal at the japanese restaurant. very expensive for what i had.

Tips - 1) request a room on a higher flr overlooking the garden. 2) book online at hyatt.com - that's where i found the best rate.
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