Kyoto hotel/ location advice?

Old Mar 14th, 2009, 11:46 PM
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Kyoto hotel/ location advice?

Going to Kyoto in a week. Stating at a Ryokan for one night, and a "regular" hotel for two nights.

I am having trouble deciding between the Granvia, the Okura and the Westin Miyako. My understanding is that the Granvia is literally on top of the main train station, the Okura is centrally located, and the Westin is slightly outside downtown in the southeast. Some people seem to say the Westin is out of the way, others say it is a great location near many sites and in a peaceful setting. The Westin is the best deal, considerably less expensive than the Okura, and slightly less than than the Granvia. I am I inclined to stay at the Westin, with my second choice being the Granvia. I am just having a hard time getting a sense of the Westin's location; I don't want to spend half my trip in shuttles and taxis.

Is the Westin inconvenient? I am really a walker and a cabber, not a bus or subway guy. Are there plentiful reasonably priced taxis?

Thank you for the help.
fishskis is offline  
Old Mar 15th, 2009, 03:38 AM
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Taxis in Japan are not cheap, but they are scrupulously clean and the drivers excellent. As with any city, they tend to be plentiful around hotels and downtown venues, but much more hit-and-miss as you edge away from the downtown area.

If you're a walker, the Westin is ok, as long as you understand that it's a considerable walk to get to anywhere that you'd want to go: Gion, any of the sights, downtown shopping. No problem if it's a nice day, more of a problem if it's a cold rain.
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Old Mar 15th, 2009, 06:12 AM
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You need to keep in mind what you actually intend to do whilst you are in Kyoto. I don't actually know where the Westin and Okura are so I can't really comment on them.

What I can say is that we spent 5 nights at the Granvia last October. For us it worked really well, as we had planned day trips out of town on two days and of course the original arrival and departure. It was bliss to be able to get off the train/bus and be in our room in less than 5 mins, especially if we were feeling tired and foot weary.

As previously said, taxis are expensive in Kyoto so most people rely on buses. All the buses leave from Kyoto Station so that was very helpful, especially when returning late afternoon/night. It meant we had a large variety of buses to choose from no matter where we ended up, because nearly all of them went back to Kyoto Station. I'm not sure how easy it would be to pick up a bus to take you back to one of the other hotels and you may well have to transfer at some point too. Likewise, in the mornings, we never had to worry about bus transfers because all the routes left from downstairs so we could always get directly on to the bus we needed.

However, having said that, we were not within walking distance of many of the places that we wanted to visit. If one of the other two hotels is, that might work out better for you - especially if you have only limited time. As much as I enjoyed the Granvia if I only had a couple of days next time I might well go for a hotel located in the old area of town where my main interests lie.
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Old Mar 15th, 2009, 10:07 AM
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I have stayed in several places in Kyoto, and in my experience the Okura is by far has the best location of the better hotels in Kyoto. 2 steps from Teramachi-dori and the main shopping streets; 2 steps from Ponto-cho district; direct connection (no stepping outside) to the subway; short walk to Gion. It's the type of location where you step outside the front door and you're already in the middle of things.

(Which is not to say that the Okura is heavenly. It's comfortable and pleasant, but a bit dated and fussy.)
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Old Mar 15th, 2009, 01:25 PM
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I agree with rizzuto, we commented on how horrible would be to stay at the train station, it is an ugly area - sterile of the charm that is Kyoto. The closer you are to Gion and Ponto-cho the more interesting IMHO. We also stopped in the Hyatt Kyoto which was very nice and a good location. All in all we didn't find the cab fare in Kyoto to be too bad unless you get stuck in traffic. Kyoto is fabulous, have a great time!
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Old Mar 15th, 2009, 01:26 PM
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All the hotels you mention are good hotels with their own specific advantages and disadvantages so I would say that if you are most comfortable with your deal at the Westin then you should take it and enjoy your stay.

Just make sure that when you check in that you get a nice room as there are some that are not as good as others in that particular hotel. I forget which ones, something to do with the old and new wings of the hotel. Read more about it on Tripadvisor dot com

Other than that you will be fine at the Westin and do enjoy Kyoto. Kyoto is a marvelous city.

Aloha!
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Old Mar 15th, 2009, 01:29 PM
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I can comment on Granvia only. We stayed there for 6 nights and being right at the station was extremely comfortable. We had two side trips and the JR line was right there. Very easy to plan when to start- finish breakfast to make it to the train on time. Also, lots of buses stop in front of the station. At least two of them that we used stop at many of the popular attractions in different parts of Kyoto. I would also add that there are lots and lots of places to eat at and near the station. The information desk at Granvia was very helpful with all reservations and information that we needed.
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Old Mar 15th, 2009, 01:29 PM
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You are particularly lucky to have such a choice of hotels in the next week as it will be prime cherry blossom season and rooms are hard to come by at this time. I would get any of the three hotels I could right now.....
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Old Mar 15th, 2009, 04:44 PM
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Thank you everyone for the thoughtful replies; they are very helpful. Of course that does not mean I have decided, but now I can make an informed decision.
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