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Kyoto November 21-26? Agoraphobics seek counsel

Kyoto November 21-26? Agoraphobics seek counsel

Old Mar 22nd, 2008, 08:26 PM
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Kyoto November 21-26? Agoraphobics seek counsel

In our latest Japan itinerary revision, we are planning to be in Tokyo November 14-18, Hakone Nov 19-20 (would 3 nights be too much if we want to relax between cities?), then on to Kyoto Nov 21-26. But,
we have just learned about Japanese Thanksgiving on Nov 23 and the first 4 places we tried for a Kyoto hotel are completely booked. We love foliage, but are not keen on crowds. Could this be as bad as Yosemite on Memorial Day weekend or Venice during Carnevale? One day of a crush would be fine, but we are concerned that this scheduling could ruin the whole weeks experience. Please help!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2008, 08:38 PM
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The situation is either that it's too early and rates have not been loaded into the reservation system for November, or that the hotels you chose are popular with tour groups who have blocked rooms, or a combination of the two. Contacting the hotels directly will tell you which it is.

Kyoto is always crowded, especially during autumn weekends and cherry blossom time. In addition to being a popular domestic and int'l inbound tourist destination, it is a huge city. If crowds bother you, you will be better off visiting Kyoto on weekdays, not holidays and weekends.

Which hotels were you checking? I just checked the Granvia and Hyatt, both very popular, and they have rooms available for your dates.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2008, 11:14 PM
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Hi KimJapan. Thanks for the advice.I tried the Brighton Hotel, the Westin and two others I don't remember, but can try some smaller hotels--we would also prefer to be down a notch in price from these two, somewhere around S200 if that is doable. With weekends, the bind is we would like to be in Hakone, Kyoto, and Koya-san
all during the week. I'm very aware of being a rookie in terms of Japan--we love both Venice and Yosemite and are quite good at avoiding crowds in these very popular places, but Venice is a city we know really well, but don't know what neighborhoods to think of in Kyoto or if we might do better staying in Nara...Or spendng a very long day going from Hakone to Koya-san on a Friday, then backtracking to Kyoto. This would mean traveling on the 23rd though--how big a holiday is the Japanese Thanksgiving? And can you reccomend a ryokan for a splurge final night in Kyoto (which we planned to do after Mt. Koya and before flying out of Osaka)? I also thought of trying to change our plane reservations (flying with miles) and fly into Osaka and out of Tokyo if that would improve things. Thanks for your help--if you ever want ideas about Italy (my husband is Italian and we travel there a lot)), we would be glad to return the favor. cmstraf
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Old Mar 22nd, 2008, 11:53 PM
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have been to Venice and Yosemite at various stages of crowds.....nothing compares to Japan.... the crowds are very different and each unique
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Old Mar 23rd, 2008, 12:28 AM
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An open jaw would certainly make sense in terms of both logistics and cost.

At the $100/night or so price level there are a plethora of business hotels. Toyoko Inn and APA are reliable chains that are clean and cheap. They don't load rates until about 3 months out, sometimes 2. Reserving them on websites like asiarooms.com will assure that you are paying much more, often double and triple, than the direct booking rate. So book directly. Warning...the rooms are tiny, I'm not kidding. Twins are slightly bigger than doubles.

Tokyu is another chain that is a step up from the other two I mentioned. They have a bit bigger rooms, and if you get the better rooms in the hotel (more money) they are spacioius.

The Hyatt might be bookable via a Virtuoso agent. I forget exact Virtuoso benefits, but they include breakfast daily, 3500 yen f/b credit, upgrade on arrival if available...there may be something else. I've just sent an inquiry about the Virtuoso rates to my agent and will hear back Monday or Tuesday. There is no fee to book through a Virtuoso agent, and Virtuoso properties offer contract rates with good benefits...rates are often much less than otherwise. We got a very good rate for the Peninsula Tokyo for when my MIL and SIL are visiting in September. I use Coastline Travel, and book by e-mail with them. They do only deal with high end properties, though.

The Granvia loads more rate plans in Japanese than English, and closer to the date. I'd expect to see several good package plans from them around June/July for November.

The Brighton has rates in Japanese loaded through April for specials.

There are really lots of places in addition to the ones mentioned. Be very careful about room size. 30 m2 is really the minimum for 2 people imo...smaller than that is fine for a night, but not for 5 nights. You will appreciate a bit of room to breathe.

Hotel rates are always higher on weekends and the night before a holiday.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2008, 12:46 AM
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Labor Thanksgiving Day this year falls on a Sunday, but is observed on Monday. Because it is a 3 day weekend, there will be crowds taking advantage of 2 days off in a row (many work Saturdays), and Kyoto foliage time. It's not a huge holiday in terms of celebration, but in terms of travel it is moderately popular...just because of the weekend it makes t hough this year. Travel on Sunday the 23rd will be a breeze. Monday outbound of Kyoto will be crowded. Highway especially.
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