Osaka hotels - help

Old Jan 21st, 2006, 03:10 PM
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Osaka hotels - help

Hi All,

I am venturing in unfamiliar territory here.

I found some great airfare to Osaka for the end of March and am now in search of hotels. I like 4 star hotels and am interested in doing the usual tourist things while in Osaka. I am looking for a hotel in a good location and was wondering if anyone can point me in the right direction or recommend a hotel that is close to tourist sites.
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Old Jan 21st, 2006, 03:33 PM
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Hi Theresa- Do you just want to stay in Osaka? The reason I ask is that Kyoto is quite close and -IMHO- a much more interesting city to visit.

On the other hand, if you specifically want to see Osaka, I'll leave the details to other posters. We've been to Osaka, but just never "connected" like we do most places in Japan.

Did love the big ferris wheel on top of the shopping mall though!
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Old Jan 21st, 2006, 03:39 PM
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The usual tourist thing in Osaka...not so much. Osaka castle is a bit interesting, as is the aquarium. There is great shopping. There are outlet stores in Rinku-town. Universal Studios Japan is there. Kobe is nearby, as is Kyoto. Kobe is worth a visit to see the old style homes and buildings built by foreign missionaries and merchants. Also, great shopping. Kyoto, though might be where you really want to go.

For hotels in Osaka, we always stay at the Osaka Hilton. Rates are reasonable imo, and the location is excellent, directly across the street from the station. If you stay on the executive floor, you get free access to the gym and pool (which you otherwise pay for unless you have status with Hilton Honors), free breakfast in the exec lounge (saves you from the crowd in the 2nd floor restaurant), free drinks and snacks all day (including alcohol), and the great service of the staff in the lounge who can help you with sightseeing ideas, transportation...really anything you want.

What you might want to do is stay in Osaka for a couple of nignts upon arrival, then move to Kyoto.
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Old Jan 21st, 2006, 04:24 PM
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Thank you for both of your responses!

I just booked air yesterday ($480 from midwest) and haven't done much research yet.

No - I am not tied to Osaka and it looks like I should look into Kyoto.

I have traveled extensively but never to Asia and I am finding everything overwhelming at the moment.

Any suggestions for hotel in Kyoto - we are spending 5 nights and we would be willing to break up the stays for 2 different cities. Any hotel recommendations for Kyoto?

Also - any suggestions for Osaka/Kyoto bulletinboards or other travel websites?
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Old Jan 21st, 2006, 04:36 PM
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The Westin Miyako in Kyoto is very nice.

There will be a grand sumo tournament in Osaka every afternoon March 12 thru 26.

Here is a good place to start:
http://www.jnto.go.jp/

in particular on this page:
http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/RTG/PTG/index.html

there is a link, "Kyoto Walks", to a pdf guide.

Also at the same site:
http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/spn/kyoto/index.html
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Old Jan 21st, 2006, 04:44 PM
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To be honest, this is the best I've seen for Japan information. Because it's the weekend, you'll have fewer responses than during the week, but there are quite a few here who've visited Japan a number of times.

Since you only have 5 days...do I understand that correctly?...anyway, you might want to go right to Kyoto. There are limousine buses from Kansai airport that go to many hotels, and the Haruka train from Kansai airport will get you to Kyoto station. The buses are cheaper and often get you right to the hotel. Two hotels that you might consider are the Granvia, right in the station, and the Westin Miyako.

Coming from the states, you will likely have considerable jetlag. We find travelling home to Japan more difficult than when we go the east coast of the US direction. Around 3 in the afternoon, I get mightily exhausted, and for about a week, my daughter and I are in bed asleep before 7 pm. Of course, travel is more stimulating than just returning home, so you may find that you are fine. Everyone is different, and even every trip is different.

Japan is easy to get around, especially places like Kyoto that see plenty of foreign tourists. In 5 days, you will get a nice taste of Kyoto. You might consider a day trip to Nara if temples and big buddhas interest you.
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Old Jan 21st, 2006, 04:58 PM
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We leave US on March 25, arrive around 7 pm on the 26th and leave the evening of the 31st.

Glad I found a good forum for Japan info. Thank you for the links provided...Off to do more research.

Yes - I am worried about jetlag. Hopefully I will sleep well when I get in and can be a tourist the following day.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2006, 06:21 AM
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If it was me, I'd go to a sumo tournament afternoon (3 to 6 pm) at Osaka Municipal Stadium. We did this at end of last March and it was a highlight. If you are interested in that, I can point you to my trip report and give you some assistance w/directions to the municipal gymnasium where sumo tournament is held.

Do you like baseball? Because there will be preseason bball at Osaka Dome, a nice indoor venue. The 2006 preseason scheudle isn't out yet but it will be by mid-Feb. It will be posted at: http://www.japanesebaseball.com/index.jsp

Look for the schedule on left side of home page, and look for the Orix Buffaloes or Hanshin Tigers. Both at Osaka Teams that play in the Osaka Dome. Tigers are the best games to go to of the two. It is an experience you'll never forget - much less sedate than American games. The fans are colorful, and well - they are just nutty.

I'd stay in Osaka a day and night to do those two unique things, then spend other days and nights in Kyoto soaking up the culture, temples, architecture, shopping, and wonderful things there. Kyoto is not overwhelming. You can spend a day in eastern Kyoto in Higashiyama, maybe two days if you want to go slow and walk the Path of Philosophy also. Then you have a few days to explore other things, Nijo castle, Golden temple, many many other things to do and see and experience. You'll just scratch the surface, but don't worry, you won't have trouble finding things to do. The transportation system is not overwhelming - just subways which are easy and buses, and it is not expensive to take taxis in Kyoto (unlike Tokyo) so don't be too afraid of that.

Use the jnto links mrwunrfl gave you, and print their walking guides for Kyoto.

I also use www.japan-guide.com a lot. Their informational pages are great, w/directions on how to get to every place you can imagine you'd ever want to go, hours, etc. For a short trip like yours, you don't really need a guidebook if you use jnto.com and japan-guide.com. and print out stuff there. But you might want to get Judith Clancey's Kyoto book, I think it is Kyoto Guide to the Ancient Capitol or soemthign similar.

What is your budget for lodging?

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Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 08:58 AM
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My budget is probably between $100 - $200 but would like to stay around $150/night. I need twin beds and it looks like this is costing more.

I am starting to look at hotels in Kyoto - thanks for everyone's advice here.
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Old Jan 24th, 2006, 07:13 AM
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Hi Theresa, I live in Osaka so I've got a few suggestions.

So here's the lowdown on Kansai. Kansai is an area of Japan that consists of Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, etc. It's very easy to get around between the cities. Many people live in Kyoto or Nara or even Shiga and commute everyday to work.

It might be cheaper to stay in Osaka and take day trips to the other cities. The food is certainly cheaper in Osaka (and it's delicious everywhere)

If you only have five or six days, you should plan to spend at least three of them in Kyoto and one in Nara.

In Kyoto, I highly recommend that you book a Ryokan-- the traditional Japanese hotel.

In Kyoto, I recommend:

1. Temples and Shrines: Sanjusangen-do (thousand buddahs---totally awesome); Kiyomizu (great shopping on the way up to a great view); Yasaka-jinja (colorful shrine in Gion, the Geisha area); Kodaiji (the most beautiful temple IMO); Kinkaku-ju (Golden Temple-don't miss it.)

2. Go to Fushimi-Inari Taisha. Its the famous road of orange Tori gates. Miles of them. It's mindblowing.

3. Nishiki Market is a long covered strip of food stores. Amazingly gourmet (of course, this is Kyoto!) everything you can think of, lots to sample.

4. Shopping!

in Nara:

Todaiji temple, home of the giant buddah. Its a really gorgeous temple, maybe one of the most beautiful places on earth. The deer in the park around it bow to you for food.

in Osaka:

I agree, Sumo would be a once in a lifetime experience, but buy your tickets now! And in Osaka, EAT! Go to Shinsaibashi at night and buy some takoyaki by the river and watch the crazy neon and the wild outfits of the young mixed with kimono clad older couples out for a nice meal. Be overwhelmed by pachinko parlors and noise.

Try okonomiyaki and try to eat at a robotayaki place if you can fit it in. Both are cheap and delicious. And fun!

Have fun Theresa!
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Old Jan 24th, 2006, 03:38 PM
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Betty - thank you for your wonderful advice - great to have local input! I also appreciate everyone else's input. This is like no other trip I have planned.

I was reading on another board about Goodwill guides - where you pay for their expenses (transportation, admissions) and the guides volunteer their time. Has anyone heard of this?

I probably won't have much time to do more research until this weekend...
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Old Jan 24th, 2006, 05:44 PM
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Yes. Here is a link to some information about them. http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/GJ/travelS...eerGuides.html They are volunteers, and have received a brief training. Most of them are people who want an opportunity to use their English or another language that they know. You need to book in advance.
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Old Jan 28th, 2006, 04:25 PM
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Thank you KimJapan - you are a great asset to this board.
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Old May 26th, 2006, 04:33 PM
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We'll stay 2 full days in Osaka to shop and eat before flying out from Kansai Airport. Which western-style hotels are competible to Riva Hankai Hotel in term of location, facility and price?
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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 10:17 AM
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I found this Comfort Hotel nearby. It doesn't have the conveniency to catch the airport shuttle bus like the Riva Nankai does. But for four of us with five luggages, we mind as well hire a private minbus. If possible, we could use it to transfer us from the pier to the hotel too. Any such a service in Osaka?
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