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Trip Report (Tokyo, Hakone and Kyoto) - Caution very long!

Trip Report (Tokyo, Hakone and Kyoto) - Caution very long!

Dec 23rd, 2006, 03:07 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 6,818
Manisha:

Thank you for the excellent detailed report. Planning to be in Japan this spring for my first return visit in 60 years...I've copied many thngs from the report. Tokyo was starting to recover from the massive incendiary bombings at that time, but Kyoto was untouched...and I spect some time there on leave...I imagine the difference will be nothing short of startling! We booked the Three Sisters Annex near the Heian Shrine, touted by several friends...it's walking distance to many of the shrines in Eastern Kyoto.

In Tokyo, we're going for the Park Hotel...got a great deal through a friend..$160 all taxes incl. Did you find the Park walking distance to the heart of the Ginza, or not?

Thank you again.

Stu T.
tower is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2006, 06:25 PM
  #22  
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Stu - The Park was walking distance to heart of Ginza. About 15-20 mins. A couple of difficult sky-walks to manouver because it can get kind of confusing, but once you get the hang of it, I think it would be fine. We were also thrown off by the fact that they had construction going on near there, but by the time you go, hopefully it should be complete.

How interesting that you are going after 60 years - you will have a lot to compare and conrast, I am sure. Have a great time!
Manisha is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2006, 07:02 PM
  #23  
 
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Manisha:

Thank you for the info, again...

Stu T. (I was stationed way down in Kyushu (Beppu) and only managed to get to Kyoto once. I saw Tokyo, what little there was left of it, when arriving by troop ship. I'm scheduled to re-visit Beppu also)
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Dec 28th, 2006, 06:59 PM
  #24  
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I have posted the pictures and some videos from our trip to www.snapfish.com. Here is the URL:

http://www1.snapfish.com/share/p=275...=SYE/otsi=SALB

The Kansuiro Ryokan pictures didn't turn out as I had thought. You can actually not see that much in them, unfortunately. But I remembered this one section on their website that has clearer pictures of their rooms, the ryokan and the onsen:

http://www.kansuiro.co.jp/eng/kansuirouguide.html

Click on the link that says "Click here to view a selection of interior and exterior photographs of the Kansuiro Ryokan."

Let me know if you have any questions!
Manisha is offline  
Jan 30th, 2007, 05:50 AM
  #25  
BnS
 
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Manisha,

Thank you for posting your report. It is great!

I have a question for you in regards to Tokyo accommodation: I am considering either Westin Ebisu and Park Hotel.
I take it that you prefer the Westin as far as the hotel is concerned but which hotel would you choose for convenience?
I am travelling for the first time and I don't really want to waste too much time if the other location is much more central.

How about the HR Kyoto in comparison to Granvia? How far is the hotel from the Kyoto station? Is it desirable to stay around the station?

I am trying to be practical here although I am drawn to the Westin and HR for what they offer.

Thanks for your time.
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Jan 30th, 2007, 11:15 AM
  #26  
 
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Great report! You must take notes each day during your trip to be able to give such excellent detail. Good work!
You can never tell about eating in a hotel restaurant. In Matsumoto after wandering around for an hour looking for a restaurant I demanded that we eat in the hotel since I was very tired. The restaurant was in the side of the hotel lobby, kinda a coffee shop but nice. There was a set price meal with a help-yourself salad bar, 3 courses (American style with meal,starch, and veggie main course), an ice cream bar (8 flavors, must try them all) and then an elaborate dessert with cake, fruit, sorbet, sauce (EXCELLENT!), coffee or tea, one glass wine or beer with the main course. It was $12. Now that is a bargain so we ate there every evening and enjoyed it. Only disappointment...the ice cream case was closed at breakfast.
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Feb 1st, 2007, 05:16 PM
  #27  
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Elainee -
Thanks for reading my trip report.

Westin Ebisu versus Park Hotel :
From a convenience standpoint, I would rate the two about the same. They are about the same distance from a JR Yamanote station (JR Yamanote line takes you all around Tokyo in a circle). There are no big sightseeing attactions in the immediate vicinity of either hotel. Ginza is 10-15 min walking distance from Park hotel. I think that Westin has more restaurants and places to eat nearby than the Park Hotel. Park seemed to be more in an office district kinda neighborhood. Westin Ebisu is in a wonderful neighborhood Ebisu which is lovely to walk around in the evenings.

HR Kyoto versus
How about the HR Kyoto in comparison to Granvia? How far is the hotel from the Kyoto station? I am not sure but I think the Granvia is located within or very close to the Kyoto Train station. HR Kyoto is about a 30 min taxi ride (free service from station to hotel or a 680 Yen taxi ride). I don't know have any personal experience about the Granvia, but I loved HR Kyoto, as you can tell from the trip report. try doing a search on this forum for these hotel names, you might find more reviews and opinions. Or you could always post a question.

Is it desirable to stay around the station? I think this depends on a personal preference. We did not stay close to the station but were able to see a lot of things because the Kyoto bus transportation network is pretty extensive and pretty easy to use. So we used it to go everywhere w/o a problem. I suppose if I were paying the same $ for both hotels and they were the same in very aspect except for the location, I would pick the one closer to the station since all the bus lines seem to originate and terminate from the station as well.

I am trying to be practical here although I am drawn to the Westin and HR for what they offer. I don't think that by staying at the Westin or the HR Kyoto, you would be in such a remote location that you couldn't avail of your time in the city. A couple of bus lines stop right outside of HR Kyoto (literally have to walk out of the hotel). So I would not be worried from a practical standpoint.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions! Enjoy your trip - you will have a great time!
Manisha is offline  
Feb 1st, 2007, 05:20 PM
  #28  
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Sorry, the previous post was meant to be for BnS, not Elainee - I apologize. BnS, please let me know if you have any other questions.

Elainee - I am glad you liked my trip report. Your hotel restaurant story made me smile as we had similar experiences. That set-price meal sounds like a great deal! Especially the ice cream - yum!
Manisha is offline  
Feb 1st, 2007, 07:25 PM
  #29  
 
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Thanks for the great report Manisha! I really enjoyed it and see that we have a few experiences in common.

I also like maps but was bewildered on the day I first arrived in Japan. I got to Shinjuku station and looked at a big street map that was posted near an entrance. I compared it to the map in my book but could not figure it out until I realized that the street map was not north-up.

It's a good thing that you didn't see Fuji-san because now you will have to go back.

I also love the geisha and maiko. On your return visit you might enjoy the Miyako Odori in April or the Kamogawa Odori in May or October. Both in Kyoto.

Great that both of you went to the public baths. The outdoor bath (rotenburo) at Kansuiro sounds nice. The tiled hole in the ground could also be called a sunken bath. I was surprised when you said it was tile because I expected that it would be wood.

Ginkakuji is very beautiful. I was there on the day of peak fall color a few years ago.

What time did you get up on the first morning? I would have planned for the morning tour, expeciting to wake up by 4AM due to the jet lag. (thought that was not my experience in Nagoya last April).

Instead of going to Shinagawa to get your shinkansen tickets you could have just got them at JR Shimbashi station. Or Shibuya.

Am enjoying the photos now.
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Feb 1st, 2007, 07:43 PM
  #30  
 
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Beautiful Hakone. To get to your ryokan you walked across the bridge that is across the street from Hakone Yumoto station? I thought there was a free shuttle from the bridge to several of the ryokan in that direction.

The sashimi dishes look wonderful.

I believe that the girl in the blue kimono is a maiko, an apprentice geisha. Am not sure about the young woman in the silver kimono.
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Feb 1st, 2007, 08:12 PM
  #31  
BnS
 
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Thank you for posting such a thoughtful reply, it is most helpful.

You seem to know exactly where I was getting at with Kyoto HR vs Granvia comparison.

I don't seem to be able to access your photos, are they still available?
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Feb 6th, 2007, 10:51 PM
  #32  
 
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Nice report. I'm planning the same
iternay (Tokyo->Hakone->Kyoto->Tokyo).

Two questions

1) The train from Odawara to Gora. It
sounds small. Will it have enough room
for us to bring two wheeled luggages?.
They fit in the overhead of an airline.

2) Did you use JR rail pass for the
Shinkansen tickets Hokone->Kyoto->Tokyo?

The the Kyoto HR sounds great, we'll
be staying there also. In Tokyo, we'll
be staying at the Century Hyatt where
I've stayed previously; I like it and
it's close to Shinjuku. In Hakone,
they've opened a new Hyatt, so we'll
take one for the team there.
67ec is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 09:07 AM
  #33  
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I haven't checked the Fodor's forum in a while (work has been very busy) so didn't realize there were questions/comments on my trip report!

mrwunrfl - Thanks for your lovely comments on my trip report. I am glad you enjoyed it and the pics.

What time did you get up on the first morning? I would have planned for the morning tour, expeciting to wake up by 4AM due to the jet lag. We miraculously did not suffer from jet lag. So were up at about 8ish the next day. We did, however, suffer from jet lag when we got back to the US which made getting through the work day very difficult!

Beautiful Hakone. To get to your ryokan you walked across the bridge that is across the street from Hakone Yumoto station? Our ryokan was actually not across the bridge close to Hakone Yumoto. We just took lots of pics near that bridge on our quest to find cash Thanks for the tip on the free shuttle, tho! I had not heard about that anywhere.
Manisha is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 09:08 AM
  #34  
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BnS - Glad my reply was helpful. The pics are still available. You have to copy and paste the entire link on the url. Just clicking on the link, unfortunately, does not work because the entier link is not "clickable". hope that helps. Let me know if that still doesn't work.
Manisha is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 09:16 AM
  #35  
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67ec - Glad you liked the report.

1) The train from Odawara to Gora. It sounds small. Will it have enough room for us to bring two wheeled luggages?.They fit in the overhead of an airline. I can't remember if the train has luggage racks. Even if it does, I don't think that your luggages will fit there. Everything in Japan seems half the size of US stuff But if you do not mind holding on to your baggage, I don't think that will be a problem. The train has seats with their backs to the windows (like NY Subways). So you could sit holding your baggage directly in front of you. Hope that makes sense.

2) Did you use JR rail pass for the
Shinkansen tickets Hokone->Kyoto->Tokyo?
No, we did not. Since we went for only 8 days and only wanted to cover these three cities, it did not make that much sense for us to buy a JR rail pass. I did some basic math and I would have ended up saving $30 per person, which I figured was not worth the effort to go to O'Hare and buy JR Rail pass beforehand and all that.

The the Kyoto HR sounds great, we'll be staying there also. In Tokyo, we'll
be staying at the Century Hyatt where
I've stayed previously; I like it and
it's close to Shinjuku. In Hakone,
they've opened a new Hyatt, so we'll
take one for the team there.
I think you will like the HR Kyoto. Hope you like the other hotels as well and have a wonderful stay. Come back and tell us all about it. Have a great trip!
Manisha is offline  
Feb 10th, 2007, 09:55 AM
  #36  
emd
 
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Just fyi, you can buy the JR pass by fax/phone from any JTB (japan Travel Bureau) office in the USA. I live in D.C. area dn I use the New York JTB office. I have a quick call w/them, they fax me the form, I fil it out and fax it back and give them my credit card #, and the JR pass comes in the mail.
emd is offline  
Feb 12th, 2007, 04:49 AM
  #37  
 
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emd - I did the same thing with the Chicago office. There is no JTB office in my city. It was easy and they were very helpful. I just looked them up on the internet and called.
angethereader is offline  
Dec 8th, 2007, 12:13 PM
  #38  
 
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In planning my fall trip to the same cities, I really enjoyed your report, Manisha. Great info and tips. Thanks for sharing.
Statia is offline  
Dec 8th, 2007, 03:36 PM
  #39  
 
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For some reason I didn't look at your pictures before - they are wonderful! Thanks for sharing
Mara is offline  
Dec 11th, 2007, 08:36 PM
  #40  
 
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We are also planning a trip with a similar itinerary in 2008, so thank you for posting this - it will be very helpful. One question (excuse me if you answered this and I missed it) -- did you use any particular guide books in planning your trip? I have a DK Eyewitness guide just now from the library but am not finding the way it's organized to be very useful to me.
azzure is online now  

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