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Micromanage my Life - Japan


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If an English-speaker wanted to rent an apartment in Tokyo for about one month is Airbnb the right place to be looking ? or are there better sites with better apartments that are more focused on Tokyo

You don't know good value.   e.g. this place is around 200,000 yen/month:   https://www.unionmonthly.jp/tokyo/room/3444/   But right across from the train tracks, but much livelier neighborhood,

1. The JR rail pass isn't useful in Tokyo proper and I really don't know how much of a good thing it is for the rest of your trip, so check. As I think I mentioned, check if by chance it doesn't end u

I’m hyper-overloaded at the moment so I’m going to make this hyper-quick … thanks all, helpful stuff !

 

And Orik, wow ! You did me a major solid ... seems like you're well on your way to earning a few free meals ... you come to Tokyo and it's Chambo's treat ... I'm serious, I'm a man of my word ... I even have an apartment with a couch you can crash on, decent closet space too (in case you're interested) and some guy told me that it was well-located to boot ... so you decide ...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks, joe … that looks like an excellent suggestion … guess I’ll have to truck uptown
 

There's still some shelter and logistics work to do ie the Tokyo - Kyoto - Osaka SIX NIGHT excursion
... 
I know close to nothing about these places and, quite frankly, have no time to learn now ...
 
a. I'll get the 7-day JR rail pass ... no car at any point
b. 3 nights in Kyoto and 3 nights in Osaka
c. A day trip at some point to Nara
 
I'll like to stay at nice places but I'm not paying CRAZY $s for them ... top Tokyo hotels are silly expensive, geesh 
 
Questions for the Team ...
 

3. If not a specific hotel, any recs re in what part of each city the hotel should be located ?

5. Foods recs for places that foreigners can actually eat at around these parts ?
6. Anything else worth mentioning ? If so, I'm all ears ...


So the plan WILL BE a b c above

So the Korean 5* concierge has come thru in the clutch and provides a relatively decent starting point for Chambo … granted she was offered the small incentive of dinner with yours truly anywhere she wanted in “the city” aka New York in the very near future … so then maybe those were actually paid or bartered services and not the as-advertised clutch performance … but since she knew that I would take her out dining anyway no matter what then she actually did come thru in the clutch … but then again she’s going back to Barca and then off to Valencia in a few weeks and I have her wired up the ying-yang there … but then again since she promised to go Big Apple clothes shopping with me one afternoon to do any necessary pre-Asian wardrobe optimization then … wait, forget it, these details are of no interest to you guys … so anyhoo …

For Osaka, she said that she stayed at the InterContinental Osaka and she’s saying that it’s a reasonable location, it’s got a good gym (she knows her Chambo), it’s available for my preferred dates and it’s perfectly fine since I don’t really want to spending much time in the hotel anyway … that’s true !

So I started snooping around in the vicinity and stumbled upon the Ritz-Carlton Osaka which is BARELY more expensive than the InterContinental for a generously-sized room (so it must be a crappy Ritz …and not that I really like the Ritz … but I’d sure like to tell my friends I stayed at the Ritz ! … what’s very strange is that the Ritz in Kyoto costs about what you’d think a Ritz should cost ie A LOT … so it’s kinda weird cuz it almost seems like the Ritz in Osaka isn’t a real Ritz or surely not a ritzy Ritz … and looking at the pics quickly it does seem like it’s a bit of a bore … but maybe Chambo could liven up the place … hmmm)

And finally I took a quick peek at the Imperial Hotel Osaka which doesn’t cost diddly in the grand scheme of things, nor does it look all that great, it’s in a slightly different location, hugging the O River toward the East … hmmmm ... not looking good for the Imperial ...

And then for city of Kyoto, I first received a suggestion to stay at a lovely ryokan with serene hot springs and sea and mountain views on a wooded peninsula and I was thinking that sounds very very nice ! I looked the place up and it’s more than 90 minutes by car from the city of Kyoto and I don’t have a car. So I ask, what’s option B ? And then I get 3 hotels with high ratings (4.3, 4.4 and 4.5) very closely situated to the Kyoto train station. So nothing wrong with that, in principle, but I think she asked some friend and I have sneaky suspicion that her friend just plucked off a few high-ranking hotels near Kyoto station … which quite frankly is way more than I had done at that point! So it looks like I can spin the hotel roulette wheel, that’s divided into thirds and it will stop on either the Hyatt Regency Kyoto or THE THOUSAND KYOTO or the Hotel Kanra Kyoto. All have availability, all seem okay enough for government work cuz I’m NOT ponying up for Ritz’s Kyoto ritzyness.

So there we are … I’m going to pull the trigger this weekend … any thoughts appreciated

I’m not expecting that people know these hotels … if you do, great … but a confirmation that the InterContinental / Ritz-Carlton are very well located in Osaka would be useful ?

 

And is staying very near Kyoto station in Kyoto a very good idea ? Seems like it might be, but what the hell do I know.

 

If there are better locations, fire away

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Both are near Osaka Station (JR), Umeda Station (Hankyu line), subway stations, so both are convenient. InterContinental is slightly more convenient than Ritz-Carlton. Plus ICO is next to Yodobashi Camera which is a nice place to spend way too much time browsing the newest technological advances in everything. But RC Osaka is next to Herbis, which is just a shopping center, but it has beautiful interiors. A friend likened RC Osaka to a business-class hotel (she usually stays at Four Seasons hotels, for frame of reference), but she said it was fine. She visited Osaka before ICO was built, and before RCO was renovated, so she can't offer a current comparison. Having only been to RC Osaka pre-renovation for food (drinks at the bar, banquets in the ballrooms), I didn't think it was as posh as one might expect. I don't know if you smoke, but since ICO is much newer, the rooms are less likely to suffer from the smell of stale cigarette smoke permeating the walls.

 

In Kyoto I would much rather stay around Shijo/Karasuma/Kawaramachi than Kyoto Station. I've stayed at Hotel Nikko Princess which is closer to the downtown area. It's fine for what it is. But a lot of people like to stay in the Okazaki area, which is near Heian Shrine and some excellent museums. Westin Miyako is in that area, and it's close to a subway line.

 

Btw, you'll probably have Kinkauji, Ginkakuji, Kiyomizu-dera, etc etc. on your sightseeing list in Kyoto, but I would highly recommend trying to get reservations for Katsura Rikyu and Kokedera (official name is Saihoji). They are two of my favorite places in Kyoto (Tofukuji in Arashiyama is another favorite, especially in the fall).

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Ohhhh, how timely ... thank you very much !

 

So it seems like either of my Osaka options are A-OK and good to go ... so I'll actually take a closer look at the hotels themselves and make a prudent decision.

 

Re Kyoto, I hear what you're saying but since NONE of the names / places that you mentioned mean anything to me, I'll guess I got some research to do and, although I should have done it ages ago,  I'm now going to start marking (ie saving as STARRED places in Goog Maps) a whole bunch of sites that I expect to visit in Kyoto to better see the lay of the land ... ( and since you're probably interested, Pras, this La Cabra coffee that I'm drinking is pretty darn good ... and I'm eating a Le Fierbois FRUITS DES BOIS yaourt avec, but true be told, I'm getting ready to go to the market and snag some of those little Bordier yogurts that I love (in all sorts of different fruity flavors) and probably get one of those creamy, yummy yaourt de brebis avec une confiture de cerises rouges ... oooh la la, ça c'est bon, Pras ! I sure do hope I'm going to be able find THEM in Japan too ...

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  • 2 weeks later...

JR 7day rail pass done ... and it's a total no-brainer that it's the right way to go for Tok-Kyo-Osa IMHO

 

Osaka hotel done ... Intercontinental ... and by waiting and procrastinating the price dropped ... Ka-Ching ! (and the Ritz prices went up and helped lean me in Inter's direction ... and quite frankly the Ritz just wasn't doing it for me from the pics etc)

 

Still gotta deal w Kyoto Hotel ... ugggggh ... but ...

 

My Tokyo hotel's concierge service is totally totally rocking it ... amazing service ... I'm loving it ... so .... I need to give them a bunch more to do because they seem to be gluttons for punishment and keep demanding to do more for me .... and I hate to disappoint, so ...

 

@Orik (and / or others)- I fly Thurs, I arrive Tok Fri, staying very near Tok Station, not interested in ressies on Fri Sat or Sun* (but am interested in good cool places that can be attempted on the fly on those days), but am interested in attempting ressies on Mon Tue Wed, not of the high high end**, but of very good places operating around a 1 star level or so, with or without the star, that I have a fighting chance to maybe get into ... did I mention that my concierge service seems ready, willing and able ? And sure, toss me a 2 too if you want to and I could get in if the stars align

 

What from your list might qualify for such a Mon Tue Wed agenda ... supply more than needed, pretty please, because some will surely be rejected ...

 

 

* @Ev - we're on the same page ... silly to be delirious while dining ... and I'm not really rushed for time ...

 

** cuz I probably couldn't get in and as I said before I'm not calibrated yet so why go somewhere and not really / fully appreciate it ... although of course I'm sure I'd appreciate it

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Japan does not share your view that reservations are free options. If you want to eat in a serious place you'll have to deal with cancellation fees. If you're concerned with being all zombie like, maybe try and book lunch? Remember that dozing off anywhere, anytime is entirely socially acceptable.

 

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/r11lusm7Dm/

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You should try and get to Hiroshima and Miyagima island - 1.5hrs from Osaka, bit longer from Kyoto. We used Osaka as a base and day tripped (train) to Nara, Kobe, Kyoto and Hiroshima. We found it more central and less touristy than Kyoto. 

 

I had heard of the flame thrower tuna guy, Toyo on the streets of Osaka but never made it.  A real character. Featured in Chef's Table Street Food epp 2.  Wish I had.

 

Also that the sushi at the Osaka mrkt was fantastic.  Didn't make it either. wsj: https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-sushi-obsessed-trip-to-osaka-1543942533

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Yeah, really

 

Those poor, overworked and over-stressed guys should be resting on the train and saving all that busy work for the restos ... that’s what I do, at least

 

So Pras, you’re going to be very proud of me and a bit disappointed all at the same time ...

 

Lodging done !

 

That’s the proud part

 

In the cab* to EWR this AM, Chambo made an executive Kyoto call on truly close to zero info and just decided to stay and say hi at the Hyatt ... the Regency ... I was just too frickin’ lazy and too darn busy in The City that Never Sleeps (posting on MF) to find any time to do ANYTHING related to KY ... that I can talk about in public ... and quite frankly I kind of fancy myself a king in waiting and I really like all this Imperial stuff ... so yes, that’s where I’m headed as soon as this ✈ lands

 

 

In Kyoto I would much rather stay around Shijo/Karasuma/Kawaramachi than Kyoto Station. I've stayed at Hotel Nikko Princess which is closer to the downtown area. It's fine for what it is

 

But I now know, regarding KY, that you wanted me to aim a bit more north because I’d be in better striking position for many of those holy places ... and believe you me ... I’m planning on entering a LOT of those holy places, checking out what’s going on in there, sniffing around and pretty much just getting the whole job done, having one of those come to Jesus moments and then moving on to the next holy place ... Chambo is a serious tourist who, yes, sometimes suffers from a God complex ... but other than that, Pras, he’s actually alright even if he’s laying down down south in a King bed

 

Hope you're not too disappointed that I’m not staying at the Princess with a princess, cuz I sensed that’s what you might have been so proposing, but I’ve got such an appetite for adventure and there’s so much fish in the sea and i want to get myself inside all the shrines and holy places and get down on my knees and worship like I mean it but I truly don’t know jack about any KY details yet I’ve be told that the concierge at the Regency is really up on speed and up to speed on where all the good action is so I just figured it made good sense for this aspiring King to be at the Regency given the overall situation ... see what i mean ?

 

Can you forgive me, Pras ? I’ll make it up to you one day

 

* Took a cab cuz my Uber driver who started out being 5 minutes away was 8 minutes away 7 minutes later and he stayed 8 minutes away w/o so much as budging an inch for another 6 minutes, and w/o so much as answering my 2 calls so that I said F U U bear, hit cancel, walked to Hudson and in < a NY minute I was on my merry way

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