Hotels 2004

Hotel Edoya / ホテル江戸屋
3-20-3 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-0034 Japan
reserve@hoteledoya.com; phone: +81.3.3833.8751; fax: +81.3.3833.8759

This hotel was my first impression of Japan. It is difficult to describe. I expected something different. But I don”t know what? On the other side, I liked what I found. The japanese room was like I imagined it. And it was big. Only, I discovered the onsen on the roof to late.

The second impression was: The building needs some updates. The taps are old and without power. The carpet in the floor is dead – for several years – and need to be replaced. The toilet room is small the bowl was oddly placed in the middle of the room. I asume that is was a japanese toilet before and the didn”t move the drain pipe. I little bit difficult to get in and out.

But: The hotel was a very good start and a also good finale. There were no complaints from my side. And I will book this hotel again on my next journey. No riscs.

Ryokan Kameya / 亀 屋 旅 館
1-22,4-chome, Chikko, Minato-ku, Osaka 552-0021, Japan
osaka@kameya-ryokan.co.jp; ph: +81.6.6571.0829 ; fax: +81.6.6574.0945;

The Kameye is a small ryokan that is not the newest one. It is run by an older couple. My roome was simple. There only was a common bath room that reminded me of a youth hostel. The ryokan is outside of Oosaka in the area called Oosaka-ko; close to the aquarium and the ferris wheel. On the first view it is not the best area, but I never had trouble, not here or elsewhere in Japan.

The ryokan has the benefit that there is a wash center on the other side of the street. Ok, it is not a center, but there  aer public washing machines and no one want to carry around 4 weeks of dirty clothes. And there is the weight limit for your luaggage at the airport too.

Getting There: Like I mentioned, it is located outside the city center. Use the green subway line. If you arrive at Shinosaka by Shinkansen, take the red line first to Hommachi and change there. At Osakako use exit 1 and walk towards the ferris wheel. Turn left into the first side alley. After 50yd there is a small street to the right. The wash center is at the corner. On the left side is the Kameya. It is the building with the blue roof.

[Update 2014: The ryokan does not exist anymore. It was demolished late 2013. On google streetview you can see the ryokan in the pictures from September 2013 and gone in the pictures from March 2014. ]

Hotel Flex / ホテルフレックス
 7-1 Kaminobori-cyo, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima 730-0014, Japan

info@hotel-flex.co.jp; phone: +81.82.223.1000; fax: +81.82.223.5678

Hotel Flex is a so called business hotel. I am not sure what the specs of this hotel type are. I asume: a small and functional room with a shower cubicle and no extras (pool, bar). Just a place to stay on a business trip. The price was midrange. If you are only interested in a clean place to sleep, the place is perfect. On trip advisor you will see some negative votes; mostly because of the room size. It is true, the room is small. But it was fine with me. I don’t want to dance a walz.

The hotel has a clear and modern style; with a lot of visible concrete. It everything but traditional japanese. My suggestion for Hiroshima is to stay at Miyajima island and make Hiroshima a day trip. But this is definately not because of the hotel.

Getting There: The location is perfect. It takes a 8 minutes walk from the train station. Leave at the south exit (shinkansen tracks are in the north). Pass the department store and cross the bridge. You will see the hotel on the right side. Turn left after the bridge. After 220yd you cross another bridge. The hotel is the first building on the other side. The entrance can be overseen easily.

Ryokan Nakajimaya / 旅 館 中 島 家
369 Nishimae-cho, Bukkoji, Takakuradori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, 600-8083 Japan; phone: +81.75.351.3886; fax: +81.75.351.3889

The ryokan was like cut out of a flyer. Wow. It is in the center of Kyoto in an small and quiet side alley. It can be topped only be a ryokan in Gion. The ryokan is run by an old couple. It looks like the startet the ryokan after the kids left the house. It was like visiting your grandpararents. It was awesome.

Getting There: Take a taxi or use the subway for two stations. You don”t want to walk the way (1,5 miles). With the heavy luaggage it was no joke. From Kyoto station follow the Karasumadori to the North. The broad street will pass the eastern temple. The subway is underneath the road. At subway station Shijo find exit 5. Turn right into Bukkojidori. The street can easily been overseen. After 110yd there is a street cross.  Go straight. After another 110yd there is a street to the left, Takakuradori. Go into the street. The ryokan is after 50yd on the left side.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWDMFdUHiDE

p.s.: I found a video on youtube that shows the street and the ryokan. The video shows a typical resident area in Kyoto. The tour starts north of the ryokan.

Uotoshi Ryokan / 魚 敏 旅 館
2563, Sano, Yamanochi-Town, Shimo-Takai-Gun, Nagano, 381-0402 Japan
miyasaka@avis.ne.jp;
phone: +81.269.33.1215; fax: +81.226.33.0074

The Uotoshi is ryokan of the low price section. Who read my blog knows, that the building needs a painting job. The dog that annoyed me should be gone (we have 2010). The benefit of this ryokan is the real onsen. The owner was very helpful during my whole stay. He drove me to the bathing snow monkeys and to the train station. He also gave me the advise to visit the 9 public onsen in the neighbor town (that was awesome). And he is doing Kyodo and is good.

Getting There: Starting at the station follow the street downhill. At the bottom the street does a right turn. Follow the street stragiht ahead across the river. At the end of the street there is a big hotel. To the right is a smaller building. That’s the Uotoshi. In total it is a half mile.

Ryokan Bentenkaku / 旅 館 弁 天 閣
87 Kurumayu, Naruko-onsen, Osaki-city, Miyagi-ken, Japan
n-info@bentenkaku.jp; phone: +81.229.83.2461; fax: +81.229.83.4259

This ryokan is more like a hotel. It is hard to categorize because there is no line.

Getting There: The ryokan is at the end of the town. It is a one mile walk from the train station Narukoonsen. Get a taxi. An alternative route is to get of a station earlier (Narukogotenyu). From there it is a little more than a half mile.

From Narukoonsen follow the street thru the town (train tracks on the left). The street ends at highway 47 that is running parallel. Follow the highway. The ryokan is behind the petrol station.

Starting in Narukogotenyu follow the street down from the station to the highway 47. Follow the highway to the left. On the left side is the hill. After a quarter mile the ryokan is the first building on the left.

–== Deutscher Blogeintrag ==–

Fazit 2004

The top 3 single events

Originally I only want to name the top 5. But they are hard to find. Shall I count the whole day or only single events even if the rest of the day was bad? At the end I split the top 5 into top 3+3.

  1. 9 public onsen and a small matsuri … On this evening everything was perfect. And I was a part of it. You cannot plan a situation like this. And you cannot repeat this. The adjective unique describes it the best.
  2. Shrine festival at Mozu Shrine, Oosaka … Also this event was not planned. But this time I only was a visitor. The matsuri was awesome. It lost one to Shibuonsen because I was a visitor.
  3. Moon Viewing … This was the third unplanned action. It was the event that put me deep into the Japanese culture. I am sure that a event like this will not be mentioned in the travel guides.

The list shows:  A trip to Japan is more than visiting temples and castles. You also should plan for festivals. And you can derive another rule: Expect and follow diversions from the plan. All three events were not planned, they just happened, like the hiking in Hakone, the tour to the married rocks or the visit at the emperor palace in Kyoto.

The top 3 days

  1. Kamakura and Yokohama … This day was perfect sight seeing. Real holiday feeling. My plan for the day worked perfect. Not to much, no empty space. Just fine. Yokohama and Landmark Tower made it complete.
  2. Nara and Ikaruga … This day started in rain and got better every minute until 5pm when the closing time stopped the show. The amount of temples was like in Kamakura.
  3. Hakone and Shinjuku … Also place 3 is outside of Tokyo, Oosaka and Kyoto. It was hard to choose the third place.  Another candidate was Miyajima.

Funny that all top-3 events happened on days I visited two places. And all days that didn’t make it on to the list were not bad. They were just midfield.

Worst 5

On the other side I will also mention the “worst 5”. The holiday not only haf sunny days.

  1. The bus tour to Fuji … This day sucked. I also can say: Get the bus from Shinjuku and never take the train. This odyssee has left marks since today. The only positive was the meeting with the other tourist. — felt success rate 10%.
  2. The day in Nikko … I underestimated the travel time. I got up late and lost 2 hours in the train. I missed most of the famous spots of Nikko, including the 3 monkeys. Success rate: 30%
  3. The day at Matsushima … Also here I underestimated the travel time and that ruined the day. But in retrospect it was successful than in Nikko.
  4. The barely used day in Yudanaka … It was somehow a lost day. The only success was to see the famous monkeys.
  5. The day in Kurashiki … The place was good. Kurashiki is worth a stop but I lost a whole day. This was not good.

Not in the list is the day I moved from Naruko back to Tokyo. This day was planned without a stop because I planned a long travel time and didn’t want to risk anything. Afterwards it seems like a stop was possible. And today (2012) with the internet time tables of Japan Rail it would be easy. On the other side: On the worst 5 days I always underestimated the travel time.

Also at the botttom of the list is the rainy day in Yudanaka.  Also Iwakuni was not perfect.

Rulez for the next journey (in short)

  • Drop the plan … examples: the visit to the emperor palace in Kyoto, the festival at Mozu shrine, or the drive to the married rocks. And also the hiking in Hakone and the visit to Yokohama were a result of dropping the original plan.
  • You need a plan … Dropping the plan need a plan in the first place. And you need a plan because not always something happens by accident. The wasted day in Yudanaka is a good example.
  • Do not underestimate the travel times … just look at the worst 3.
  • JR is not everything … The bus from Shinjuku to Mt Fuji was the better idea. This I learnd after using JR trains. And there is an easier way to Nikko, if you use Keio-Line. Therefore alsays remember: There are several train and bus companies and not only JR.
  • Always have enough money in your pocket … In Mozu and Nikko I ran out of money, also at the night before my flight back. Do not expect a ATM that accepts your credit card and be aware that on Sundays the ATM may be shut down.
  • Ask the staff of hte hotel/ryokan for ideas … That was the way I learned about the moon viewing and the festival at Mozu shrine in Oosaka, and also about the snow monkeys and the 9 onsen in Yudanaka.
  • A stop of you change the hotel … That always was a good idea. Himeji for example only offers the famous and mindblowing castle. It doesn’t need a whole day. The perfect aim for a ununsed day.

Meeting People

During my journey I met many peoples; tourist and locals. And I don’t mean the hotel staff, but people I met on the street. Here a list of my memorable meetings. I tried to sort them by the impact on my journey.

  • Aquiring the kamidana (first the woman that drove me to the hardware store and after that the personal at the post office)
  • Walking thru the active vulcanic field in Hakone.
  • The drive to the married rocks with the member of Team Sauber.
  • The game ogf Shogi in Oosaka.
  • Walking up Mt. Misen (Miyajima) with the czech guy.
  • Help the gaijin 1: The three japanese in Oosaka helping me to find the ryokan.
  • Help the gaijin 2: The post office guy and the front clerk in the night before departure.

–== German Page ==–