Stay in Takayama for April 14-15
February 22, 2009 9:34 PM   Subscribe

Need a room in or around Takayama, Japan for April 14-15 - everything looks booked. Mefi, help! Are there any nearby cities?

My parents are going to Japan in April, and they are trying to book a room in (or around) Takayama for the night of April 14-15 (2009). There is a festival in the town, and everything looks booked up. Can any one familiar with Japan or the area recommend either a place to go sleep, or a near-by hotel/hostel/anything that would allow them to catch the festival?

Price is not a strong limit - obviously nothing crazy, but all suggestions will go at the moment.

Thank you!! Mefi mail that's preferable, or if that's easier.

We don't speak Japanese, so it is tricky to check anything that doesn't have an online form.
posted by olya to Travel & Transportation around Takayama, Japan (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Have you tried Yokoso Japan?

Actually, Japan Guest Houses would be my first choice. They speak English, handle everything, and can probably find a variety of places at different prices.

Because the Sanno Festival is so popular, it may be difficult to find good accomodation. Why not stay in Nagoya (or Toyama) and make a day trip to Takayama for the festival?

Or, stay in Gero Onsen, which is just down the train line from Takayama. You'll pass through Gero on your way to Takayama from Nagoya.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:29 PM on February 22, 2009

Best answer: If you have a Japanese friend who can help you, nothing beats the magazine Jaran (ジャラン or じゃらん, I can't remember which script) for amazing last-minute, cheapo deals. This advice is based on experiences from ten years ago, but back then I used Jaran all the time to book hotels in busy seasons. Really, it's a great tool if you can use it. I bet it's online now.

Kokuryu's advice is sound if you can't tap into the world of bargain travel for Japanese people. But maybe you bought Jaran and took it to a foreigner help desk someone would make the calls for you? That might open up more options.

If you like to take chances, you can book nothing and have a taxi driver take you to love hotels near the airport or on the outskirts of town at the end of the day. These may be full too, but you'll find room sooner or later. Custom expects, and in some places house rules demand, that once you check in, you don't leave your room until check out. They are comparatively cheap, but intended for couples who have only one of two things on their mind: sleep or sex.

Finally, business hotels. These are mid range hotels near major stations for Japanese business travelers. I can't remember the major chains, but again, specify at a foreigner help desk "business hotel (ビジネスホテル)." Because they rely on business travelers they often have room during holidays. These kind of places advertise in Jaran (alongside fancier and cheaper options) to ensure capacity booking during their expected slow downs.

There are a million different terms for "hotels" because there's a lot of types of accommodations. City hotel, business hotel, ryokan (inn), etc. When you ask for help, it might be wise to actually use the English words "city hotel," and "business hotel." Otherwise the helper might not realize you are willing to stay somewhere off the gaijin beaten path.

Finally, the generic "hotel (hoteru)" means "love hotel" and "motel (mohteru)" means a love hotel you drive to, in an out of the way place.

Of course people will know what you want if you say "hotel" in an English conversation, but it's good to be aware of the nuances "hotel" and "motel" have in Japanese.
posted by vincele at 12:11 AM on February 23, 2009

Here's a site run by the Hida-Takayama Ryokan & Hotel Association with a short list of accomodations.]

I did a quick search for the evening of April 14, and the Kiyoharu ryokan had some availability that night, as did the Takayama Kanko Hotel. I doubt you will find anything in town for under 20,000 yen/person.
posted by armage at 12:32 AM on February 23, 2009

Best answer: vincele's advice is good overall, but please don't make your parents stay in a love hotel. I always see this advice ("stay in a love hotel it's cheap and oh so much fun!") here on AskMe regarding where to stay in Japan, and I suppose people can stay wherever they feel like spending their money on, but god I hate the closed-off-from-the-outside-world feel they have. I also can't guarantee their safety in case of a fire or a large-ish earthquake (which there are a lot of here), both because of the way these places are built and also because of the way they are operated (in the past year or so there have been several incidents where fires ended up killing people in buildings because the emergency escape routes were either too dark to find or completely blocked off.) I especially advise against this if your parents don't speak Japanese, because in a love hotel, nobody will help them in case of an emergency.

Also, I disagree that the generic "hotel (hoteru)" means "love hotel" in Japanese. A hotel is a hotel, which includes all types. And when your parents ask for one in Japan, they won't be shown to a love hotel first and foremost. ("Motel (moteru)" is a different matter. That just means one thing here.)

I'm sorry I don't have anything useful to add, but that's my two cents.
posted by misozaki at 2:52 AM on February 23, 2009

I believe the colloquial Japanese for a "love hotel" is "rabu-ho".
posted by KokuRyu at 7:34 PM on February 23, 2009

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