I don't wanna sleep under the sakura!
February 14, 2007 2:17 PM   Subscribe

I was off to Kyoto by myself to see the cherry blossoms, till a friend decided to come too. Now I've cancelled my single room accommodation and because of the mere weeks to go, we can't get a booking... I need help - google fails me!

So..... a) is there anywhere else in Japan that would be good for a 2-3 day visit at that time of year (the first week of April) where we'd be able to find somewhere to stay. We've got railpasses. The rest of the time we will be in Tokyo... but we'd love to get out of the city and see some traditional beauty that Kyoto would offer.

or b) Do you know some magical way we could find a twin room to stay in Kyoto without paying 700 pounds a night?

Dōmo arigatō!
posted by teststrip to Travel & Transportation around Kyoto-Shi, Japan (17 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Here's a list of Japanese cherry blossom festivals. I have been to Hirosaki. It's several hours north of Tokyo, but it has a very traditional small town feel and it's gorgeous.
posted by acoutu at 2:42 PM on February 14, 2007

700 pounds? If you search under hotels on Expedia.com, the rooms that come up (for random dates in April) are less than $200 US per night. The place where you had the single room can't loan you a rollaway bed?

We were there last June (not cherry blossom season) and stayed at the New Miyako, right by the train station. A friend stayed in a hostel.

And if you want traditional Japanese accommodation, the people at JapaneseGuestHouses.com are awesome. You communicate with them in English via email.
posted by GaelFC at 2:44 PM on February 14, 2007

When I was in Kyoto I stayed at the Nashinoki inn. They were able to accommodate me on very short notice (mere hours). It was my favorite place I stayed in all of Japan.
posted by horseblind at 2:46 PM on February 14, 2007

This place is 5500 yen (~45 USD!) per night for a twin room. A googling "kyoto guest house" turns up a lot of appealing results.
posted by benign at 2:50 PM on February 14, 2007

Here's another vote for JapaneseGuestHouses.com. I found a ryokan in Kyoto for cheap there, at less than a month's notice. I think it might have been this place.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:56 PM on February 14, 2007

I often find great deals when travelling on Craig's List.
posted by xammerboy at 2:59 PM on February 14, 2007

Response by poster: You guys are awesome! Thanks heaps those leads have been very useful and given me hope!
posted by teststrip at 3:19 PM on February 14, 2007

My wife and I are actually in almost exactly the same position. Does anyone have any knowledge as to which (if any) of these places are clean and/or comfortable? We're actually willing to pay a bit more if necessary, but we'd like to be under $150/night or so.
posted by JMOZ at 4:35 PM on February 14, 2007

See here. A different time of year, but it should be helpful.

BTW, Japan is experiencing an unusually warm winter in general, so the cherry blossoms may bloom earlier than the "average" time in the guide books. (Yesterday was the first time in the history of Japanese weather observation that the "haru-ichiban" (the spring's first strong south wind) blew before any snow fell in Tokyo.) So you might want to keep that in mind when you schedule things.

Have fun in Japan!
posted by misozaki at 4:40 PM on February 14, 2007

If you don't mind an .. uh.. unusual room.. then you might be just find with one of the "love hotel" rooms. When I lived in Japan, they ran me about Y5000 for a night. Either Y3000 for an hour, or Y5000 for a night.

You probably won't find too many on the internet, but as a last resort they're not bad. All the ones I used when bouncing around Japan were nice and clean.
posted by drstein at 6:04 PM on February 14, 2007

Are you (or your friend) male? If so, you can check out a capsule hotel. Kind of an oversized coffin, it's fine if you're just going to sleep. And honestly, given the size of your average Japanese hotel room, it ain't all that much smaller! But if you're female, sorry. Men only.

Kyoto's actually a fairly small city, so I don't know where you could find one, but as it was pointed out earlier, Osaka is only about 45 minutes away by train, and much bigger.

If you're truly in dire straits, find a 24 internet/manga cafe, which should be all over the place, at least in Osaka. You get your own little booth and a kind of oversized Lazy-Boy, and you can stay overnight and crash no problem. Dunno if they'd say anything about the luggage, though (probably not).
posted by zardoz at 10:42 PM on February 14, 2007

Having a quick look on Jalan which is pretty much the hotel booking super-site in Japan, still shows a lot of availability in hotels on the outskirts of Kyoto in that time-frame. The site's all in Japanese, but if you dropped me a line I could walk you through it. You could get a nice business hotel that was fairly central with breakfast for less than 25quid pp a night.
posted by Mil at 4:21 AM on February 15, 2007

I had excellent luck with this place, just outside the main station. It's a hostel but should have some availability. Good luck!!
posted by dead_ at 6:53 AM on February 15, 2007

Some other tips for visiting Kyoto:

1. Bicycles. Most hotels will have bicycles (those single gear types you see everywhere in Japan) that you can barrow or rent. Kyoto is filled with so many Temples and Shrines that walking between them gets very tiring. Bicycles greatly multiply the area you'll be able to experience.

2. Johnny Hillwalker. He's a Japanese resident of Kyoto who speaks english and will guide you through central Kyoto. You'll see numerous temples/shrines, tour a Japanese fan making shop, graveyards, sweet shops, pottery shops, the original Nintendo headquarters, and much more. The tour ends near the bottom of a long steep shopping street that climbs toward Kiyomizu, a hill-side temple that has breath-taking views of the city.
posted by jsonic at 9:42 AM on February 15, 2007

BTW, Johnny Hillwalker has a list of Kyoto accomodations on his link page.
posted by jsonic at 10:20 AM on February 15, 2007

This B&B next to Shinnyo-do temple on Yoshida-yama is well-located and very reasonably priced. The host is a gracious longtime Kyoto resident originally from France who speaks English. (Disclosure: I made the website)

Another B&B nearby is also hosted by a nice guy who's very knowledgeable about Kyoto and local tours.

Both places are modest, clean and charming, built in traditional style and located in quiet areas with good walking. If they're booked, I'm sure they'll have suggestions for other places you could try.

Kyoto's streets can get very crowded in the spring. Jsonic's suggestion to ride bicycles is an excellent one.
Also, I suggest a trip to Kurama, is a quiet mountain village a 20-minute train ride away with a nice hot spring with outdoor baths. Really refreshing!
posted by elricky at 5:42 AM on February 18, 2007

Just in case anybody's going to use this thread as reference, the "Cherry Blossom Forecast" (Sakura Kaika Yoso) has been announced today, and it turns out I was right, the cherry blossoms will bloom earlier than usual. The forecast for Osaka (near Kyoto) is March 25; Tokyo, March 18 (yes, it's further up north but earlier); and further up north in Niigata is April 3. This means that the best time to visit these places if you want to see the blossoms in full bloom is about a week after these dates. Of course, since these are just guesses based on data & statistics, the dates may change. But just FYI.
posted by misozaki at 2:37 PM on March 7, 2007

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