If you’re traveling to Japan, it’s likely that you’ve already found accommodations in Tokyo. Most tourists and businessmen fly into Tokyo, the capital and largest metropolitan area in Japan.
Hotel booking in Tokyo must be done well in advance, and a Japanese accommodation available at short notice in big cities can be very expensive or plain unavailable in a neighborhood near where you wish to stay.
One of the most convenient things about visiting Japan is widespread and efficient public transportation throughout the country.
After you’ve seen all the bustle and excitement that a world-class city like Tokyo has to offer, you should hop on the Tokaido Shinkansen to visit Kyoto.
The Tokaido Shinkansen is Japan’s first and most-traveled high-speed rail line and connects Japan’s three largest metropolitan areas: Tokyo, Nagoya, and Kyoto. Because it’s so well-traveled, trains leave every few minutes, and you can be in Kyoto in a little more than two hours — but you may get the impression that you traveled back centuries.
Step Back In Time In Kyoto
After the intense and modern bustle of Tokyo, Kyoto will reward the traveler with a glimpse of old Japan that’s mostly missing in the capitol. Largely spared the destruction that much of Japan suffered during World War II, Kyoto is still filled with marvelous historic palaces, gardens, and shrines.
There are over 1600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines in Kyoto, and they’re set amidst the beautiful and tranquil parks, gardens, and palaces that make Kyoto seem like it’s frozen in time.
Kyoto isn’t an economic backwater by any stretch of the imagination, so you’re not going to find it sleepy, but the main focus of visits to Kyoto is tourism. Over 30 million visitors flock to Kyoto every year to see twenty percent of all the national treasures and fourteen percent of all the important cultural properties in Japan gathered in one place.
Hotels In Kyoto Will Make You Forget Tokyo
If you’re wondering where to stay in Kyoto, you’re in for a pleasant surprise if you’re accustomed to the high prices and the monoculture of hotel accommodations in Tokyo. Hotels in Kyoto can be just as elegant as in the capitol, but you’ll find all sorts of other, more traditional places to stay as well.
Consider staying in a ryokan in Kyoto when you visit. Ryokans are traditional inns that have served weary travelers in Japan since the 1600s.
They’re very rare and expensive in big cities like Tokyo, but there are many ryokan in Kyoto for you to enjoy. Typical amenities in a ryokan in Kyoto are big entrance halls, where it’s
traditional for guests and the innkeeper to sit, relax, and talk about the day’s events. The rooms are appointed with traditional Japanese materials like tatami mats and sliding doors.
Ryokans give their guests a yukata, the familiar light kimono, to wear while lounging and enjoying Japan’s famous common bathing rooms, generally segregated by gender. You’ll sleep right on the floor on a futon, and there are always the supplies you’ll need for a Japanese tea ceremony close at hand.
Accommodation in Japan can’t get any more traditionally Japanese than a Ryokan in Kyoto.
Boutique Hotels Bridge The Gap
If you’re looking for slightly more formal accommodation in Japan, and Kyoto in particular, there are many boutique hotels Kyoto can offer that are halfway between the ultramodern accommodations in Tokyo and the pastoral informality of a ryokan in Kyoto.
The Hotel Mume, the Hotel Kanra Kyoto, the Hoshinoya, and many others will reward even a day trip from Tokyo with doting personal service, intimate and tastefully appointed rooms, and lots of Japanese culture and customs.