Japan community

Osaka: places to stay as a solo traveller

16 days ago

As part of my 3 week itinerary, I inadvertently booked 2 nights in Osaka (mistakenly thinking it was free cancellation) and then 3 nights in Kyoto. I then thought it was probably a pain having to check in and out of 2 locations as they are fairly close in proximity to one another so cancelled Kyoto and booked the additional 3 nights in Osaka (with free cancellation) being a total of 5 nights in Osaka. Some have mentioned that Osaka is excellent as a central place for train connection and I had thought that I could basically use Osaka as a base and do day trips from there.

From looking at blogs, it now seems to me that Kyoto sounds way more interesting to visit longer and I realise what I probably should have done was to base (5 days) in Kyoto but I can't now. As a solo traveller, my concern is I would have to lug my luggage around with me on the travel day and that would effectively deprive me of a full day trip.

Would it be wise to rebook Kyoto for the 3 nights? ... basically I'm asking is Kyoto effective for a travel base for day trips or should I just stay in Osaka, day trip to Kyoto and leave as is. I'm a bit bewildered.
I will then be travelling to Tokyo for 3 nights.
Thanks in advance for any advice.

7 replies
Australia
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16 days ago

Kyoto. Kyoto. Kyoto.

United Kingdom
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11 days ago

Kyoto is much more cultured than Osaka. Osaka is great for shopping nightlife and a “scene”. Kyoto is beautiful littered with temples museums etc. A couple of days in Osaka is enough for me at any one time. You can get an excellent cream tea in the Swiss hotel in Osaka mid shopping. The National museum of ceramics in Osaka is world class and absolutely fabulous if that’s your thing. Otherwise move on to Kyoto. In Kyoto the bus runs in loop around the important sites but if you can hire a car it is easy to navigate and saves a lot of time and often avoids the crowds at holiday time.

Australia
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16 days ago

Thanks again Tony, think I'll just change my booking again for those 3 days and see how the day pans out lugging my bag around with me haha

Australia
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16 days ago

Ok have now cancelled the 3 nights in Osaka and now looking for something in Kyoto. I have just downloaded your previous info and printed it out (I should have looked at this before but just got overwhelmed with trying to sort out my whole itinerary and forgot about it, oops sorry, you have so much detail in there which I now won't forget to refer to).
I couldn't find anything in there about accommodation which I know is largely a choice thing. What I do know is I want to stay in a hotel but not in a nightlife/busy area but not Gion which I definitely plan to visit on foot. Do you have any suggetions at all - was looking at Hotel Gracery Kyoto Sanjo or Hotel Vischio Kyoto which are in different areas - are these areas good for food (am all about food haha) and easy for transport connection and walking (happy to walk anywhere).

Australia
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15 days ago

Gail - I had forgotten about your earlier thread (until you reminded me) and all the gratuitous "advice" I had put in it.... 😀

Looking back at it, I realise that one of the 'standard bits of advice' I didn't include was where (what area) to stay, so herewith that bit, for what it's worth .....

In terms of where to stay, there are probably three main "areas" to consider -

1. In and around Kyoto Station, particularly the area to the north of the station (though there are also hotels on the south side).

2. "Downtown" (which is really 'uptown') and could be considered to be the area from Shijo-dori in the south (from Omiya in the west, to Karasuma and to Kawaramachi in the east) and north from there, up to and beyond Karasuma-Oike towards the Imperial Palace.

3. East of the river, including Higashiyama and Gion.

There's no right and wrong in terms of where to stay; everybody has their preferences and it may depend on what you're planning on doing. The area around Kyoto Station is viewed by some as less "interesting" than other areas. However, there is no shortage of shops and restaurants in, around and under the Station and if you're planning any day trips (Himeji, Arashiyama, Nara, for example) being close to the Station has its advantages. Downtown has lots of shops, restaurants and other things to do. East of the river (Higashiyama/Gion) is an older, more traditional area but is much less served by public transport (trains and subways at least) and you may be more reliant on buses or taxis for getting around (or walking)

Many of the "tourist sites" - whatever they may be considered to be (Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ji, Ryoan-ji, Path of Philosophy, Fushima Inari etc. etc.) - are generally not within any of these areas so require some sort of 'trip' to get to. Thus being close to convenient public transport is a plus. Buses can be a good (and interesting) form of transport but can take a bit of figuring out (in terms of where they go) and can get crowded at times. We avoid taking buses from outside Kyoto Station - there are invariably long lines (or so it seems) - better to take a train or the subway closer to where you’re going and then get a bus (or walk) from there. There are only two subway lines (one running north/south, the other east/west, intersecting at Karasuma Oike) and a couple of train lines other than JR - the Hankyu line running east/west along Shijo-dori and the Keihan Main Line, running north/south just east of the river. If you haven't already, I would study the map of Kyoto and, armed with a list of places you think you want to go to, figure out where they are and how you're going to get there. I would want to be fairly close to a subway or train station that would facilitate "getting around". Japan-guide.com may be helpful in figuring out how to get to places as it has descriptions of probably all the places you’re likely to want to go and it usually includes “access” information on how to get there.

Thus ends the usual diatribe....

Either of the hotels you're looking at would be fine, though the Hotel Gracery is not particularly close to a subway/train station. The (new) Hotel Vischio certainly looks good. In the vicinity of the Gracery, the (relatively new) Solaria Nishitetsu seems to get good marks and be the "in" place to go.

https://solaria-kyoto.nishitetsu-hotels.com/en-gb

We have generally stayed around the Station. The first time was at the New Miyako (now the Shin Miyako) a little to the west of the Vischio. We've also stayed at two AirBnB places a little to the north of the Station, at the Citadines near Gojo Station and, last time, at an AirBnB near Toji Temple. In a couple of months, we're staying at one of the AirBnBs again, just north of the Station.

Our focus has always been on convenience and getting around - hence we stay closer to the Station. We're not into shopping or nightlife. The area around the Station is probably not the sort of area where you're going to stumble across some wonderful back street izakaya joint but there are plenty of places to eat, particularly under or above the Station ... and if I didn't previously post this link, here it is ...

https://www.kyotostation.com/dining-at-kyoto-station/

We particularly like the ramen places on the 10th floor of the Station (the TanTan noodles at Menya Iroha is our go-to lunch if we're in the area) - either that or the noodles + tempura etc. at Mimiu in the Eat Paradise grouping on the 11th floor.

https://english.menya-iroha.com/idea/

I must admit that, these days, we tend to opt for "cheap and cheerful" over "plush and opulent", having long since lost interest in hotels with concierge desks, fitness facilities, restaurants, lavish breakfast buffets etc. .... none of which we need or have any interest in these days.

The Gracery is in a more "happening" area (whatever that means!) and is relatively close to Pontocho, which runs north / south parallel with the river.

https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3921.html

Other hotels in the general area of the Gracery that seem to get mentioned are the Royal Park and the Cross Hotel. Near the Vischio, the three versions of the Sakura Terrace (including the Gallery) seem to get good reviews from those that have stayed there.

If it was me (and it's not ...) and I had narrowed it down to your two hotels, I would go with the Vischio. It's pretty much brand new, it's close to the Station, looks good ... and if the price is right ... If you want to go to (for example) Pontocho in the evening, it's easy enough to get the subway up to Karasuma-Oike and then east to Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae (don't forget your ICOCA card...) and walk from there. If you want a change of pace from Japanese food, we've been to Le Bouchon, a French restaurant behind Kyoto City Hall (take the subway to Kyoto Shiyakusho-mae), a couple of times (best to call and make a reservation, including at lunch time, if you have any interest in going).

https://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Restaurant_Review-g298564-d1172495-Reviews-Le_Bouchon-Kyoto_Kyoto_Prefecture_Kinki.html

I think in the other thread you said you weren't in need of needles? 😀 How about Washi (Japanese paper)? There are a couple of stores we usually go to just to have a browse and perhaps buy a few small gifts to take back - let me know if they would be of interest and I'll dig out the addresses.

As for lugging your bag around, no need. Just head straight to the hotel and they'll look after it for you until check-in time.

Australia
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15 days ago

Le Bouchon - their website -

https://www.bellecour.co.jp/bouchon%20file/bouchon.htm

The menus (set lunch, a la carte) are the two links on the left. They are cash only ....

Australia
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11 days ago

Thanks again Tony, so much info, do like the sound of Le Bouchon too!

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