Apparently, Toyoko Inn's latest addition to their stable of Kyoto hotels. The business model is based on a moderately priced accommodation option (doubles generally around $100 US per room per night). This chain has over 200 locations throughout Japan and represents great value for money. What generally sets one apart from another is the location and service you get. Generally speaking the service is excellent at Toyoko Inn. Having said that, excellent service is the rule in Japan not the exception.
If you've ever stayed at a Toyoko Inn you'll know what to expect. Vending machines replace room service and there is no restaurant within the hotel. There are several internet terminals in the lobby which are free to use. Breakfast is Japanese style only. If you join their Toyoko Inn Club you'll get every 10th night free and receive a 30% discount on Sunday, but only if you book online. Rooms are clean and comfortable although us Westerners may find the size somewhat smaller than what they are used to back home. This is, however, due to space in Japanese cities being at a premium.
At this particular hotel we were fortunate enough to meet a young Japanese man working at reception who's English was flawless. You'll instantly know if you meet him. He can seem slightly aloof at first but after a while you'll understand that this is a by-product of how he has learnt his English. I'll wager his English teacher was probably reminiscent of a Charles Dickens era headmistress who was very strict! He is, however, exceedingly helpful with various aspects of the hotel and seems to know the city intimately. He also knows many ways to save yen at the numerous attractions (2 for 1 deals, reduced rates, etc).
I have noted other reviews of this hotel (of which I had to have translated) commented on the fact that the hotel was only accessible by bus. It would, therefore, be noteworthy to point out that in Kyoto the buses are king. Their network is very extensive and service frequent. The city also has a subway system. But it is more geared to commuters rather than tourists and only services few of the many attractions. At some point, you'll need to use the bus system so you may as well just accept it. When you discover just how easy is it to navigate you'll probably find you'll use little else.
For those with concerns about excess luggage avail yourselves the use of the baggage delivery options available at airports and hotels. This is how the Japanese travel within their own country and you should too. Check out this link:
I consistently use the Yamato company when in Japan as I've found their service to be the best. Toyoko Inn doesn't seem to have a particular affiliation with any particular delivery company but at many Toyoko Inn hotels their presence is in evidence.
For the record you should expect to pay in the neighbourhood of 1,200 yen (about $15 U.S.) to travel between Kyoto Station and the hotel. If your bag has wheels you may find it easier to ride the bus for 200 yen ($2.60 U.S.). Buses are a flat fee of 200 yen. Keep in mind if you change buses you may have to pay another 200 but this is rare because, as I've said, the bus network is extensive. You can alleviate this problem by visiting any convenience store and purchasing an all day ticket for 500 yen. The bus stop is less than 50 metres from the hotel entrance which is very convenient.
The hotel lies in a residential district with some light commercial interests. A nearby main boulevard is home to a few convenience stores (namely Circle K and Lawsons) and also several yakatori (skewered chicken) pubs are also located here. But you are less than 20 minutes by bus away from the brightly lit avenues Kawaramachi and it's many nightlife options. You'll pay considerably more to stay amongst the neon lights and the mania of downtown so the hotel is even more economical in this respect. As a matter of interest, these downtown locations are notoriously difficult to get rooms at which prompted us to investigate similiar Toyoko Inn options in the suburbs and invariably let us to select this hotel.
If you like the Toyoko Inn chain this particular location should warrant serious consideration.
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