During our Kyoto trip planning for the third week of October, we had intended to stay at another hotel but unfortunately it was fully booked. Upon the recommendation of Japanican, we decided to book directly with Best Western for our 2 nights' stay as we were told that the hotel is relatively new and have good reviews on Tripadvisor. Our standard Twin room with breakfast costs Y14000 per night.
As we had pre-booked our JR West Kansai area 1 day pass @ Y2000 per person, upon immigration clearance @ 1010 hrs, we headed to the 2/F where the JR West Ticket Office is located to collect our passes. As there was a queue of 8 persons ahead of us, it took us about 15 mins to be served. Do present your passport, E ticket, and a printout of your Pass Booking confirmation to speed the process. Buying this 1 day pass to travel from Kansai Airport to Kyoto saves us Y1,490 per person. We took the Haruka Express from Kansai Airport to Kyoto @ 1116 hrs. As this pass is for the non-reserved seats section, we boarded the train between coaches 4 - 6. Duration was 75 mins.
From Kyoto Station, we hailed a cab & told the cab driver in English to go to "Kawaramachi Rokkaku" and also showed him the Japanese name of Best Western! Ride took about 10 mins and costs Y870. He alighted us along the main road where LOFT department store is, and signalled us to turn left along the small road by Kyoto Mina. Best Western is less than 50 metres walk. Its location is quiet & charming. There is a small bakery across the hotel exit and to the right a few metres away is a cafe where you get your fix of iced coffee and tea. Teramachi and Nishiki Market is a short 10 mins walk, and for shopaholics these 2 areas will keep you happy and entertained. There are lots of eateries where LOFT is located at Kawaramachi Sanjo. The standard twin room is spacious and comfortable and I loved the bathroom amenities, especially the little hair brush which is of good quality! Breakfast spread at the Charles Chaplin Cafe is a mix of continental and Japanese and we are happy with it. Check in was a breeze and the staff members are friendly and helpful. We caught sight of several Geishas in Gion in the evening but they disappeared before we could get their pictures. We also ate mochi at the famous Tokuyu @ Gion after queueing for 25 mins. The white mochi (7 slices) was placed on a little grill burner and after it was toasted, we dipped the mochi in a bowl of red bean soup before eating. With another bowl of jelly mochi served on ice, we paid Y3200 which was a princely sum for desserts! Nevertheless, we enjoyed the experience of trying it. We also watched a Meiko Dance Performance @ Gion Corner @ 1900 hrs @ Y3150 pp.
We had planned to go to Arashiyama (small picturesque town on the Oi River) the next day by train, but we changed our mind as travelling by bus will give us a little city tour of Kyoto. We were advised to take either bus 11 or 62 from Bus Stop D across the main road facing LOFT. Bus fare to Arashiyama was Y 240 and journey took 45 mins (compared to train journey of 16 mins to Saga Arashiyama (Y230). Arashiyama is charming and scenic with the autumn foliage and we had a wonderful day traversing the Moon Crossing Bridge, Togetsukyo Bridge, the little Bamboo Forest & Tenryu-ji Temple. There was a small fair near Tenryu-ji Temple and it was here that I bought a beautiful Japanese bag with a Kimono-type design. There are lots of souvenir shops and eateries.
Our stay at Best Western was pleasant and top marks goes to its front desk staff! A stay here is definitely recommended.
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