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Back to a sans-virus world of travels! Autumn Colours 2017

rbjhan

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Sep 16, 2016
Messages
862
Otsu 大津 is in fact in Shiga Prefecture, not Kyoto. However it's only about 10 mins by local train from Kyoto station. During peak seasons when hotel prices skyrocket in Kyoto, Otsu is a very good alternative.

I started in Shijo, so instead of going to JR Kyoto I took subway/Keihan went straight to Biwako Hamaotsu station, then walked 6 mins to Biwako Hotel.

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rbjhan

Active Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
862
Miidera 三井寺 is not far from Biwako Hotel. Located at the foot of Mt Hiei on the other side of the mountain from Enryakuji. It was founded during Nara Period in the 7th century.
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Lake Biwa in the distance.
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"The Evening Bell at Miidera", is famously one of the "Eight Views in Omi"


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I liked Miidera, especially after the crazy crowds in Kyoto...
 

rbjhan

Active Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
862
Back to hotel, onsen!
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Outdoor onsen
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Light show on the lake.
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Dinner was very disappointing :confused:
Main dish was Omi beef sukiyaki. I didn't order kids menu did I?!
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Luckily breakfast saved some points.
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Overall I liked Biwako Hotel, but not the dinner. I would recommend a breakfast only plan, there are some restaurants near JR Otsu station...
 
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rbjhan

Active Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
862
Time to go to Tokyo!
I didn't buy any passes this trip, so? Let me introduce you to discount ticket shops aka Kinken shops 金券店!
Japanese people will sell unwanted tickets to these resellers for cash. You can buy all sorts of tickets here, trains, Shinkansen, Metro, bus, movie, museum, concerts....at a slightly discounted price.

I bought a Kaisuken 回数券 Shinkansen ticket for Kyoto - Tokyo, saved maybe 600 Yen...
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*Kaisuken is a booklet of 6 tickets sold together at bulk buy price, valid for 3 months as you can see from picture above. People often sell the unused ones to Kinken shops. And of course the Kinken shops buy them and sell individually for a small profit.

You are not going to save a lot with Kinken shops, but better than nothing!
 
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rbjhan

Active Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
862
With a JR pass you can't take the fastest Nozomi Shinkansen.
Kaisuken doesn't have such restrictions.
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From Kyoto, Nozomi stops only at Nagoya, Shin Yokohama, Shinagawa and Tokyo.

Very lucky to have a great view of Fujisan!
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rbjhan

Active Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
862
Tokyo Station Hotel
Location can't be beat. Service was good, and you get the unique feeling of staying inside this iconic building!
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I booked a Dome side room.
Must say it was very small for the price...
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That is all!
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However this view is not something you can get elsewhere.
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Bathroom
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rbjhan

Active Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
862
There are 3 types of rooms in Tokyo Station Hotel, excluding suites.
Classic, no views as I understand.
Palace side, in theory good views, however you will find all sorts of cameras and phones pointing at your window all day long...
Dome side, no outside view, but I love looking at the streams of people come and go from above.

The corridor was so long they had to mark the location of lifts with different colour lights...
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A small lounge for guests not staying in Dome side rooms...
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rbjhan

Active Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
862
Restaurant #4 - Sushi Nakamura
Booking a good sushi restaurant in Tokyo is no easy task. Forget about the ones like Sushi Saito who doesn't accept just any guest - you need an introduction from a regular to get in...
Luckily the concierge at Tokyo Station Hotel was very good, we went through my list of restaurants over a number of emails and managed to book Sushi Nakamura which was in fact No.3 on my list!

It is in Roppongi, not far from the metro station.
Interestingly all chefs I saw that night were sporting shaved heads... 🤣
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konbu, pickled ginger and cucumber
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Started with oysters.
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Scallops
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Tuna
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rbjhan

Active Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
862
Another thing hotel concierge booked for me, was a visit to the Shikishima showroom.

*Shikishima ( means island of four seasons) is the new ultra luxe train operated by JR East, link below

The showroom is hidden away at Tokyo Station Yaesu Central South gate.
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I was the only visitor....
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This was the model of Shikishima Suite.
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Deluxe suite
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Standard suite
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Similar trains in Japan:
JR Kyushu runs "Seven Stars in Kyushu"
JR West has "Twilight Express Mizukaze"

Hopefully one day I can take one of these journeys!
* Not easy though, there's a ballot for Shikishima and apparently successful rates are low...
 
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rbjhan

Active Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
862
That's it for this TR. Thanks everyone for going down the memory lane with me:cool:
I'm going to look through some old pictures to see if I can find something else to write about...probably one more I can do...
 

rbjhan

Active Member
Joined
Sep 16, 2016
Messages
862
Thanks for writing this trip. Plenty of beautiful sights and amazing food to look at.
Thank you!
I enjoyed writing TRs, almost like re-living those trips again.
This one was especially memorable for the great food and beautiful autumn colours.
 

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