Choice of Hotel

edited December 2022 in Essence of Japan

Hi, I will be traveling on a Windstar Cruise around Japan and would appreciate any recommendations from my Tauck friends on the choice of Hotel in Tokyo. I see that Tauck used Park Hyatt on the land tour and Mandarin Oriental on the sailing tour and I am undecided. Thanks for any insight on these two properties.


  • edited December 2022

    If you want an interesting Japan experience, stay at a Ryokan - a traditional Japanese hotel. I never stayed in one in Tokyo - only in other cities in Japan - but I'm sure they are in Tokyo. Here's Wikipedia's explanation of a Ryokan -

    Don't worry about the communal baths. You don't have to use them. If you do want to use them, get someone to explain the process. You wash off before you get into the water.

    The Japanese are very polite and will help you understand the Ryokan experience. You normally wear a yukata while you're in the room.

    They're not expensive (usually) but a stay in one will be memorable. Highly recommended.

    [Your tour director may be able to recommend a Ryokan for you. One more thing, you don't pronounce the R - it's pronounced yo-kan.]

    [If you want the full experience, ask the staff at the Ryokan to set you up with a "tea ceremony" teacher who will come to your room and teach you how to participate in a Japanese tea ceremony (you need to be wearing a yukata for the tea ceremony - no western clothes.)
    Maybe there are companies who will do the full set up for you - a stay in a Ryokan and a tea ceremony teacher. Maybe one of those "tour with a local" people can do it.]

  • edited December 2022

    Also, if you have time, go to the Yasukuni Shrine. You often read news stories about the Yasukuni Shrine in the news - it's a very controversial shrine. But when you read about it, you’ll know what it is.

    Another interesting shrine is the Sengakuji Shrine where the 47 Ronin are buried. As I remember, it's not far from a subway stop (the Sengakuji stop?) It's not a big shrine - it's claim to fame is the 47 Ronin. Anyone who studies Japan learns about the 47 Ronin. Here's a Wikipedia article about the 47 Ronin -ōnin

    If you go there, you'll notice that the graves are quite small - mostly just a marker. I believe the ronin were cremated and their cremains were buried there. Side note, only 46 of the 47 Ronin are buried there.


  • We did stay at the Park Hyatt on the land tour and found it terrific. It is on the 20th floor so you get a view across part of the city. The area around has a lot of apartments and there's a small park nearby, walkable to some of the places we wanted to see.

  • Thanks, Mazalea; does anyone out there have an experience at the Mandarin Oriental?

  • I thought the Mandarin Oriental was spectacular and very luxurious. You can Google both.

  • Thanks, OurTravels34. I did google both and they both look great. That is why I was hoping that someone had been to both and could pick one or the other. Is the MO within walking distance of some tourist destinations?

  • We stayed at the Mandarin Oriental, very nice. It is close to a subway station and department stores, and it is on a main drag.

  • Sandman: yes, the Mandarin is definitely within walking distance to some shopping areas which, for me, I really enjoyed. The concierge was really helpful. I have never been in such a civilized city. I am not so sure regarding any tourist sites. You’ll see enough tourist sites on the tour. There is a department store near the MO and I believe the name is Mitsukoshi where I purchased two beautiful Japanese yukatas (I use them as robes) and you’ll never find anything like that in the states. I am a 70 year old young female and I still love these robes. I have purchased more since my 2017 trip to Japan. These are different and more regal than the ones fat the Japanese market stalls. I have no use for a kimono unless I was going to hang one on a wall and that was not an option.

  • In addressing your question about hotels in Tokyo, you really can't miss. The two that you mentioned, the Park Hyatt and the Mandarin Oriental are both terrific. Been traveling for business to Japan, the main island of Honshu, since 1981, big and small cities, so have used plenty of different hotels all around the country. Have never been in one that was not clean and the staff excellent. However, if you do venture into areas in and around Tokyo that have more "business hotels", be prepared for lower costs but also smaller rooms. The Hyatt and Oriental that you mentioned are really Western hotels that are decorated and accented in a Japanese style with incredibly trained staff to aid you.
    In terms of making a decision on either of these hotels, give some thought as to what you would like to do in this big city, what type of stores, the amount of walking you want to do, access to subways and trains, etc. Each hotel's website will give you an abundance of information in these areas. But whichever you chose, make sure you get an English map of the area from the hotel, the same suggestion of the subways and trains (English maps available at all train stations), and DON'T be afraid to ask for help. Even people who speak no English will go out of their way to stop and try to is just in their nature. Suggest strongly that you carry a card with you at all times with the name of the hotel in both English and Japanese characters. Very important in case you get lost.
    You will have a stunning and terrific time. While I have been there on trips over a hundred times, I am jealous of you going. We don't go back until next April (on the cruise with Tauck leaving on April 24th)....but I will be thinking positive thoughts for you. I am betting that after your trip, you'll want to go back!! Bon Voyage1

  • edited June 18

    Thanks, Ralph. We eventually booked the MO at a crazy price. From when we first looked at this property to when we booked, the nightly rate increased by several hundred dollars. We cancelled our Windstar cruise, so we will be doing Japan on our own.

  • I did the land tour in Apr of this year. As already stated, the Park Hyatt was very nice. At the end of the trip, we took the train back to tokyo for a few more days in the city and stayed at the Imperial. It's a nice, older, classy hotel with impeccable service. The rooms are a bit smaller and the price was significantly smaller (~$500/night). We chose this hotel based on reviews and it was on the other side of the city and we wanted a different perspective. The Imperial is about a 10 minute walk from Tokyo Station (we used the subway several times) and 5 minute walk from Ginza.

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