by Foxboro Marmot
December 6, 2003
The JNTO staffer took my information, opened a large notebook and began calling. After at least five no-vacancies, she got us into the Sun Hotel Kyoto, a pretty good choice.
It's located on Kawaramachi-dori between Shijo-dori and Sanjo-dori, about a ten-minute walk from subway and rail stations. Kawaramachi-dori is one of the main shopping areas of Kyoto, about a 14,000-yen taxi ride from JR Kyoto Sation. Behind the hotel, running parallel to Kawaramachi-dori, is a covered pedestrian shopping arcade called Shin-kyo-goku full of small shops, geegaw stores, and restaurants that's a facinating place to walk. One guidebook describes it as being particularly beloved by Japanese schoolgirls because of its assortment of cheap trinkets. The most fascinating thing for us was discovering - tucked between the shops - assorted temples and shrines, some surprisingly large and all on the east side of the street.
The hotel is a fairly new building, although somewhat nondescript and anonymous. Rooms are small, in keeping with Japanese hotel standards, but clean and comfortable... except perhaps for the claustrophobia!
We were surprised to hear no street noise in our eighth-floor room. Closer examination revealed a double set of windows. Open one and there was a second window behind it! Very odd... why? Then we found out. Every day, in the very early morning hours, revved-up cars and motorcycles cruised down the street. We could hear them through the double windows and could only wonder (a) how loud they were out on the street and (b) how loud they'd sound with only ONE window!
The room rate for our Western-style double room was 12,500 yen, which with some help from the exchange rate, could be close to $100 per night.
From journal Adventures in Kyoto