|Subject: RE: Kyoto hotel/Japan hotel pass|
Am very late with this - summer in-basket backlogue!
I recommend that you stay in ryokans or minshukus (slightly less expensive, family inns) wherever possible - it gives you a much more inside view of Japanese culture and style. You'll find an incredible range of prices (some are very elite boutique kind of places for the Japanese - some are very down to earth). They all have charm and usually some very friendly and helpful people running them (whether they speak English or not - you can always get by with sign language and pointing to English signs and literature).
Here's a link to Kyoto listings in the Welcome Inn database. http://www.jnto.go.jp:10086/InterServ/aOaOuEuaFe/HTML/-1149/?area=KYOTO&time 1=All&cat=All&search=&start=1&step=20 (watch the way it wraps on the page ... it might not all get picked up when you paste it into the url box). And the Japanese Inn Group: http://www.jnto.go.jp/03welcome/03frame.html My husband stayed at the Three Sisters (mentioned by someone else on the list) quite a few years ago now and loved it but, in a cursory check on the net, I can't find contact info for it and I just lent out all of my guidebooks to friends who are planning a trip. But - I did find this picture of the lobby at: http://www.ultranet.com/~chambers/DCP00311.JPG
We stayed in the Japanese wing of the Myako Hotel (treated by the company that was supporting my husband's sabbatical at the University of Tokyo) and it was my most memorable hotel experience EVER. Just like a ryokan but a part of a hotel (the other wing looks just like any upscale Western hotel). But ..... tis very pricey.
I don't know about the hotel passes you are talking about - but my guess is that you wouldn't find that they apply to anything but the standard American-style hotels.
Get a JR Rail Pass BEFORE you go (not available when you are in the country) and you won't regret it - it's the best deal ever. Check out our Getting Around pages at: http://www.accomasia.com/japan.htm for links to JR and an interesting site specifically about the Shinkansen by Dave Fossett. You can then make stops along the way and take the smaller JR routes off the Shinkansen line. The old capital of Nara is close to Kyoto and accessible by JR and, depending upon your time, there are lots of other places in the vicinity (and en route). I'm envious - Japan is my favourite country and I'm suffering withdrawal since I haven't been back since Spring of 98! When are you going?
Cheers from Hong Kong (just recovering from the typhoon and Air China crash)! Judy