Dotonbori, Osaka is like Tokyo’s Shibuya. For those who haven’t visited either, imagine a fashionable and hip place in the middle of a big city where people converge in the thousands to enjoy shopping, dining and even clubbing when the sun goes down. Such a place is a sight you’ll definitely want to see when coming to Osaka and staying within arms reach is perfect for enjoying the area. There is of course a choice of places to stay in this part of the city though Hotel Kuramoto stands out amongst the rest.
Despite me describing Dotonbori as a bustling area (which it is) Hotel Kuramoto is located in a beautifully quiet neighbourhood just a 10 to 15-minute walk from the main Shopping streets. Easily accessible from exit 6 of Nipponbashi station you’ll learn the area fairly well just by making your way to the hotel as most of the main attractions and streets run parallel to the river. I was quick to notice some Korean restaurants on my walk there so there are dining possibilities in the area for those who may want to stray from Japanese cuisine.
The hotel stands tall amongst the other buildings so it’s easy to spot. Making your way inside you’ll be politely greeted and taken to your room. A good or in this case bad habit of mine is arriving early. If you do the same the hotel will offer to look after your bags until check-in time. The staff will explain where the bath and other facilities of the hotel are located so you can start relaxing straight away if that is your desire. Of course making your way upstairs comes first and you’ll find the room size is more than an ample space. There are five kinds available ranging from 6 to 11 Jyo (measurement using tatami mats). With en-suite bathroom it’s an extremely comfortable space that allows you privacy if you don’t wish to use the public bath. While the smallest rooms are compact at 10 sq metres, as the futons are folded away during the day, it is more than adequate.
I was kindly recommended to use the sento (public bath) and I pass this recommendation on to you. It’s the perfect way to wash away your fatigue at the end of the day and is just one of the hotel's facilities. There is a lounge serving drinks offering yet another place to relax and there is also two banquet halls. These serve as the perfect place to hold functions as the largest room caters for up to 80 people. Chances are you will want to buy souvenirs during your visit too and there is no need to look further than the ryokan’s lobby. There is a small shop located here offering a taste of Japan and Osaka for you to take home with you.
There was once a time when Tokyo had a hold over my heart but now it lies in favour of Osaka. There’s just something about this city. Kansai hospitality is like no other and makes the city the perfect place to visit for first time travellers to Japan. Even if it’s not your first time, Osaka is a must and Kuramoto is the perfect place to stay.