Tag Archives: Mount Fuji

The Park Hotel Tokyo – A Tablet Discovery Hits All the Right Notes

By Lakshmi:

As someone who can think of travel any time of the day or night, it should come as no surprise that I can devour travel magazines cover to cover, read about hotels and journeys non stop and of course drool at all the beautiful properties that the most creative architects and designers keep conceiving and delivering.   It is this innate desire that led to my discovery of Tablet, a website whose purpose is “to put the ease, the romance, the glamour back in travel, from inspiration to confirmation”.

For a while, I kept browsing their one of a kind hotel finds and when points could be redeemed for air tickets to Tokyo last Christmas, Tablet  was the first stop to uncover hotels and it delivered better than we thought possible.  We read about the Park Hotel, a property located in the heart of Tokyo, above the Shidome station and a few minutes walk from Shimbashi.

This description bowled us over…the core of the building has been hollowed out, so that its 274 rooms all face outward. The result is a sun-drenched ten-story atrium, extending 120 feet straight up to the skyscraper’s glass ceiling — far more refreshing than the enclosed lobby floor of some Tokyo tower hotels.

Our first exposure to the outstanding service we would receive over the week was when we could not find our way from the train station to the hotel.  We called the concierge and when despite her instructions, we were looping around the building, she sent someone to fetch us who of course after many an apology, led us over to the beautiful property.  “Zen Like” were the first words that came to mind as we walked into the lobby.  A discreet friendly staff, a view of Mount Fuji and very modern surroundings.

Here are all the ways in which the staff delighted us.  We asked for a breakfast recommendation and the staff said there was a Starbucks in the basement and walked us over.  We wanted to get tickets for Tokyo Disney and a staff member said we could get it at a vending machine downstairs, but since it was in Japanese, he walked over to do the transaction for us.  When we asked if we could use a gym close by, a reservation was made immediately, a taxi arranged and when we returned, the manager hurriedly walked over to make sure everything was to our satisfaction.  We asked for walking paths and were given multiple maps and follow ups at the end of the day on whether we were successful in our endeavors.

We go in expecting so little in terms of support that when we encounter this kind of service we are both a bit embarrassed and bowled over.  Besides the people, the infrastructure provided was excellent.  We had a lovely room, free hi-fi access, just some amazing toiletries, a laundry down the hall and of course the most comfortable robes and slippers.

You could read a million reviews of a hotel and still be disappointed or pick one as we did based on a curator’s recommendation and come out completely delighted on every front.

To look at some truly drool worthy hotels around the globe, please visit.

http://www.tablethotels.com/

To learn more about the Park Hotel Tokyo, click here:

http://www.tablethotels.com/Park-Hotel-Tokyo/Tokyo-Hotels-Japan/4335

Mount Fuji and Hakone In A Day

By Siddhi: 

Who?  Anyone interested in seeing or photographing Mt. Fuj. This experience is for those who can tolerate cold weather and extended exposure to a temperamental climate.

What? Mount Fuji, the tallest mountain in Japan and one of the country’s “Three Holy Mountains” (alongside Mount Haku and Mount Tate). It is widely considered an iconic geographical landmark.

How? Although the Paupers aren’t fans of guided tours, getting to Mount Fuji and Hakone in a single day is quite a convoluted process unless you’re a skilled climber or are familiar with Tokyo’s landscape. So the easiest way to get see Fuji is through a tour company. A bus picks you up from your hotel and takes you to Station 5 of the mountain which is about 2300 meters high. From there, you take a bus to the town of Hakone that is centered in volcanically active areas near Lake Ashi and are led through a brief exploration of the region. Once the day winds down, you have a choice of either taking the bus back to the city, or the faster alternative: the famous bullet train.

Why? Personally, the entire Fuji experience was quite underwhelming. I feel like the reason I felt that way about something so many people rave about is because of my minimal tolerance for cold weather. I was bone-chilling cold the entire time and almost developed frostbite standing at Station 5 as I struggled to even hold my camera because of the biting wind. I had to spend 20 minutes near the portable heaters inside a small gift shop to undo what 20 seconds of December weather had done to me. But that is just my natural reaction to a climate. For those who are fans of photography and adventure day-trips in general, Fuji and Hakone could be memorable. There are some fantastic landscapes to capture, and when the day is right (which is luck in and of itself as you can reach Fuji only to find it shrouded), the vistas are beautiful. The views of the lake at Hakone are pretty stunning as well, and the cable car ride to the top of Owakudani Crater is reminiscent of the rising sulfur images of the national parks in Hawaii.

There are several tour companies that offer the Fuji/Hakone trip in a day.

Here are just a few:

http://www.japanforyou.com/index.php/japan-tours/mt-fuji-and-hakone-tour.html

http://www.viator.com/tours/Tokyo/Mt-Fuji-Lake-Ashi-and-Bullet-Train-Day-Trip-from-Tokyo/d334-2142TYO_F800_F820

http://www.japanican.com/tours/tourdetail.aspx?aff=GMT&tc=GMT01TYOOF880

If you are a true adventurer at heart, we’d love to hear how you saw Fuji without a tour!