3 Landmark Hotels along Japan’s iconic Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line
Frequent travellers to Japan would know how extensive Japan’s railway networks are. With the existence of the bullet train (新幹線 shinkansen) operated by the Japan Railways (JR) group, multi-city travelling couldn’t have been made any easier where visiting different regions of Japan can be done in a matter of hours or even minutes. Major cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Fukuoka are all connected by a single shinkansen line, allowing most first-time visitors to conveniently hit up all the sightseeing spots along these areas in their first trip. Zipping past Japan’s most iconic symbol Mount Fuji, this line is no other than the famous Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line (東海道・山陽新幹線).
(Image credit: photoAC)
Apart from being the backbone of Japan’s nationwide rail services, did you know that JR also has a hotel subsidiary group? An affiliate of JR, JR Hotel Group operates a sprawling network of hotels all across Japan. Many of its hotels are connected directly to their respective train stations, making them the perfect gateways to bridge visitors to their next getaways. The common sentiment among Japanese locals is that when you hear the brand “JR Hotel Group”, there is an assurance of quality and convenience.
Some of my close friends are the type of travellers who would rather scrimp and save on cheaper, far-flung accommodation in order to stretch their shopping and food budgets, but personally, I’ve travelled to Japan often enough to know that accessibility and comfort matters a lot to me. Perhaps this is a sign of ageing, but I’m no longer willing to lug my suitcase across the streets on a rainy night, just to search for my budget hostel that is hidden in a residential district 25 minutes away from the station. (True story).
When I related my experience to a Japanese native friend, he recommended that I search for hotels that are connected to JR Stations for maximised accessibility. That was how I found the JR Hotel Group and became a true convert.
(Image credit: JR Hotel Group)
So the next time your itinerary passes through the famous Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line, take note of these three landmark hotels by JR Hotel Group that you can stop by for the night. We’ll begin our journey from the eastern end of this railway line.
1. Tokyo: The Tokyo Station Hotel
The Tokyo Station Hotel in the Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building. (Image credit: JR East Hotels)
Our first stop is none other than the bustling capital city of Japan itself: Tokyo (東京). As one of Japan’s most well-connected cities, Tokyo makes for the perfect base for visitors who intend to explore the rest of East Japan. Tokyo Station (東京駅) is one of the termini of the Tokaido Shinkansen Line. And what better way to base yourself than to stay right at the famous Tokyo Station itself?
Dome Side Room decked in exquisite European style decoration. (Image credit: JR East Hotels)
Connected right next to Tokyo Station’s Marunouchi South Exit (丸の内南口 Marunouchi-minamiguchi), The Tokyo Station Hotel is a 5-star hotel that opened its doors in 1915. It is one of the facilities offered in the Tokyo Station Marunouchi Building (東京駅 丸の内駅舎 Tōkyō-eki Marunouchi-ekisha) which was designated as an Important Cultural Property of Japan in 2006. This iconic landmark is hard to miss—its red-brick design and grandeur stands out among the sky-high buildings in Tokyo’s Central Business District area.
If luxury is what you seek, the 65sqm Maisonette (Duplex) room is your ideal choice. (Image credit: JR East Hotels)
Start your day right with the buffet-style breakfast served at The Atrium. (Image credit: JR East Hotels)
This hotel prides itself for its preservation of deep-rooted heritage while providing guests with top-notch amenities and hospitality. Recently refurbished in 2012, this historic hotel has also won multiple awards and accolades, as well as being listed in Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Each of the hotel’s 150 rooms and suites are uniquely decorated with a classic European flair, effortlessly combining contemporary with luxury. If you’d like, you can also opt to enjoy the buffet-style breakfast at The Atrium offered to hotel guests only. Serving a wide variety of high-quality Continental and Japanese food spread, the hotel’s breakfast selection is not to be missed—can you imagine starting your day with chutoro sashimi slices in your ricebowl?
Given its central location, The Tokyo Station Hotel is also surrounded by many Tokyo sightseeing spots including walking distance to the Imperial Palace (皇居 Kōkyo) and the shopping district of Ginza (銀座). And of course, since it’s right next to Tokyo Station, the hotel is also convenient to get to from major airports like Haneda International Airport (HND) and Narita International Airport (NRT).
For our next stop, we’re heading west. Welcome to the ancient capital city of Japan—Kyoto (京都).
2. Kyoto: Hotel Granvia Kyoto
The majestic exterior of Hotel Granvia Kyoto. (Image credit: JR West Hotels)
If you’ve travelled to the widely-popular Kyoto City before, you’ll know that it’s never an easy feat to secure a good location to stay in Kyoto—especially if you’re planning to visit during the peak holiday periods in August and December—which is why many would opt to stay in the neighbouring city Osaka instead. However, what if we tell you that there’s a hotel that’s connected right next to the state-of-the-art Kyoto Station (京都駅)?
When Hotel Granvia Kyoto was described as “an integral part of the JR Kyoto Station Building Complex” on its official site, my overly-imaginative brain took it to mean that the JR Kyoto Station building would collapse if the hotel was physically removed from the premises. As morbid as that may sound, I suspect this to be true as I studied this floorplan.
The entire JR Kyoto Station building is an integrated lifestyle hub of sorts—and Hotel Granvia Kyoto is a significant building block that exemplifies urban accessibility and connectivity. (Image credit: JR West Hotels)
As a part of the JR Kyoto Station Building Complex, the hotel is part of an iconic architectural ecosystem that includes a department store, musical theatre, and a myriad of retail and food shops. Being a part of a train station means that hotel guests have direct and easy access to and from Kansai International Airport, as well as key prefectures like Osaka, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Nagoya, and Fukuoka.
An unmissable landmark of Kyoto — the impressive Kyoto Tower, just minutes away from the hotel. (Image credit: JR West Hotels)
A popular choice for international and domestic travellers alike is the Superior Twin rooms, which were newly renovated in July 2019 to include rooms with views of the Kyoto Tower. These Tower View rooms offer a chance for guests to live in modern luxury while meeting the historic and culture-rich Kyoto by their hotel window.
The popular Superior Twin Towerview rooms in Hotel Granvia Kyoto offer stunning night views of the iconic Kyoto Tower. (Image credit: JR West Hotels)
The thousand torii gates of Fushimi Inari Taisha. (Image credit: Pexels / Vincent M.A. Janssen)
Yet another perk for staying at Hotel Granvia Kyoto is that you’ll get a headstart in your itinerary. For those who would like to check out the “Thousand Torii Gates” at Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社), you’d be pleased to know that the shrine grounds is merely minutes away from Kyoto Station! Simply take the JR Uji Line from Kyoto Station and alight two stops later at Inari Station (稲荷駅)—Fushimi Inari is just a minute’s walk by foot.
Our last destination is in the southern island of Kyushu, located at the final stop of the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line: Hakata Station (博多駅).
3. Fukuoka: THE BLOSSOM HAKATA Premier
(Image credit: JR Kyushu Hotels)
Settled in the heart of Hakata ward in Fukuoka Prefecture (福岡県) is THE BLOSSOM HAKATA Premier, a 4-star hotel that is just a 7-minute walk from JR Hakata Station. The concept of THE BLOSSOM HAKATA Premier is a seamless blend of modernity and tradition, and this can be spotted throughout the entire build and design of the hotel. For instance, its grandeur exterior draws inspiration from the traditional patterns of Hakata-ori textiles, and these tapestry-like motifs evokes a sense of prestige and sophistication.
(Image credit: JR Kyushu Hotels)
The fusion of old and new inspiration doesn’t end on the hotel’s exterior. Step into the Luxury Floor Hakata Twin (Sui) room and guests will be welcomed into an inviting suite with two twin beds and a sofa by the window, lit with soft and natural illumination.
A historic artwork depicting Japan’s past stretches across the wall in the men's bathhouse. (Image credit: JR Kyushu Hotels)
Guests can look forward to soaking in the hotel’s indoor bathhouses—one for males, and the second for females. Both bathhouses are luxurious and decked with traditional Japanese designs on their walls.
Tochoji Temple. (Image credit: PhotoAC)
Before the coronavirus pandemic struck, the friendly staff of THE BLOSSOM HAKATA Premier used to conduct walking-tours for guests who’ll like to explore the historic Gokusho-machi District (that is known for its temples such as Tochoji Temple) in Hakata by foot! While it is unfortunate that this in-house tour has been suspended temporarily, it is useful to note this added service if you’re planning future visits to Hakata once this pandemic is over.
JR Hotel Membership: Good vibes only
As one of the largest hotel groups in Japan, JR Hotel Group has established its niche in the area of providing quality and accessible accommodations that are adjoined to train stations. Founded in 1987, the JR Hotel Group has a long-standing reputation in offering consistent quality, personable service, and unrivalled accessibility to its guests across its numerous hotels all over Japan.
The JR Hotel membership programme includes 89 hotels that cover the whole nation of Japan. (Image credit: JR Hotel Group)
(Image credit: JR Hotel Group)
Streetwise travellers who are shinkansen-savvy would be pleased to know that JR Hotel Group offers a free membership programme to both native and foreign guests. If accessible and affordable accommodations are important to you as a Japan-traveller, we’ll strongly encourage you to sign up as a member today. Some perks include access to discounted room rates of up to 20% off when making a booking directly with the hotel, late check-outs, priority check-ins, and earning JRHM Points (JR Hotel Members Points) at every participating hotel or restaurant. There are currently 89 participating hotels in this membership programme, which essentially covers every region of the nation—including the three iconic landmark hotels introduced above!
So far, I haven’t found any downsides to being a registered JR Hotel member, besides the occasional marketing email making its way to my inbox. I personally do not mind them because it’s quite seldom, plus I can unsubscribe from the mailing list anytime. Besides, it’s the fastest way to know about exclusive deals from the various JR hotels! More information on the JR Hotels Membership can be found here.
JR Times Special Campaign
Not a JR Hotel Group member yet? This is the best time to sign up. From now until 30 November 2020, newly registered JR Hotel members will stand a chance to win up to 10,000 JRHM Points in an exclusive Lucky Draw. Here's how to participate:
Step 1: Register as a JR Hotel member here
Step 2: Insert the code JRT-SIN under the “Remarks” column.
1st Prize: 10,000 JRHM Points (3 Winners)
2nd Prize: 5,000 JRHM Points (6 Winners)
3rd Prize: 2,000 JRHM Points (15 Winners)
Winners’ announcement date: 12 Dec 2020
Terms & Conditions
- Only completed registrations submitted by 30 Nov 2020, 23:59 (Singapore Time), with the required Code shall qualify for the Lucky Draw.
- Each person is entitled to a single membership registration only. Repeated or falsified entries will be disqualified.
- All awarded JRHM Points are valid for 2 years from the Date of Issue.
- In the event of a dispute, JR East Hotels reserves all rights to the final decision.
Header image credit: JR Times