Hotel New Otani in Tokyo

By Virginia Shannon
This item appears on page 46 of the April 2016 issue.

I spent four nights in Tokyo in July 2015 on my annual world trip. After collecting my checked bag from the carousel at Narita International Airport, I walked into the lobby, where there are signs for different types of transportation. I wanted the Friendly Bus (yes, that’s its name). 

A ticket for a ride into the city cost $40. The bus departs almost every hour from just outside the airport lobby. It’s very well marked, and there are people who speak a bit of English to help you.

The bus travels very fast on a 4-lane road. This time, the ride took 1½ hours, possibly due to the time of day and traffic. You pass several business and factories. When you get closer to the city, you can see Tokyo Disneyland off to the left.

I stayed at Hotel New Otani (4-1 Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102 8578, Japan; phone +81 3 3265 1111, Huge and very well located, it’s an older hotel that’s been exceptionally well cared for. I first stayed there in 1980. It has everything you could possibly need.

From my window in the tower building, I could see a lovely Japanese garden with a fish pond as well as walkways and beautiful ornamental plants, cared for by gardeners each morning. I also could see the huge, lovely rose garden, which in June and July is in full bloom. Both gardens can be accessed from the lobby of the main hotel.

The hotel has many shops, a bakery and a grocery store. Since breakfast is not included in the room rate (and is a very expensive addition), I take my own tea bags for my visit and buy items from the bakery and pick up sandwiches, chips and fruit at the grocery. Food in all of the local hotels is expensive, so I buy that only as an evening treat.

A concierge desk will help you with any sightseeing. Nearby is the palace of the emperor and its grounds and the National Diet Building (similar to our Congress). 

Over many years of travel, I’ve found the Japanese people to be very willing to help, but, outside of the hotel, it’s hard to find people who speak English (just as it would be hard to find people who speak Japanese in America).

At a special desk inside the hotel, I was able to buy my return ticket to Narita Airport on the Friendly Bus. The bus runs almost hourly, but reservations must be made early. 

The bus helpers all waved a happy ‘Good-bye’ as our bus drove away. When we arrived, they had given us a bow of welcome.


Naples, FL