By Joe Robinson
Chisun Inns and Hotels are a nationwide chain of budget hotels, designed to provide reasonable comfort at good value. They’re generally aimed at people traveling on business or driving across country, but can also often be found within cities or near interesting out-of-the-way sights.
Chisun Hotel Kobe is not untypical of the chain, though being a hotel, it's more upscale than others I’ve stayed at. The location is fairly central, with access through the basement to Kosoku Kobe station, and connections from there to Motomachi, Sannomiya, and other cities across Kansai. It's also close to JR Kobe station and the city's bus terminal. There's a convenience store in the basement, a supermarket two minutes' walk away, and a range of shops, cafes and restaurants within easy walking distance.
The hotel has vending machines for soft drinks, beer and instant noodles, and for an extra thousand yen there’s a buffet breakfast, providing a mix of Japanese and western food. There’s rice, fish, salad and miso soup, and also eggs, sausages, cereal and toast, along with coffee, tea and juice; if you’re not in a hurry it’s a nice way to start the day.
My room was pretty boxy, but perfectly comfortable, with enough space to hang my clothes and put my bags down. The bathroom was also compact, with a good powerful shower; like all of the chain's hotels, it's equipped with a line to hang your clothes to dry if you do your laundry in the washing machines to be found on most floors.
There are a handful of attractions within walking distance. Minatogawa Shrine has a relaxing atmosphere, and Kobe Village Arts Center, while a little tricky to find, has interesting exhibitions and performances, and a wealth of information about artistic goings-on across the region. It's also close to the European-style shopping and dining emporium of Harborland.
Booking is easy on the English website, and if you reserve far enough in advance there are real bargains to be had, with room prices as low as ¥4,700 a night. It’s not a luxurious place to stay, but for budget-conscious travelers or backpackers happy to spend a little more and treat themselves to a break from dorms, it’s a good choice in a good location at a good price.
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I came to Japan from Manchester, England in summer 2003, and have travelled a lot since then, around Japan and in Asia. When I`m not working I write satire at www.iothern.blogspot.com and perform stand-up comedy in and around Tokyo. Check my youtube channel `CunningPunster` for a taste.