By Bryan Baier
Hotel Nikko Nara is a one-minute walk from Nara Station, (which is also convenient if you have many large suitcases with you) and a five -minute drive from Kokufu-ji Temple and Nara National Museum. This modern, stylish luxury hotel features several dining options, karaoke facilities and rooms are installed with free Internet. Members of the Imperial family have stayed here and there are commemorative pictures of the Imperial guests posted around the hotel. Local Japanese cuisine can be found at Restaurant Yoshino, while Icho serves Japanese grill (teppanyaki) dishes. The hotel also houses a buffet restaurant, a Chinese restaurant as well as a tea lounge.
Guests can unwind with a massage that is located near the large bathroom (open from about 4pm -11pm). There are many showers available in the large bath so when it's crowded, there is no need to wait a long time. Bicycle rental is available for those who wish to explore the area. JR Nara is convenient if you intend traveling to Horyuji and Koriyama but if you want to go to Heijo Palace site a bus is available from outside the hotel, which goes directly past Suzukamon gate about once an hour, and is probably faster than walking to Kintetsu Nara and going to Yamato Saidaiji station and going from there. One point to consider is that if you happen to be a smoker staying with non-smokers there are no air filters installed in the rooms and the air filter in the bathroom is very weak for extracting stale smoke. You may end up having to go into the lobby if you need to have a cigarette break.
To reach the Hotel Nikko, Osaka Itami Airport is a 60 minute drive away and Kansai International airport is sixty-ninety minutes by limousine bus. Staff at the hotel are able to speak some English and service was said to be professional, efficient and friendly. Guests can also shop for souvenirs at the gift shop.
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I'm 49 years young and come from Auckland, New Zealand. I have now lived in Japan about 25 years, almost the entire time has been spent in the Kansai area. I originally lived in Takamatsu, Kagawa prefecture in 1987 and then moved to Osaka. Spending a few years in Osaka and when I married I moved to South Kyoto/Nara. I have been teaching English at several universities for a few years and since 2007 have been living in Nara. I realised after living here a while that I didn't really know much about the area I have been living in. My usual routine was to go in a straight line between home and work, and a beer on the way home. I have found some great little drinking spots and bars in my travels. Getting involved with Japan Tourist it has offered me the opportunity to go out and explore my neigborhood and to share my adventures as someone who has made Japan my home for 25 years. I hope that through Japan Tourist people will come to see the real Japan and learn a little more about the Nara I have come to know that you won't really learn about in guide books.