By Peter Sidell
Every autumn I go to Shizuoka for the Daidogei street performance world cup, a very fun event that takes over the city for four days. In order to be close to everything I try to stay as centrally as possible, and it would be hard to find somewhere more central than My Hotel Ryugu (the 'My' really is part of the name). Just a few minutes from the stations, the park and the main downtown area, it's also perfectly comfortable and very affordable.
If you speak no Japanese, have no fear: at the time I write this, at least one of the front desk staff was another native speaker, another highly fluent (having lived in Brighton in the UK), all spoke at least a little English and were friendly and helpful. They'll be quick to give information and recommendations, and if you ask nicely they'll let you overshoot check-out time a bit.
My single room was done out in neutral tones, and was pretty much standard size for a business hotel, with a little niche behind the desk to put my little case out of the way. I had my beer-fridge and TV, and a sink of sleek, modern design which dispensed very, very hot water. The shower was decently strong and, most importantly, the bed was nice and comfortable, so I could get my beauty sleep and be well rested for each day of sights, shopping and shows.
What else? There's a little laundry room with coin-operated washers and dryers, some vending machines, a couple of function rooms. If you need to be online there's free Wi-Fi throughout, cable internet in the rooms and a PC in the lobby, where there's also a monthly jazz concert.
You're more or less immediately next to Cenova shopping centre, also home to Shin-Shizuoka station, terminus of the local Shizutetsu rail line. It's not far to Sunpu Castle Park, while charming Hodai-ji temple is immediately next to the hotel, Obeissan shrine and Keyo-in temple just down the road. And being in the heart of a good sized city, you're very well served for other shopping, dining and drinking options.
There are single, double, twin and Japanese style rooms: rates on the hotel start at JPY7150 for one person in a single, and you'll pay between JPY4500 and JPY6000 per person if you share, though I found lower prices on the hotel website I use.
The hotel is less than five minutes' walk from JR Shizuoka station; it's best to use the underpass from outside the north exit, because the road layout around the north side of the station is a bit pedestrian-hostile. From Shin-Shizuoka station, it's just two minutes' walk.
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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.