Category Archives: Japan

The Prince Sakura Tower Tokyo, Autograph Collection

The Prince Sakura Tower: Renovated Hotel, but Value for Money is Average

Prince Sakura TowerI have stayed in this hotel quite a few times since 2005. The hotel was renovated recently – in the last year or so, my last stay was actually in the Prince Takanawa hotel near by as this property was being redesigned.
The new furnishings and overall setup is definitely nicer. But there are some issues that I wish were resolved – and to be honest make me wonder was the redesign just cosmetic…?
My biggest issue – the shower in the bathroom. Take this
* the rooms are large
* clean, new carpets
* comfortable bed

But the bathrooms are small and the showers tiny!!! More about the showers:
* In a upscale / expensive hotel – why would you put a shower that is really 1980s?
* There is hardly a spot / shelf to put more than a bar of soap — Why? I had to put the small bottles of shampoo over the frame of the shower door as the small shelf was occupied by a soap and a razor…that’s it…

Additionally, I was very surprised not to find electrical outlets that can work with US plugs. In most hotels I have stayed, at least at the desk you will find power outlets that accomdate multiple standards including US ones for electrical outlets – but not in this hotel.
So, if it is a hotel accomodating business travellers – why not put at least a couple of outlets with more than just Japanese standard???? Very strange and inconsiderate
Further on the fit for a business hotel – the hotel room has a desk area (rudimentary I may add, but it is what it is), but no phone at the desk…! Another strange configuration I must say…What do you think? Would you want to have a phone on the desk? If you are like me – you have multiple business related conference calls and those usually require you to reference material from your laptop. So in the Price Sakura Tower hotel your option for a business conference call is the bed!!! Why? The phone is on the bed side table, NOT on the desk.

So good luck hunching over your laptop as you talk on a short cord telephone…
(I wish there was at least a cordless phone…)

So, my overall assessment – if you are a business traveler and if you have options, look for another hotel…!

Japan: Senso-Ji Temple and Nakamise Street

Sakusa-Senso-Ji-TempleJapan: Senso-Ji Temple and Nakamise Street

On a recent business travel to Japan I managed to squirrel away one half day, and to enjoy that going out in the city and looking for ancient times Tokyo.

Needless to say, this was not an easy choice given that there are tons of places to see in the city.  I had an additional task from my family – “…buy a yukata present for us”!  So having two difficult objectives, of course I turned to my hotel concierge services with the all important question – “…I have only 3 hours.  Where do I find a good yukata and how do acquire them..”?

I was told that the Nakamise street sells tons of traditional Japanese arts and crafts products and is a good place to look for those yukatas I needed to purchase.


Early in the morning along Nakamise Sttreet

Nakamise street is located in the Asakusa area – and yes, as you can imagine, it is located on the Asakusa Line.  The shopping street has approximately 50-stores and majority of them deal / sell traditional wares including many ornamental / souvenir items

Off Nakamise Street
Early Morning on Nakamise-Street

On the same street you will also find yourself looking at a great temple – actually THE OLDEST temple in Tokyo – the Senso-Ji Temple.

Entrance to the Senso-Ji Temple from Nakamise Street

A View from the Main Hall of the Senso-Ji Temple

So, you went to Nakamise street to find some good souvenirs and ended up being told the story of Tokyo’s oldest temple and worship another half an hour…

As I understood, the temple is VERY old – it was established (with its initial worship hall) in and around 645 AD, by a Buddhist priest. Over the centuries, the temple has continued to be used both as a pilgrimage site as well as a worship place;  On the day I visited, the place was already mobbed around 10 am. – tons of people and as a result actually not very pleasant to stroll around – eventhough the grounds are beautifully landscaped – the large number of people made it less than attractive for my stroll.   Here are a few more photos from the temple:

The prayer hall of the Senso-ji Temple
Map of the Senso-Ji Temple (courtesy one – I snapped an image inside the temple grouds)
Five Storied Pagoda

Finally, to the most important questions: Fee?  No!  It is FREE!!!;   Operation Hours:  Apparently it is open from 6:00 to 17:00; but the grounds are always open;