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An Introduction to Travel in Japan by Dishmag Editor Raeanne Rubenstein

Look up, and you can see them, high above the bustle of crowded streets — Tokyo’s tip-top hotels, secreted away at the top of glass office towers, with only cognicenti knowing they are there. Lucky me, I had the pleasure of staying in three of them...... First, The Grand Hyatt Hotel, where Tom Cruise held “The Last Samurai” press conference, and part of Roppongi Hills, a new, happening, urban redevelopment project that’s all the rage with young Tokyoites at the moment. Next, the daring ANA Strings Hotel, with its soaring 7-story lobby, glass interior elevators, and incomparable views. And my final aerial home, the sophisticated, chic Four Seasons Hotel at Marounuchi, a heartbeat away from the Imperial Palace Gardens, historic Tokyo Station, and Ginza shopping.

My fourth residence was entirely different — The Seiyo Ginza Hotel, a 77-room treasure tucked away on the Ginza, provided me with not only elegant accommodations, but with my own personal butler. Since the hotel keeps a record of my likes and dislikes on permanent file, my room at this cozy “home away from home” will be perfectly prepared for my return.

Find out more about these fine hotels on the following pages... but don’t stop there. Each of them will provide you with a lifetime of experiences and memories, without ever stepping out the front door. Whether traveling for business of pleasure, treat yourself... I promise you’ll thank me in the morning.

I’d like to add a word about American Airlines, the only carrier who has brought me to Tokyo thus far. On my first trip, shortly after 9/11, the plane was empty but the service was great (Hi Skippy!!! if you read this). On my most recent trip, the plane was packed, but the service was still great. A hearty thanks to American for getting me to Tokyo, and then back home again, safely, comfortably, and... on-time.

No matter what, don’t miss our Ryokan article, about traditional Japanese Inns that provide a fascinating alternative to Western-style hotels.

Finally, for all you adventurous souls out there who want to travel to Japan, but can’t afford luxury class hotels- writer Charles Whipple (you must read “A Blind Date With Digger-n-John” in this issue) has kindly provided us with a link to a web-site that features budget-oriented hotels (some as low as 5600 Y ($56) a night).

Enjoy! / Issue 40 - September 8638
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