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Nagoya - Japan

Living up to what is expected of Japan's fourth largest city, Nagoya offers travelers a wide range of accommodations from penthouse suites to communal rooms, with just enough in between to satisfy everyone else. The main business and tourist areas offer accommodations for a variety of pocketbooks, with the Nagoya Station area of Nakamura-ku and Fushimi area of Naka-ku offering the greatest number and diversity of hotels; however, be aware that in Japan room prices are determined more by the number of people staying in the room rather than the number of beds. Another thing to remember is that although the number of visitors to Nagoya does not approach that of Tokyo, the city is the hub of Japan's third most major commercial and industrial region, so it is prudent to reserve accommodation in advance.

At the top of the scale is the Nagoya Marriott Associa Hotel. This 52-story hotel is conveniently located over Nagoya Sation, and houses Takashimaya, the city's top department store, along with some of Nagoya's finest restaurants, and a view of the city that only a structure of its magnitude can provide. Alternatively, you may want to opt for the luxury of the Sofitel The Cypress Nagoya, which offers only doubles and suites. These three hotels are all conveniently located in close proximity to all the local attractions. Rooms start from about JPY25,000 and range upwards of JYP100,000 for those considerably more well-heeled.

Stepping down one notch to the medium-priced hotels, you may find them lacking in the lavish amenities of their cousins, but the level of service is almost identical. Most of the hotels in this range will still offer English-speaking staff, cable TV and convenient access to the city center. They will also be able to organize tours for you, so do not be afraid to ask for this service. The Meitetsu Grand Hotel is included in this middle-of-the-road group and begins around JPY11,000 for a single. Next, slightly cheaper but with an equally excellent range of services and facilities, is the Nagoya Castle Plaza Hotel. This gem of a hotel has all of the facilities of the top-class establishments, but the luxury of a much lower price.

Lower-priced hotels that start in the range of JPY6,000 often fall into the category of "business" hotels, as they are known in Japan, because they are primarily used by traveling businessmen, providing little more than a bathroom and a bed. Two good hotels in this category are the Hotel Sun Plaza and the Nagoya Station Hotel. These hotels do not offer many amenities, nor do they have English-speaking staff, but they are clean and safe. Most business hotels also have a restaurant that serves the three essential meals that all travelers need, and the option of eating bacon and eggs or local or Asian cuisine is usually available for breakfast.

First on the list for high-class accommodations in Naka-ku is a long-standing favorite of the Fushimi area, the Hilton Nagoya, a hotel with an incredible range of facilities that should satisfy the needs of even the most discerning traveler. In Nagoya, like in any other big city, you will get what you pay for, though granted it will be in a smaller portion. As in the rest of Japan, space is at a premium here, rendering rooms slightly smaller than their Western counterparts, but the services that you will receive from hotel staff more than make up for the lack of space.  The Japanese word for guest is a highly revered one, and so there's never any question that service will be excellent. The Creston Hotel also falls into this high-end category, not just for its class but also it's convenience, with the Parco department store located on its upper three floors.

For those looking for a more moderately priced stay, the Nagoya Sakae Tokyu Inn is a great choice, offering business-class prices but above average space and amenities for an inn of its type. Another hotel in this category is the Nagoya Tokyu Hotel, which has all the style and elegance of an upscale stay but at a lower price. Japanese-style tatami rooms and more expensive European-style suites are also available.

All visitors to Japan should experience at least one night in a ryokan, or traditional inn. Some of the characteristics all ryokans share are the sleeping arrangement, the cuisine and the costume. You will always sleep on a futon laid out on tatami matting. The food will always be Japanese, ranging from simple home cooking in the ryokans at the lower end of the scale to the top-class kaiseki, or a full traditional dinner course, in the more exclusive resorts. If you are short of time and traveling on a limited budget in Nagoya but still want the ryokan experience, you could try Ryokan Meiryu, which is centrally located and moderately priced.

On the distant end of the spectrum are the youth hostels. Like any city in the world, Nagoya also has its variety of these cheap and convenient places to stay. Designed for the traveler on a limited budget, or those just looking for a bit more adventure, youth hostels are a favorite with college-age tourists. Ranging in price from JPY2,000 to around JPY4,000, hostels offer clean though Spartan, adequate sleeping space, and although the staff may not generally be much good at speaking English, or any other foreign language for that matter, many of the patrons will be more than willing to lend a helping hand to those in need. Nagoya features hostels near the main train stations as well as near points of interest for foreign travelers.

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