A couple months ago when I was booking my hotels for Osaka, I initially couldn’t find anything at all that was available. What on earth is going on? I wondered. National holiday I didn’t know about? Didn’t I learn my lesson in South Korea when I showed up at the beginning of Chuseok holiday — more or less the equivalent of Thanksgiving in the US but even bigger and more days off — completely unaware that I’d be eating at convenience stores for a couple days?
I figured out why the city was practically booked up months in advance, when I took to the street Sunday morning and found roadblocks and police along a nearby main street: the Osaka marathon.
On Sunday morning I saw the first wheelchair particpants in the marathon go zipping by to the cheers of the crowd.
In any case, the event had knocked my favorite hotels off my list and I nearly had to book something in another city or venture into the far reaches of Osaka. What to do?
I ended up booking two different hotels to split up my three days. (A handy tip for those who are spending more than one night in a city and find it “full.” It may be that some hotels are only full on ONE of the nights you are trying to book.) I started at the Hotel Brighton City for two nights (right near the Kitahama Subway stop, and then checked into Hotel Granvia (not my favorite but there are reasons to like it) right inside Osaka Station (not Shin-Osaka Station). This made my connection to the Kansai (KIX) airport express train on my last day quite convenient (included in a JR Pass). Perhaps a simple and obvious solution, but one easily gets stuck in habitual approaches to a problem.
What’s a Japanese marathon without an instant ramen guy? (When I later saw the giant pumpkin woman I remembered it was Halloween.)
More blog posts about Japan.