Welcome back home and congratulations on your successful visit to Kumatori and Tokyo. We are absolutely delighted for you.
O tsu kare sama deshita!
Thank you very much for putting your post on our Message Board. I've enjoyed reading your comments, and it's very, very useful for us to get the kind of feedback you were so kind to give to us.
Michael-san has already commented on a number of the points you raised in your feedback. May I comment, please, on your 'onsen experience' and on your
Fudoguchikan Onsen ... [Natural Hot Spring Spa]
we understand why you didn't want to book a room at Fudoguchikan Onsen before you left the UK, since you couldn't be certain if your flight would be delayed nor how you might feel once you arrived in Kansai.
As you experienced, Fudoguchikan is a somewhat small, family-owned-and-run onsen. Particularly on Sundays and especially on Sundays during major Japanese holidays (such as O-Bon, which ended the day you arrived), bookings are
essential. Since Fudoguchikan has no restaurant on its own, to eat at the onsen, you need to book a room - meals (served, in traditional style, on tatami in the room) come as part of a room booking.
Our advice for future business visits is to see if your flight arrives on-time and how you feel once you arrive at your hotel. If you feel up to it, once you check-in, please ask the hotel concierge to book a room at the onsen for you.
It's possible that all the rooms may be booked, but at least you know this before you arrive. As you experienced at Fudoguchikan, you can bathe at the onsen and walk to a nearby restaurant in the village. The chances are good,
however, that you can book a room at the onsen on the day your arrive and enjoy a traditional kai-seki meal as part of your 'onsen experience'.
Takuhaibin ...[(Baggage)Delivery Service]
We're disappointed that your hotel was not more helpful in arranging for your luggage to be delivered direct to your hotel in Tokyo; it's fantastic being able to travel in urban Japan without heavy bags & then arrive to find your luggage waiting for you ... right in your hotel room.
On this occasion, your hotel had a 'connection' with a local delivery agent whose service network isn't big enough to arrange same-day delivery of bags between Kansai ~ Kanto.
On future visits, you have 2 possible ways of ensuring that your luggage can be left behind at your hotel in Kansai and still be delivered to your hotel in Tokyo the same day.
• you can contact 1 of the Big 3 takuhaibin companies directly and arrange for collection and delivery. We would recommend either
'Yamato Transport' (their logo is a Black Cat - seen everywhere)or 'ABC'. Both provide a very good service, both charge similar prices ... as long as your bags weigh less than 20kgs, the charge per bag from Kansai ~ Kanto is approximately ¥1,600
• your 2nd option is to ask your hotel concierge to contact
'Yamato Transport' or 'ABC' on your behalf and then make the same collection/delivery arrangements. The hotel may offer to add the charges to your hotel bill, or ask you to pay directly.
If you choose this option, you must make it clear to your hotel that you specifically want to engage 'Yamato Transport' or 'ABC' to collect/deliver you luggage (and not their 'connected agent')
I hope you will find all of this useful on your next business trip to Japan. Using takuhaibin makes your life much easier ... going to an onsen and enjoying a kai-seki meal, sitting on tatami in a traditional Japanese room, wearing the onsen's yukata is not only so relaxing, but it also gives you more than a little taste of 'the real Japan' - which, sadly, many UK business people never experience even after many trips to Japan.
Please give my very best regards (and congratulations) to Lindsay-san and Bob-san.