WHERE TO STAY IN OSAKA: KARAKSA HOTEL

Location: Osaka, Japan

Finding a good accommodation is one of the most crucial parts of planning a trip. It can have a huge impact on your spending if you don’t choose the right one that fits your travel needs. For a city as busy as Osaka, we know that it won’t be a ‘chill’ vacation for us. While we were planning our trip, we all agreed to be out of the hotel by 7:30 or 8am the latest and be back by 10 or 11pm to recharge for the next day. Yup, we are the kind of travelers who love to accomplish/see as many tourist spots in a day. So in choosing our hotel for this trip, we based it on convenience, price and location.

I heard about Karaksa Hotel through my brother who works at Universal Robina Corporation (URC). According to him, Xymax Corporation (a property management company in Japan) and Robinsons Land Corporation (a proudly local company) teamed up to bring Karaksa Hotels to Japan. A concept similar like Go Hotels—but with a Japanese touch. Fancy a little tour around the hotel?

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We arrived at the Kansai International Airport (Osaka) at 8 in the evening. We got picked up by the Karaksa Tours van. Although the train system in Japan is efficient, I still suggest that you get an airport-hotel transfer, especially if you’re arriving in the evening. Not all the stations have escalators/elevators so you will need to carry your luggage up and down the stairs. The nearest train station from the hotel doesn’t have an elevator/escalator so I highly recommend booking the Karaksa shuttle service–especially if you’re traveling with a big family.

Let’s talk about the location. Karaksa Hotel is a 15-minute walk to Dotonbori, which is not so bad especially during the winter (we, Filipinos love to cherish the cold weather haha). I also love being away from the hustle and bustle of Dotonbori so this hotel is perfect for me. However, there were a few times wherein we would be too exhausted (or shopped too much lol) so we would take a cab back to the hotel. However, if you’re the kind of traveler who loves staying at hotels exactly right where the action is, don’t fret. A new Karaksa Hotel is on its way, and it’s much more near Dotonbori.

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We were welcomed by a courteous Japanese receptionist (who didn’t want to be in the photo lol). Seeing the GoHotels.PH sign made me feel home. Karaksa also has a Filipino receptionist. Too bad we didn’t get to see any of them during our stay! Also, in case you’re wondering what Karaksa means, it is actually a pattern that originally came from China illustrating a never-ending vigorous growth of vines. They believed that the pattern brings fortune. Its endless spirals represent prosperity, longevity, growth and linkage (hence the logo).

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I just had to take a photo of the common restroom at the lobby. I feel like I’m inside a Muji store. I love it.

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The minimalist Japanese hallway. Off to the room we go!

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Since we booked the hotel for 5 nights, we wanted to make sure we have a good night’s rest. So having a comfortable bed and a nice, decent bathroom are non-negotiable. Upon seeing the room, we were not disappointed. Every detail of the room had its own use. The looks on our faces were priceless whenever we would uncover a new feature or an element of the room. From the tiny sanitary box in the bathroom, the origami placed on the desk, the complimentary Shiseido products, the luggage storage under the bed. It was an experience on its own right.

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Here’s the other room we booked. One of the many things that I love about Japan is their appreciation for minimalism. Being someone who works in the creative industry, a space like this is very much pleasing to the eyes and the mind. I can think clearly and I get so much inspiration, even when I’m about to doze off.

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Since we traveled to Japan during the winter, the heater was extremely comforting. There’s also a big TV in the room—which has TFC channel. Haha! We felt right at home watching some local shows. The most noticeable feature is that adjacent rooms can be joined via an internal door to create a connecting room for up to four guests. Connecting rooms are a great option for families or groups traveling together.

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The room may be a bit small, but this is already luxurious in Japanese standards. But don’t worry, no part of the room is left wasted. The bed is huge, comfortable and high so that you can stow your luggage/s under (how clever!), a socket and 2 USB ports on the headboard, which was so convenient because I always leave my phone charging at night. And look, they also provide pajamas for their guests!

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You also get your own little workspace with universal sockets, a telephone, a USB port plus an origami for that added quirk. I love little corners—I spent a good amount of time in this area to finish a few deadlines and edit videos for my YouTube channel. Of course, I had to take advantage of the fast wifi connection! Haha!

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They also provide sanitized slippers for their guests!

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The shower and toilet are in separate areas, allowing simultaneous use. The shower area is squeaky clean and minimal. There’s an abundance of Shiseido products, from the face/body soap, shampoo and conditioner.

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How many times have you come across a hotel that provides face soap for their guests? Gotta love Japan and their love for skincare!

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Now, my favorite part (lol)—the toilet area! Any Japanese hotel room/establishment won’t be complete without a Japanese-style washlet. The heated toilet seats were heavenly. Not that I need to tell you guys that. Haha!

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I don’t know why but I feel like I’m inside an airplane lavatory. From the tiny sink (which I love) and this operation panel which made me so curious! Haha!

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Okay let me drive your attention to this part of of the toilet are. There is a freaking sanitary box. A freakishly small one. It wasn’t until the third night when I only noticed this! I had a major “awww” moment when I saw this. Of course, I was enjoying my time at the heated toilet seats when I chanced upon this. (Okay, TMI).

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Like I said, every part of Karaksa Hotel is an experience. Having breakfast here is no different. From the wide array of Japanese-Asian cuisine (think yakitori, takoyaki, bacon, egg, Japanese rice, etc) plus a vending machine for soup (got that right)! I wish I got to take more photos of this area. I got too carried away eating my heart out! Haha!

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Hands down my favorite part of the hotel—the Leisure Space. This space reminds me of the common areas in hostels wherein you can hang out and meet fellow travellers. The Leisure Space offers vending machines for toys, souvenirs, everyday goods, soft drinks and ice. They also have an area wherein you can learn how to make origami (the art of paper holding, often associated with the Japanese culture) plus a bunch of other cool (some weird) Japanese board games.

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There are also microwaves and hot/cold water dispensers. Very convenient.

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Did I say that there is an abundance of vending machines at Karaksa Hotel? This area is my favorite because there is a vending machine dedicated to ice cream. I would go here every night just to buy Ghana ice cream. Plus another vending machine dedicated to onigiri (balls of rice, usually wrapped with nori seaweed containing a meat or vegetable filling).

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After a full day of walking, shopping and eating in Osaka, there’s nothing like a nice massage at the hotel. These massage chairs are heaven sent. You only pay 100 Japanese Yen (50 pesos) for 10 minutes. The perfect way to sooth and relax those tensed muscles from a full day of walking.

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The leisure area also has a photobooth area–kind of like the famous Purikura. But instead of printing the photos, you can actually send it to your email!

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Late-night cravings? You can eat your meals here as well. They discourage bringing food inside the hotel room so make sure you eat your take-outs at the Leisure Space. Here’s a photo of my meal: microwavable ramen, a sandwich, cafe latte, chocolate and mochi ice cream from Family Mart.

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Speaking of Family Mart, there’s one nearby, probably only 15 steps away from Karaksa Hotel. This is where we would stock up on random snacks to bring for the day, eat a light breakfast when we would leave the hotel too early (the breakfast area opens at 7am).

SPECIAL PROMO

Cebu Pacific flies between Manila and Osaka five times weekly. If you book via CebPac from November 15, 2016 to March 31, 2017 (booking period), they have an ongoing promo wherein you get a FREE round-trip airport shuttle service from Kansai International Airport to Karaksa Hotel Osaka Shinsaibashi and vice versa. You get to save as much as P1,600 per person. Travel period should be from January 1 to June 30, 2017. All you have to do is book ahead (atleast 7 days prior check-in) to avail this promo. An email will be sent to you with further instructions including a map where to locate the Karaksa airport bus.  Present the boarding pass to the driver and you’re good to go!

Book your Japan adventure for as low as P3,488+ VAT to P6,488+ VAT! Book here. Enjoy!

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