My wife and I are making our first trip to Japan in late Sep. We are doing 4 nights in Tokyo and 5 nights in Kyoto. We typically plan our itineraries for our international trips around food, and I typically have everything planned out and reserved months ahead of time, but I've procrastinated for this trip because I've found the plethora of options somewhat daunting.
While in Tokyo, we will be staying at the Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho. It is a "new" hotel (~1 year old) but, from what I have read, is on par with the Ritz Carlton and the Grand Hyatt. I've reached out to the concierge for reservation assistance but, thus far, two of the three places I requested were met with essentially a "yeah, that place is doesn't really work with hotels and/or answer their phone (so we're not going to try)" type response... which I found somewhat surprising.
On previous trips around Europe, my wife and I have relied heavily on the concierge and have always had great results. So I wanted to ask - is this typical for the Tokyo concierges? Are they maybe using that as an excuse because they don't want to tell me that I waited too long to try to book?
For context, here are the three restaurants that I requested:
- Den: was told they don't take reservations from hotels (but I saw on their website that you can call during certain hours... of the three, Den seemed the most likely to be fully booked.)
- Shima: confirmed reservation
- Sushi Umi: was told they don't typically answer their phone...
(I realize Umi isn't the top of the top sushiyas. A selling point for me was the less formal / "get in, get out" atmosphere + the staff speaking some English. That said, I'm open to other suggestions here, but prefer somewhere that I am less likely to leave hungry.)
What method do those of you that frequent Tokyo typically use for securing your reservations? I realize there are "pay" sites that can make reservations, but I had hoped to avoid those. I also have access to the Visa Infinite concierge through my credit card, but I've read mostly negative reviews in regards to reservations in Tokyo. The hotel concierge seemed like the best bet, but it hasn't been working out that well thus far.