Venue (Hotel & Directions)
For general information on the Hyogo Earthquake Engineering Research Center (and nice videos of tests), where our meeting will be held, see: http://www.bosai.go.jp/hyogo/ehyogo/index.html Note that the Japanese side of the website has more videos than the English side.
There are only a few US flag carriers that fly planes each day to Japan, especially to the Osaka area. Generally, a direct flight from the US to the Kansai International Airport (KIX) is most convenient, but there may be other flights you can get that go to Nagoya or Tokyo. If you wait too long to make a reservation you will need to be creative. Remember, if you are going to apply for a travel stipend, or intend to charge your airfare to an NSF account, your reservation needs to be on a US flag carrier.
To facilitate participants meeting up to travel together or contact one another, please enter your travel information (airline flights, hotel name, and cell phone (if it will work in Japan) in the following spreadsheet: Google Spreadsheet For NEES/E-Defense Meeting Travel Coordination
Crowne Plaza Hotel (ANA), Kobe, Japan
This hotel will be the location for meeting the bus to go to E-Defense, and where we will have the meeting banquet. Thus it is an ideal location to stay.
There is not a group rate for this meeting. It may be possible to book this hotel at a better rate from other websites.
Reservation URL: http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/cp/1/en/hotel/osakb
If you find an alternative hotel near by the meeting venue or another convenient hotel, please let Steve Mahin know and he will send this information to the participants.
Additional Hotel Suggestions
Hotel space is always at a premium in Kobe. If you are having difficulty finding a hotel (like the Crown Plaza Hotel), you may try some alternatives. Several hotels are located near the Sannomiya Railway station. You can find these on Expedia or other travel sites. You can take the subway from Sannomiya station to the Crown Plaza Hotel (station in basement of hotel).
Alternatively, you can stay near the Shin-Osaka station and taking the Shinkansen to the Shin-Kobe station where the Crown Plaza hotel is located. Masayoshi Nakashima suggests one of the following two hotels in Shin Osaka that he says are more than decent.
Both hotels are less than a few minutes to Shin-Osaka station, and it is a 15 minutes shinkansen ride from Shin-Osaka to Shin-Kobe stations. The frequency of service between the two stations is every 10 to 15 minutes. The rate is 1450 yen per ride.
Directions to the Meeting Site
The following information may be useful for you to get to the meeting.
Arriving at the Kansai International Airport (KIX):
Heading to Kobe and the Crown Plaza Hotel by bus: Generally, it is more convenient to take a bus from the KIX airport to the Sannomiya train station, and from there to take a taxi, subway or walk to the Crown Plaza or other hotel in Kobe.
A large bus leaves the KIX airport nearly every 15-20 minutes from the Kansai Airport for the Sannomiya Station in Kobe. The bus costs 1900 Yen (one way) or 3000 Yen (round trip) and takes a little more than an hour depending on the traffic (time of day).
For a map of the bus departure area at KIX see: http://www.kansai-airport.or.jp/en/access/bus/index.html. After you leave customs, you may want to exchange some dollars into yen. There are ATM machines and banks just outsides the customs area in the airport. If you plan to take the bus, go to the first floor, and exit the terminal. You will want Bus Stop 6. Against the wall of the terminal at this bus stop are vending machines that sell tickets. The vending machines have a button that will post the various pages in English, which makes them very convenient to use. There is normally a bus employee nearby to help if you have problems. You will get a ticket that indicates the time of your bus on it and the bus stop. You can get a receipt from the machine. For the bus schedule to and from Kobe, see: http://www.kansai-airport.or.jp/en/access/bus/index.html. The buses are very punctual, and many busses come and go at frequent intervals. The bus time and destination are generally clearly marked on the gate, and bus. The bus has a short stop on Rokko Island, and that may be listed as a destination in addition to Kobe/Sannomiya.
The bus will drop you off across the street from the Sannomiya station, as you can see in the map below ("Bus: Getting of place").
From here, you can walk to the hotel if you are not carrying a lot of luggage, take a subway (there is a station in basement of our hotel), or take a taxi. To take the subway, cross the street, and go into the JR Sannomiya station and look for signs in English for the Seishin-Yamate Line. This is in the basement of the train station. You will go one station to Shin-Kobe (make sure you get on the right train track other wise you will go to Kenchomae station). The Shin-Kobe subway station is actually in the basement of the Crown Plaza hotel. Depending on the subway station exit you use, you can go directly to the lobby of the hotel. If you are less adventurous or have lots of luggage, you can take a taxi.
The return trip is very similar. However, the bus departure area is different than the drop off location. See the above map and note the "BUS: Getting on Place" location. There are ticket vending machines at this location as well.
Heading to Kobe and the Crown Plaza hotel by ferry boat and monorail: For the adventurous, you can take a high speed boat from Kansai to the Kobe Airport, and from there a monorail (Port Liner) to Sannomiya Station and then the subway. The Bay Shuttle is a high speed ferry, operates between Kansai Airport and Kobe Airport. The one way journey takes 50 minutes, costs 1500 yen and includes a short shuttle bus ride between the Kansai Airport terminal building and the ferry pier. On the Kobe side, the Port Liner monorail connects Kobe Airport with Sannomiya Station in central Kobe in 20 minutes and for 320 yen. From Sannomiya, you take a taxi, subway or walk to the hotel. You will need to check for prominent signs in the in the airports to find the ferry and Port Liner.
Getting to the Shin-Kobe Shinkansen Station:
The Crown Plaza hotel is directly across the street from the Shin-Kobe station, and directly accessible using pedestrian bridge at the south end of the Shin-Kobe station. Thus, you can alternatively go to the Crown Plaza by shinkansen.
If you are arriving in Japan at airports in Nagoya or Tokyo (or even Kansai), or if you are staying in a hotel near the Shin-Osaka station, you can go to the Crown Plaza hotel most conveniently by traveling to the Shin-Kobe Shinkansen Station.
From Kansai Airport exit customs and follow the signs to the JR train station (this is on the second story). From there I would recommend going to the JR ticket office and buying a ticket to Shin-Osaka (this should be on the train called Haruka), and a ticket from there on to Shinkobe on a shinkansen (most likely Hikari). This might talke about 90 minutes, and cost about 1830 Yen plus moderate fees for various types of reserved or unreserved seats.
In general, for getting around in Japan by train (bus, subway or airplane, it is strongly recommended you refer to http://www.hyperdia.com This is a great site, but it does not like spaces or hyphens in station names (i.e., shin-kobe = shinkobe). It tells you the time needed to walk between trains to make a connection and provides maps of the area around stations.
Thus, if you are arriving in Nagoya or Tokyo, please use Hyperdia.com to plan your trip to the Shin-Kobe Shinkansen station.
If you are staying at a hotel in Shin-Osaka, make the trip from KIX (or elsewhere) to Shin-Kobe in stages. That is, first go to Shin-Osaka (about 50 minutes from KIX,and about 3180 Yen for a reserved seat) and go to your hotel. Then go back to the Shinkansen station at Shin-Osaka and go from there to Shin-Kobe (about 13 minutes, 1450 Yen).
If you are interested in learning a bit more about Kobe, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kobe