I have added information regarding hotels near the venue to the Moot page. I hope this helps.
Hotels near the venue
So, in which area do you think most people will be staying? Seems like Hamamatsu may be the place to stay but far from the venue. Kakegawa looks a little more convenient for the morning commute. Any advice appreciated, as I need to start making reservations tomorrow.
Thanks in advance
Hamamatsu is 21 or 22 minutes to Aino Station. Kakegawa is 4 minutes to Aino Stn. No matter where you choose to stay, I wouldn’t wait to reserve. Fwiw, Kakegawa is a very nice little city. The party will be held at Pan de Niq in Fukuroi. It’s 3 minutes directly north of Fukuroi Stn. Fukuroi’s night life is non existent.
I'm sure there are many that will be staying in Hamamatsu (myself included) - however I wouldn't waste the JR pass on commuting to the conference. If you have some time before or after, use the pass to travel to other parts of Japan. You will not "get your money's worth" out of the pass if you only use it to commute! For those that haven't booked hotels, you might like to be aware that the APA hotel group is quite famous in Japan for being owned by xenophobic people who have written materials, which they put in the hotels, that are trying to rewrite history.
Reporting here from the Speech, Drama and Debate conference in the APA Hotel in Sapporo. David Kluge and 20 other JALT members are having a great workshop with their families and enjoying the Snow Festival. They report no religious or political materials were in their rooms and that the hotel is full of Chinese tourists and even some Australian familes (!). They were not asked to show their resident cards (which I have no problem with anyway). In addition, they got a nice meeting room with projector, free shuttle to Susukino and Odori, and a family room for 11,000 yen per night at the height of the Snow Festival. I thought they made a good choice for what they tried to do--a "family-friendly" conference. There is a lot of misinformation about the APA hotel that needs to be corrected. I strongly agree we need to support open-minded hotels, not xenophobic ones. The actions of APA in Sapporo show an open-minded hotel to foreign visitors, especially to Chinese and JALT members.
If there are 10 of you, then if you can manage it, you can get 11 tickets for the price of 10 (ka-soo-ken) out of the ticket machines. The machines have an English settin for those who cannot understand Japanese.
While the owner of the APA is notorious, staff are likely to be regular Japanese folks. If one were to see his objectionable books, one could pick up a copy to find out. But do be careful, I hear a lot have been accidentally lost. Hamamatsu and — this area in general — is very welcoming.