Experience: Staying in a Capsule Hotel

On my trip to Kyoto this past spring, I spent one night with a friend of mine. The other night, I wanted some cheap lodging – Saturday nights are notoriously pricey in Japan, as rates seem to hike up for that night alone. Luckily, I found an amazing deal online at 9 Hours, one of Kyoto’s capsule hotels.

I’ve long wanted to try a capsule hotel, but in many places they are still exclusively the domain of men. 9 Hours is for both men and women, though the floors are segregated by gender.

When you check in to the hotel, you leave your shoes in a locker in the foyer. The staff give you a key to a locker upstairs and the number of a capsule. There are two separate elevators at the back of the hotel – one is exclusively for women and the other is for men. As you need to use your key to activate the elevator, it’s nearly impossible to visit a floor you are not supposed to be on. If you have large luggage, it needs to be left downstairs. At least 30 suitcases lined the walls when I checked in.

The lobby of 9 Hours
The lobby of 9 Hours

Each guest is given a locker in the changing room/shower area. This is a good place to put your carry-on size luggage or your overnight gear or the towel that is given to you upon check-in. There is a long mirror here with several vanity sections as well as multiple shower stalls. The one I used in the morning had excellent water pressure and was very clean. I do recall seeing signs for a bath as well, which I am assuming was communal like in most Japanese hotels.

As for the capsules themselves, they were like something out of science fiction. The lights in the sleeping rooms remain off most of the time, though there is a small reading light in each capsule. The capsules are stacked one on top of the other so if you are short (as I am), you may want to request a bottom capsule. The numbers of the capsules were marked in paint on the floor and always highly visible, no matter the hour.

The rows of capsules
The rows of capsules

So was it comfortable? Eh, it wasn’t bad. The pillows were ok (quite large) but the capsules didn’t have any way of regulating their individual temperatures so I found it a bit sweaty. People did come and go throughout the night and the privacy shield, while dark, is not soundproof. Would I stay here again? Yeah, I think I would. It was comfortable enough and OH so very cheap with my deal.

My personal capsule for the night
My personal capsule for the night

9 Hours’ location is excellent, on Termachi Street just steps from Shijo-dori, the river, Pontocho and the Nishiki Market. Check out their website for more information and keep your eyes peeled for those deals!

2 thoughts on “Experience: Staying in a Capsule Hotel

Add yours

  1. I’ve been curious about these hotels! It sounds so efficient and well-managed! I’m sure it wasn’t the best night’s sleep due to the sweatiness! Good post!

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