The other weekend we went to a Wedding Party in Kyoto, so we decided to make a weekend of it, we soon ran into a problem – all the hotels and hostels we looked at were fully booked! As it was just for one night we decided to search for capsule hotels and found 9 hours . It looked good and in a central location, even better, booking through their website meant one night only cost ¥1800!
It was my first time staying in a capsule hotel, as they are separated men and women, and often are just men only places. I mostly travel with my husband so it’s not so great for us.
We checked in about 7pm, I got changed left my bags in a locker on the 3rd floor and then we went out.
The locker and shower floor.
We returned a little later than anticipated (6am!) but the reception was still open, I went to the locker floor, washed up, changed and then went to my pod. It was quiet, there was minimal lighting but just enough so I could see and didn’t disturb anyone. I climbed up, pulled down my blind and went to sleep.
Check out for everyone was 10am, even if you are staying another night, you have to check out and then back in. About ten minutes before check out there was an announcement over the speakers to warn us. I just made it! I left my bags in storage and went out for coffee and sightseeing.
Capsule versus Hostel Dorm:
I really enjoyed my (brief) stay in the capsule hotel. The airport vibe of the place was really cool, it was clean and the staff English speaking and helpful. I liked how you had a locker and a floor for changing, showering, and putting on make up. They had hair dryers and nice toiletries too, I kept sniffing my husbands hair as it smelt really nice. Also the shower was so powerful I nearly soaked all my clothes when I turned it on. Towels, pjs, toothbrushes and slippers were all provided free of charge.
The pod floor was just for sleeping, the lights were always dimmed and there were no windows. Compared to a hostel dorm it was much more comfortable and private. I always end up sleeping with my bag on the end of my bed in a dorm, and getting dressed in the small toilet or on my bunk which is awkward. People seem afraid to turn off the lights in dorms and so the lights stay on until 1-2am, then in the morning you have to try and get dressed and packed quietly in the dark. The pods were big enough to sprawl out in or sit up in, I had plenty of leg room too. There was only one socket to charge my items and with a camera, pocket wifi and iPad it wasn’t too great but I managed to juice up my wifi and recharge my iPad a little.
I found the capsule hotel to be more convenient for short term stays compared to dorms in hostels. It was quiet, private and comfortable. The amenities were well thought out and the staff very polite and helpful. As we got the special price of ¥1800 it was great value too (dorms are usually around ¥2500) but I’m not sure Id pay ¥4000+ for it. I would recommend it to single travellers or small groups of friends for a night or two. It’s an experience to be had in Japan even if you end up hating it!