My mother and brother arrived in Japan the day after I arrived from the United States. So, instead of going back and forth to the airport, I spent a night at a Capsule Hotel to save money and effort. I’m glad I did; it was a whole new experience for me.
The world’s first capsule hotel was started in Osaka in 1979 with the idea of providing cheap accommodation without sacrificing comfort, and offering the same level of service as quality hotels. This particular type of “tiny” accommodation are like mushrooms not just in Japan but also in Europe and other parts of Asia.
Location and Check-in Process
Nine Hours (9H) Capsule Hotel is conveniently located in Terminal 2 of Narita Airport. It wasn’t difficult to find because of the signs pointing the way to the hotel.
The advertised price of 3,900 yen on their website hasn’t been updated; the lowest rate you can get is 4,900 yen and that should be booked online. For walk-ins like myself, they charge 5,900 yen. I think the receptionist expected my reaction; she immediately passed me a handkerchief to wipe the look of disbelief from my face. She recommended that I book online so I could avail of the lower rate – WHEW. That 5,900 yen would have defeated the purpose of my staying there to save on transportation costs.
Booking online is easy but the receptionist had to wait a few minutes for their system to update. When she received the confirmation, she gave me a paper to fill out and scanned my passport. After paying, she gave me the key for a locker, as well as a bag. The bag contained towels, slippers, a toothbrush and toothpaste, and a sleeping gown.
I took several photos after I placed my bag and luggage in the locker. After that, I put my slippers on and looked for my sleeping pod but instead found the toilets, vanity area, showers, and more showers. The shower was pleasantly nice and clean, and was my favorite part after a 13-hour long flight from Detroit. Their body soap miraculously removed all the blackheads on my nose.
I loved it – everything was neat and spotless. Walking through the rooms made me feel like I was in the future. It reminded me of Fifteen Million Merits episode of Black Mirror (Please watch this mind-boggling TV series).
The “Sleep Pods” (Capsules)
“Holy smokes,” I said to myself, “this is so cool!” When it was time to sleep, I felt like I was going to be in hibernation for 20 years aboard some spaceship.
The inside of the capsule is very simple, but it was actually more spacious than I thought it would be. There’s one outlet for you to use and a light switch. If you want to listen to some relaxing background music, there’s an option to listen to the sound of waves as you sleep.
This was the sleeping gown by the way. Surprisingly, it’s very comfortable to sleep in. When I went to the locker to get my charger, I found myself with other guests wearing the same thing. That moment though – lol.
More selfie, of course! By the way, the capsule is spacious than I thought it would be.
Final Words and Sleep Quality
I slept very comfortably that night and found that the pillow and mattress were better than those in other hotels I’ve stayed at.
For privacy, each capsule has top-down blinds. Disclaimer: it is not sound proof. Don’t go freely signing or farting in the night. Unfortunately for me, or rather the people in pods next to me, I couldn’t hold it in (blame the food!). Although it might have been a loud enough for other guests to hear, they were odorless (thankfully) – because there’s nothing like being stuck in a small space with your stinky fart.
I highly recommend staying at a capsule hotel when you visit Japan. The 9H Capsule Hotel in Narita Airport is very good; I believe they have one in Kyoto as well.