Nine Hours, a capsule hotel in Japan famed for its sci-fi, futuristic and minimal design. I was considering capsule hotel when I was doing research about accommodation in Kyoto. Since capsule hotel is quite a common sight in Japan, I decided to embark on my very first capsule hotel stay in Kyoto. It happened to be that my dear travel mates were leaving one night earlier than me; I thought that could be the best opportunity to spend my last night in Kyoto at somewhere unconventional.
So I booked one sleep pod with Nine Hours Kyoto and spent a night over. The hotel is located right at the busiest streets of Gion (nearest station Karawamachi河源町/Shijo四条), where girls shop ’til they drop. It is also a 20 minutes bus ride away from Kyoto station. I would say it is very accessible in terms of transportation.
Check-in starts at 12 noon. As I planned to check out Kibune Shrine in the north of Kyoto during the day, I could only check into the hotel when the night falls. Luckily the hotel offers its guests to leave baggage with them in the early morning and come back to check-in at night. I am sure many of you are interested to know how is it like sleeping in the small quarters and how does the whole system work. So continue reading!
First, take off your shoes and put on the slippers and proceed to the counter. After check-in, you’ll be given two sets of keys. The shoebox key, and the locker key. Store your shoes in the shoe box and here we go checking out the luggage storage section.
Further into the lobby is a lounge where you can enjoy high-speed Internet and socialize with other guests if you want. Right opposite the lounge is the luggage storage, where you can store bigger carriers. Just for your information, the locker you are given upstairs only fits ONE carrier (up to 24 inches). If you have a huge backpack, you may have to leave your carrier downstairs and only carry your backpack upstairs.
This is how the lobby looked like when I checked in. By the way, many of the capsule hotels in Japan cater traditionally for businessmen. Some of the trendiest capsule hotels in Japan, however, aim business opportunity for both sexes.
One thing I love about the hotel is that other than offering accommodation for male and female guests separately, they even go extra miles in providing a separate elevator for female guests! A very thoughtful gesture to keep their female solo traveler’s mind at ease!
Separate facilities are provided for both sexes in the hotel. The ladies will be using level 2-5, while gentlemen will be using level 6-9. Simple and clean.
So here we are at level 3. Basically, other than sleeping, you do everything else you would do in a conventional hotel here at the level 3. Restrooms, Lockers, Showers, Washroom and Sauna are all provided here at level 3. Just lock your belongings into the locker and have a happy bath time! Tooth paste, tooth brush, hair dryer and sleeping gown are provided as well!
Here am I donning the gray sci-fi sleeping gown I was talking about earlier. It is quite a memorable sight here at the washroom as you see every guest is wearing the same thing. Under the minimalistic background, everything including the atmosphere is just so futuristic, like a film set for the movie Matrix.
After you are done with your sauna and shower, you can proceed to your sleeping pod. Mine is located at level 5. The sleeping pods is stacked into two levels. These pods do look like a bee hive or some MRI scanning machines or time travel machines appeared in science fiction movies.
The pod that I stayed for a night. Guests are supposed to rest here so please refrain from talking whenever you are in the sleeping pod. I got the lower level pod and crawl into it. It is way bigger than I expected, which is a pleasant surprise. I can sit up straight inside the pod without bumping my head to the ceiling.
Some of my friends ask if it is “open display” while you’re taking a rest? kkkkkk Once you’re inside, you can pull down the blind and enjoy your privacy. However, do remember that the walls are not as thick as a real wall so do not forget to carry courtesy. The bed and pillow are very comfortable. I have my backpack with me throughout the night and didn’t find the place cramp at all.
Another interesting facility of the hotel is their intelligent sleep ambient control system. Once you set your desired wake up time, the system will adjust the lighting in your pod to help you sleep. When it is about time for you to wake up, the system supports your sleep-wake rhythm and prepare the best lighting to aid you in getting up.
Verdict: No doubt it is one of the more expensive places I pay for my trip (5,600 yen including tax. ) but I would say it is totally worth the experience. What I like most about the place are their system and facilities. Their sleeping pods are bigger than I imagine as well. Super innovative sleeping and wake up technology. A great way to end my trip!
9hrs Nine Hours Kyoto (click me)
Japan, 〒600-8031 京都府京都市下京区貞安前之町 下京区寺町通四条下る貞安前之町588
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