If you ever travel to #japan, one of the must do things you have to do is to sleep at least one night at the world famous Capsule Hotels. What’s that?
Capsule Hotel (カプセルホテル kapuseru hoteru), as its name describes it, is a kind of hotel where instead of having standard rooms it has “capsules” (a bed size compartment -usually plastic-) where you can have a nap or a full overnight sleep. The concept was originally thought for those commuters that lose their last train home or that even would decide to stay downtown to save time and money commuting one or other day. They are usually located close to busy train stations or transport nodes downtown the city to make it convenient for clients.
The one I’ve visited is located in downtown Kyoto, but is more tourist oriented as I see it (high design, few locals) close to Hankyu Kawaramachi Station (2 min on foot). It’s modern and fancy design makes it look like a spaceship or a dorm on “Brave New World” of the Deltas -if you were by chance wearing khakis. Being a japanese concept, everything is planned and organized at the detail. First, following japanese tradition, you would need to leave your shoes at the front desk, they will assign you a locker there in the lobby for your luggage and give you an electronic key. There are different floors based on gender with their respective common bathroom, which are only accessible by different elevators, which had their specific access card. So, if you are travelling with someone of the opposite gender, you would have to say Oyasuminasai! (“good night!”) at the elevators access /lobby/ and see her/him the following day.
The rooms had a lot of capsules stacked like racks in two levels with little stairs. It’s really like you are in the outer space (well, I’ve never been out of earth, but you got the idea). The capsules are one besides the other but the silence is absolute. (Have you ever heard a cell phone in public transport in Japan?! Well, that’s japanese respect for silence). The numbers on the floor indicate the capsule number and inside your capsule, you will find a mattress, a kind of small pillow, and a clock that allows you to program lights going off slowly in a count down that would hep you get in the mood to sleep and to set the alarm to wake up in the morning. This is a LIGHT alarm, so no noise will be heard.
A couple of tips:
- Book in advance if you can, one/two nights is ideal to have the experience.
- Preferably book during weekdays night. During weekend local people uses it the most as they go out and stay downtown at capsule hotel to avoid going back home at late hours. :=)
- Be open minded to enjoy the capsule and its little mattress. Be aware you will be in a shared room but without “sharing” space.
The bathroom are shared too, but everything impeccable clean and tidy, with several showers with doors (I guess there were 10 of them) and even a bath tube. So you can choose. The showers have a back door to another corridor, at the end of it you can find a big bath tube more like a huge Jacuzzi. Actually it’s primary use looks like to relax and not to use it to take a bath, as the water is crystal. At the showers, you have all the toiletries you may need, there on the shower, plus a bathrobe and towels on your own locker. Everything has been thought at the minimum detail.
The experience was great and besides it was our first night in Japan after a travel flight of more than 27 hours, we really rest and recover energies on those little capsules.
Planning a trip to #Japan? Well, now you have one additional “To Do” on your list!