First of all, I have always wanted to stay in a capsule hotel. In fact, rather morbidly, it’s why I don’t have a massive fear of dying. I’m perfectly okay sleeping on my own, preferably for long uninterrupted periods. I also don’t feel the need to take up much space. Anyway, if you have ever wanted to stay in one, I have the perfect starter for you: 9 Hours Capsule hotel in Kyoto. Bit of a trek if you are not nearby, but that’s not my problem. If you do happen to find yourself in the former capital of Japan (yes, it really was – would I lie to you?) then this is the place to be.
It’s true, there is a bit of protocol to adhere to but once you have done it, it makes total sense.
First off, ladies and gents sleep on different floors.
These are accessed by separate elevators. No funny business here.
If you simply can’t bear to be parted from snookums for one night, then forget this and try some 4 star bog standard place. No? Still with me? Good.
Okay, so, leave your shoes at the door. That’s not an expression, that’s a command. And basic Japanese etiquette. Frankly, I prefer not to drag street filth (though honestly in Japan this doesn’t exist on account of how immaculate the place is) in with me, so I applaud a hotel that insists on it.
You can put them in a shoe locker and then give the key to the friendly receptionist. And they are terribly friendly. If you’ve been in Japan longer than half an hour you’ll have worked that out by now.
Next, take your stuff up to the changing/cleaning floor. You will have a locker assigned to you at reception that corresponds to your sleeping pod (more on that in a bit).
In the locker you’ll find a pair of sleepwear, a toothbrush and a towel.
Take them out and chuck your bag in. Go to the shower and have a good scrub down.
The shower has a liquid soap, shampoo and conditioner dispenser, so don’t lug your personal toiletries in if you don’t mind using what’s on offer.
If you fancy it, the back of the shower has a second door that leads to a big tiled communal bath. Yes, everyone can use it, but remember that it’s a female only floor, so you can be safe in the knowledge there are no snakes in the pond. And (this is important) you don’t wash yourself in it so don’t be taking soap through, it’s purely for soaking, okay? All good.
Return to your shower, clean some more if you want, put those sleeping clothes on and exit back to the changing area. Here you have a bunch of hairdryers, mirrors and other shit that girls need to look fabulous.
Feeling tip top? Excellent, time for bed.
Chuck everything you don’t need in the locker. Take the key and head on up to your pod on the sleeping floors.
I was a bit worried about this because I thought it might be tiny, but no, you can sit up and blog as well as set your alarm and text (silent mode, natch!) to your other half in the floors above.
Next (and I’ll do this when I shut down the Macbook) hit the Sleep button. A light automatically comes on gently to rouse you with something approximating the morning sun (the light in other words) at your chosen time.
In the morning, grab your towel and have another soak if you like and get changed back into whatever you’re wearing on the outside world. Dump the used sleeping wear and towel in a bin.
And that is a truly modern capsule hotel. Like, if they were designed by Apple or something.
Cost? About 30 quid a head per night. Another reason to turn Japanese.