Kyoto Capsule Hotel – Capsule hotels, accommodation styles where you basically rent out and sleep in a small pod area with only the essentials, have always been a part of Japanese modern culture. It’s an affordable respite away from home for the salarymen who’ve had too much to drink and need a place to crash for the remainder of the night and early hours of the morning when transport systems have stopped working; it’s the go-to for party-goers in Japan who know they won’t make it home and require only the bare necessities to get through the night; and now, it’s becoming increasingly common for travelers who are on a budget and just want a bed to sleep on at night at a cheap price or those who are after a unique-to-Japan accommodation experience that’s both exciting and convenient.
The idea may have begun its roots as quite basic, but in recent years it has blossomed into so much more as a number of areas across Japan continue to reinvent the wheel and offer capsule hotel accommodation cheaper, smaller, more luxurious, more basic, themed – any time of variation you can think of, they’re bound to have thought of it.
Kyoto is a region that’s essentially all about history and culture, as evident in the number of revered shrines, temples, castles, and of course, ryokans (Japanese inns) within the region. However, staying in an authentic ryokan is likely to come at a high price. If you’re on a budget, instead of taking the normal route of booking a hotel, why not try sleeping in capsules instead? Below we’ve gone over the basics of staying in a capsule hotel and listed 5 unique capsule hotels you should consider during your trip.
Kyoto Capsule Hotel – A Brief Guide
As you can imagine, staying at a capsule hotel has slightly different norms and expectations than staying at a normal hotel. We’ve covered some of the main differences so that you have an idea about what to do when you arrive at one.
- Take Off Your Shoes – Most capsule hotels will request that you take off your shoes in the front lobby and place them into a locker. You will then walk around the hotel using the the indoor slippers provided.
- Key For Storage – You will be given a key at check-in which will be for the locker that you store your luggage in. The number for the key typically responds to the number of your capsule for ease.
- Bathing – most capsules will have at least two communal bath areas, separated by genders.
- Capsules Etiquette – The space of most capsules are small, and there is at least a dozen per room right next to each other, so try not to make too much noise going in and out of the capsules. Some hotels instill a curfew as to when people can last enter the hotel and thus their capsules. Most capsules will have a curtain for privacy when you go to sleep, and the walls are usually sound-proof, so you can watch your TV (albeit on low/mid volume) at ease.
- Check Out – Checking out is a typical process: simply gather your belongings, change out of the hotel’s gear, and return the key. Sometimes, if you’re staying over multiple days, they’ll ask you to check out every day so that they can clean the entire room, and then check in again, but they’ll explain it to you during check-in.
Kyoto Capsule Hotel – 9 Hours Kyoto
9 Hours is easily one of the most iconic brands of capsule hotels in all of Japan, and the Kyoto branch might just be one of the most popular. The hotel offers a futuristic theme throughout its complex, with spaceship-like lit cubicles to sleep in, clean and modern amenities (always kept spick and span), and a great location to boot (it’s close to JR Kyoto Station, Yasaka Shrine, Nishiki Market and Kodai-ji Temple, and there is a convenient store literally a few steps outside).
All capsules at this hotel include basic yet state-of-the-art features such as a light-based alarm clock, unique pillows, and high-grade linen, with robes and slippers provided. For couples, capsule hotels may not be a great option as they separate men and women on separate floors, however, for the experience alone, we reckon one night here wouldn’t hurt! If you book a two-capsule room at 9 hours Kyoto, you will be given two beds next to each other (but only if you’re the same gender).
Why Guests Love It: “Great location. Close to bus station and metro. Convenience store 15-seconds away. Everything was clean. Sleeping clothes included. They stored my backpack even before check-in, and gave me an umbrella for the day as it was raining.”, “The best element of 9 Hours was the capsule itself, it’s unlike any other capsule hotel I’ve been in. Utterly comfortable, meditative, and relaxing; also the most comfortable nightwear I have ever worn.”
Price: from 3,200 yen (29$) for 1 person/night
Book It Now: 9 Hours Kyoto
First Cabin has held high ratings in the capsule realm in Kyoto for as long as its been in existence. The best thing about this hotel is that in no part of the hotel is quality nor cleanliness skimped – it is always maintained at the highest level possible, with such acts as having towels and bed sheets cleaned everyday, providing service items such as hair curlers and straighteners, making sure you don’t need to pay extra for things like toothbrushes and razors, and, most surprisingly (especially for the prices that the capsules at this hotel go for), their skincare and hair product range are branded Japanese household names. Not only that, but there is also a hot spring spa that you get to relax in everyday after some sight-seeing – it’s one of the most raved on about features of this hotel!
Regardless of whether you go for the economy, standard, or superior capsule, all rooms feature a flat-screen TV. Even the smallest option, the economy, gives you ample space to move around and get comfortable, and whilst those who are claustrophobic may find the idea of sleeping in a pod a little nerve-wrecking, the sizes of these are larger than average, making it seem more like a small room as opposed to a pod. The superior capsules are wonderfully compact whilst still providing enough space to comfortable walk around and store some of your things. The choice of room is up to you!
Why Guests Love It: “Incredible place! I was especially thankful for the onsen available at the property – a perfect end to an exhausting day which I’m sure every tourist will appreciate. The bathroom facilities were fantastic, the bed and the extra amenities like towels and pajamas were very handy.”, “I can barely find anything wrong with this hotel. It was right next to the train station. The best thing I found about this hotel is that it offered the traditional spa but with the added privacy of walls between each individual shower. Lounge area was well-decorated and clean, and the toilets were very cool too.”
Price: from 4,320 yen (39$) for 1 person/night
Book It Now: First Cabin Kyoto Arashiyama
For your information, if you want to save a lot of yens in Japan, make sure you check out this blog post: Travel to Japan on a Budget.
Kyoto Capsule Hotel – Glansit Kyoto Kawaramachi
Whilst many capsule hotels appeal through their futuristic, predominantly white aesthetics and sparkling cleanliness, Glansit Kyoto Kawaramachi takes a different route (still clean though, very, very clean). Its interiors take on a sleek dark theme, making you feel like you’re residing in a rich manor more than anything else. Wooden theming is also present throughout the accommodation, creating a stylish yet homey environment where you can look forward to a comfortable and relaxing stay after a long day of exploring.
Within every pod, there is a flat-screen TV, a power port and a USB port, and you will be provided with sleepwear and slippers, with free toiletries available in the shared (super clean) bathroom. Trust us when we say: they’ve thought of everything. They’ve even thought of the struggles females usually have to having to wipe off make-up after being outside all day and provided make-up cleansing oil for convenience! How thoughtful. There’s also a coffee machine in-house with flavoured syrups for you to make your own coffee concoction – this is budget luxury capsule living at its finest.
Why Guests Love It: “All the employees are kind. The facilities are good. Prices are cheap. Location is very good. Subway and bus access is good. I enjoyed the quiet music in the lobby, it was like a Zen centre atmosphere.”, “It is the best! It is very close to Kawaramachi Station! I slept well! Staff are friendly too!”, “The hotel is new. The staff was completely kind and helpful. Everything was always clean and in place.”
Price: from 5,300 yen (47$) per person/night
Book It Now: Glansit Kyoto Kawaramachi
The name says it all: this capsule hotel has everything the current millennial needs for the optimum stay at an incredible price. Imagine the likes of a modern hotel with completely minimalistic décor (just think about those pictures for Instagram you could capture), a mattress that’s so thick and fluffy it’s like you’re sleeping on a cloud every night, and a games room that’s got the latest and greatest entertainment, comfortable furniture and so much space to just lay around and do nothing, you’d almost never want to leave.
Now, after reading the above, you’re probably thinking, well, it’s not really that different to some of the other top-notch capsule hotels in Kyoto – they all offer superb features so it’s hard to outrank each other, but the Millennials definitely take it’s a step further.
For example, their beds are remote-controlled. When laid out flat, they take up the entire space of the small pod that you rent. However, with the click of a button, you’re able to recline the bed up so that it becomes a sofa, opening up some space within the pod so that you are able to move around and also access the surprisingly large storage space underneath the bed.
Another reason why The Millennials is a standout (and this is probably the weightiest reason) is because everyday, from 5:30pm until 6:30pm, their in-house bar offers free beer on-tap, which you can pour yourself. I mean, can this place get anymore perfect?
Innovative technology, sound engineering, timeless décor, convenient location – if capsule hotels had their own star rating, this would be a 5-star, no doubt about it.
Why Guests Love It: “Super convenient, clean and quite. Friendly staff. Beds are plush!”, “I absolutely enjoyed my stay. We booked for one night but ended up booking another as we wanted to fully enjoy this experience. Fantastic design. Loved the happy hour. Who doesn’t love free beer?”, “Loved the spacious storage underneath the bed, the wake up feature, the shelf above the bed, and shower facilities were great! Also liked that there was a tub, laundry, and steamers to use.”, “A must-stay in Kyoto for young travelers!”.
Price: from 5,738 yen (51$) for 1 person/night
Book It Now: The Millennials
Kyoto Capsule Hotel – Centurion Cabin and Spa Kyoto
Located smack-bang in the middle of the city, close to many train stations, restaurants and shops – this is the key feature of Centurion Cabin and Spa. However, if you expected this to be an ultra-modern hotel with sterile décor and no human touches, you’d be wrong. Out of this entire list, it is this hotel that displays the most artistic Japanese elements throughout their interior, something that many visitors in the past have praised and appreciated.
There is so much character presented throughout this hotel, from certain pod rooms having sliding doors with intricate Japanese artworks and carvings, to most pods have a small lantern fixated next to their openings, always allowing a soft warm glow to light up the room. For those who are after an extra bit of T&C, there is a public spa here’s that’s accessible for free to all guests at the hotel. It’s a radium hot spring bath, and it’s the perfect space to relax after a full day of exploring the city. It’s maintained regularly by staff so it’s always clean, and the room itself has tasteful artworks paying homage to the Japanese culture and history.
Why Guests Love It: “Immaculate and beautifully presented. It felt as though no expenses were spared. Beautiful onsen and sauna area, with all toiletries included?! Perfect location for a wander around the markets and easy to find from the train station.”, “As a first-timer to Kyoto, the staff were excellent to deal with and the location was ideal. Central to everything a tourist would want.”, “Top notch facilities, strategic location, comfortable and stylish bed.”
Price: from 4,800 yen (43$) for 1 person/night
Book It Now: Centurion Cabin and Spa Kyoto
We hope we’ve assisted in opening your eyes to the unique accommodation options available in Kyoto – it’s not always about the ryokans and hotels! Even if you’ve got money to blow, staying in one of these capsule hotels is an eye-opening experience as to how the Japanese are just so well-versed in being able to make maximum use of their small spaces. Once you head back home, you’ll realize just how much space you take for granted!