Japan’s simplistic lifestyle can be useful – perhaps necessary – when in the nation’s bustling cities. For overnight travelers or layover victims there’s now a capsule hotel to fit your overnight needs with luxurious simplicity. It’s made it onto the trend boards – so you now have the excuse you’ve been waiting for to try capsule living. It’s called 9H and can be found in Kyoto or inside the Narita Airport in Tokyo. This luxury capsule hotel is offering a concept that could go mainstream. 9H is short for Nine Hours and is described pretty accurately by the title alone.
The ‘nine hours’ at 9H translates to one hour of shower, seven hours of sleep, then one hour of rest and morning ritual. On their website they compare themselves to water vessels, where hotels are ripple-waking cruise ships and the luxury capsule is a smooth sailing cruiser. The typical non-luxury capsule hotel might be a wooden leak-prone fishing craft – but that’s beside the point.
The break-out concept here is that when you’re in the city your place of sleep shouldn’t distract from your involvement in experiencing the city. It keeps the ‘crash pad’ idea of capsule hotels with the extension of luxury that makes for a restful night. The introduction of capsule hotels has been a success in Japan’s cities, especially since space is one of the most valuable commodities. Usually capsule hotels are known for being poorly maintained and very uncomfortable. Have we found a reliable option for short-term travelers at last? One major point in favor of 9H for western travelers is space. Namely length. Yes, at 9h you’ll actually fit the mattress.
- 9H respects the different genders by providing different hotels for boys and girls.
- A one-body-per-capsule rule is non-negotiable.
- At check-in you’ll get a locker key and pod key.
- The pod comes furnished with a towel, toothbrush, toothpaste, robe, slippers and of course the automated ambiance that Japan is known for.
- The locker and lounge rooms are spacious and clean.
- Eating, drinking, and web browsing is done outside the pod in the lounge area. The pod is for sleep.
The most notable downside for 9H is that those staying there must be practitioners of the simplistic lifestyle 9H accommodates. That means luggage… or the absence thereof. The 9H concept is cool for those who only have a briefcase to carry around with them during the day. Having to lug anything more than that through already crowded streets makes the extra price tag for 24h hotel room look very appealing.
Japan is a metropolis for the strange and innovative. Other things to make it into web and blog buzz (and how could they not?!) include night ‘hosts’, virtual dating, themed love hotels, cosplay dates, cat cafes and more. Aside from cat cafes, none of these odd concepts are really trending – but they are certainly worth a double-take. Be sure to check a few of them out for some extra cultural envelopment. In terms of accommodation, you might be surprised by super tech toilets and showers if you’re a first time Japan visitor. There’s no english manual, usually, so factor in about 30 minutes out of the 9H to dedicated towards deciphering the shower label.
(Photos from 9h nine hours)