Capsule hotels are eternally fascinating to all who visit Japan. Their compact size, cheap prices, and spaceship-bunk-like nature seem quite bizarre to most people who have never had the pleasure of spending a few weeks in a submarine. While most of us want the largest hotel room money can buy, a capsule hotel literally crams people into the tiniest space available, while offering some incredible conveniences.
But when visiting Japan, there’s lots to see and do, so it’s easy to forget about checking yourself into a capsule. Fortunately, you’ll soon be able to find out what it’s like to be stuffed in a tube even at the airport!
We were saddened to hear that Nine Hours, one of the coolest and best-realized capsule hotels ever made was closing its doors late last year. With its sleek lines, space-age looks, and minimalist form, it was everything a capsule hotel should be, and not at all like the grim, yellowing plastic mortuaries built in the 80s. Fortunately, the hotel has since reopened in an updated form, but that doesn’t help those who are staying in the Kanto region.
So we were thrilled to hear that the company is launching a new capsule hotel right where anyone and everyone flying in and out of Tokyo can use it – at the airport!
We have to admit that this is such a brilliant idea we don’t know why no one tried it sooner. Have an early or late flight or a long layover? Wouldn’t it be great to take a nap with some privacy instead of falling asleep next to a family with three screaming kids in one of those infuriatingly uncomfortable airport chairs? You bet it would! And Nine Hours is here to help.
On July 20, a new capsule hotel will be open in Narita airport for all exhausted travelers. Operating 24 hours a day, the hotel will also have showers available, so harried businessfolk can wash the stench of airplane off before running to a meeting. For those staying over night, a “room” is 3,900 yen (about US$40) and if you’re just looking to grab a nap during the day, you’ll pay 1,500 yen (about $15) for the first hour and 500 yen (roughly $5) for each additional hour. You can even hop in the shower for an hour for 1,000 yen (around $10), though use of the shower is free for those checking in to sleep.
Unfortunately, it looks like you’ll need to leave security to get to the sardines-in-can hotel–it’s located underground, below the parking lot in Terminal 2. On the other hand, reservations can be made over the phone, through their website, or via email and you can check in whenever you like.
Nine Hours have 129 rooms planned–71 for men and 58 for women–and 16 showers, with nine for women and seven for men.
They’ll start taking bookings on April 28, and the first 50 people to reserve a room for each day between July 20 and July 31 will get a discounted price. So if you’re visiting Japan and thinking, “Oh, we never got to stay in one of those cool capsules hotels!” while taking the train to the airport to catch your flight home, then all is not lost!
Now if only they could figure out some sort of robotic room service too. Maybe that would have kept Karl Pilkington happy.