I came across this article today on Huffington Post about 9 hour capsule hotels in Japan and I must say, I love the idea! The hotels are a simple concept, a 9 hour stay to help travelers to re-charge on their trips and at an effective cost. The hotels that have popped up in Kyoto are just $19 (USD) for a 9 hour stay, or even less if you rent them out by the hour, and some near Tokyo (Narita airport) are about $38 USD.
Travelers that use these hotels are able to store their luggage, get a robe and slippers, are able to shower with all the products and such needed, then they are able to go to their capsule and sleep for 7 hours. They’ve got free wi-fi, peace of mind knowing their stuff is in safe storage, and they can get some sleep. The concept is 1 hour of shower and unwinding then 7 hours sleep, then 1 more hour of getting up and dressed.
While its not a standard capsule hotel (they are slightly larger, have food venues, etc.) I think its a great concept for anyone traveling, both pleasure or business. Imagine your train arrived in Kyoto, you had a flight the next day out of Osaka, but were on a budget and needed a place to stay, what would you do? Head to the airport and try to sleep in the terminal? I think they have laws that don’t allow this. So instead, for just a few dollars, you can shower (not using a sink in the airport terminal to brush your teeth), and can sleep for several hours then make your way to the airport.
When I travel to Japan I won’t be staying in something like this or even the capsule hotel. I don’t like tight places very much and like the creature comforts of a western hotel (even though they will be smaller over there). However, if I was a traveler and knew about the 9 hour hotels, it would be something to take advantage of!