After arriving at Narita International Airport in Tokyo, you quickly push your way through the throngs of tired travelers to Terminal 2. As you make your way down the escalator, you immediately see the neutral yet bright interior of the main lobby at Nine Hours (9h) capsule hotel.Upon check-in, you quietly tiptoe your way through the dimly lit hallway, passing by a line of modern and sleek capsules that are neatly stacked one on top of the other.
Although situated in one of the busiest airports in Japan, Nine Hours provides a quiet and cozy space perfectly fit to accommodate travelers.
Capsule hotels have grown extremely popular in the past few years. According to an article by Forbes, the compound annual growth rate of capsule hotels are said to grow by 6.03 percent from 2016 to the end of 2022; its market is also said to reach $226 million USD in 2022 from $156 million USD in 2016.
Capsule hotels are known for their futuristic and luxurious style, private enclosed beds or capsules, and affordable prices. Like hostels, their bathrooms and locker rooms are usually communal.
Although I had watched numerous videos on YouTube and read various articles online positively reviewing capsule hotels in Japan, I must admit I was skeptical at first. How comfortable would the capsules be? How much room would I have? Would the communal bathrooms and locker rooms be clean?
Upon arriving at Nine Hours, I was pleasantly surprised.
Nine Hours is divided into two sections, providing separate facilities for both men and women.
Customers are welcomed to stay in the hotel for up to nine hours (hence the name) , and are given clean pajamas, towels, slippers and toothbrushes along with full access to the lockers and sleeping pods upon check-in. They can choose to pay $4,900 yen ($1,400 NT) per night, or $1,500 yen ($430 NT) for an hour and $500 yen ($140 NT) for every additional hour in the hotel.
The capsules were extremely clean and spacious; they measured at 110 centimeters wide, 220 centimeters deep, and 110 centimeters tall. The design was also very sleek and elegant. The capsules definitely took me by surprise, as I had expected them to be small.
However, after staying overnight in one of the capsules, I felt like I had more than enough room. Although the capsules did not have any doors, plastic blinds were provided instead. A downside of this, however, was that there was not a lot of privacy, and there was no way to block out noise.
Furthermore, the bathrooms were immaculate. With its bright white lights, large modern mirrors and wide sinks, the bathroom provided a nice contrast against the dark sleeping area. The shower stalls were also spacious, and shampoo, conditioner and body soap were also provided.
Although the white wooden lockers on the other side of the bathrooms were tall, they were too small to fit all of my belongings in the locker.
Overall, the capsules and bathrooms were both clean and spacious, but the lack of privacy and space to store belongings made it slightly less convenient than a normal hotel.
Nonetheless, with its minimalist yet modern design this hotel would be perfect for any single travelers looking for an affordable and comfy place to stay.