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9 hrs.
September 6, 2011 3:58 PM   Subscribe

Nine Hours is an ultra-modern capsule hotel in Kyoto, Japan.
posted by lemuring (57 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
This looks pretty cool.

Just make sure to check for street samurai before climbing into your capsule.
posted by curious nu at 4:08 PM on September 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


No gentlemen allowed on the ladies' floor, eh?

Well, good think I'm not gentleman! HOO-AHH
posted by cmoj at 4:08 PM on September 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Required reading on capsule hotels by MeFi's own stavrosthewonderchicken.
posted by Phatty Lumpkin at 4:17 PM on September 6, 2011 [12 favorites]


I've stayed in capsule hotels. It's only fun if you are drunk. If not, it's just depressing. The bath is lukewarm and it's usually pretty dirty because a lot of people have used it. Many of the people staying at these hotels are borderline homeless, which is depressing. The whole place smells like cigarette smoke, and all you can hear are snores and farts. People start drinking in the morning in the cafeteria.

Actually, about a year ago I stayed at a "sauna" near the Yaizu exit of Tokyo Station, and it was also kind of gross, but the great thing was that it was built above a natural hot spring, so the bath was pretty nice (and pretty clean). Saunas are a little different than capsules, as there is no individual space. Instead, people sleep on little sofas and reclining chairs. But once again, there is the ever-present smell of cigarette smoke and booze.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:33 PM on September 6, 2011 [7 favorites]


The designer who is interviewed in the second YT clip says they were trying to counter the negative image of capsule hotel in Japan - all I can say is whenever I told anybody that I had stayed at a capsule, they looked at me with a combination of concern and shock.

Capsules typically cost about 4500 yen (the equivalent of $45) a night. Theoretically it's possible to stay at a budget "business" hotel for about 7000 yen a night, and, besides the stigma associated with capsules, the benefit is a bit more space. It's a real pain in the ass at a capsule to have to change out of your shoes at the door, shove your belongings into a tiny locker, and then change into capsule "pyjamas".
posted by KokuRyu at 4:42 PM on September 6, 2011


I would kind of like something like this in the cities where I have professional conferences. When I use the hotel room pretty much just to sleep and clean up, playing maybe $150-200/night seems a bit much.... On the other hand KokuRyu raises some really good points.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:44 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Presumably, these places can double as morgues in a crisis.
posted by crunchland at 4:44 PM on September 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


When people say these are terrible I believe them, but so were youth hostels and those seemed so... strangely desirable, at the time. Basically I want to experience the capsule hotel ennui first hand.
posted by GuyZero at 4:46 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I should've added this person's 9hrs. hotel experience to the post. I didn't realize how different it is from a normal capsule hotel experience.
posted by lemuring at 4:49 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would totally stay at one of these - but since I almost always travel with my opposite sex SO, the gender segregation would be a problem. We've stayed in hostels in both private and public rooms together - also with friends of both sexes.
posted by jb at 4:49 PM on September 6, 2011


Make it 12hrs and you've got me.
posted by jnnla at 4:54 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Eh, stayed in these a few times and treated it as an adventure. Yeah, the missus had to stay on a separate (locked) floor, but no biggie. I don't find ryokans to be my taste, either, but I didn't go to Japan to not experience something different. It was fun.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:59 PM on September 6, 2011


Great piece by stavros.
posted by jayder at 4:59 PM on September 6, 2011


Basically I want to experience the capsule hotel ennui first hand.

You could shut yourself in a large drawer and read mid-period Murakami novels by flashlight. That would get you better than halfway there.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:00 PM on September 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


The reason capsule hotels are gender segregated (as opposed to foreigner-oriented hostels) is because most of the men staying there are stinking drunk and likely to get naked on the way to their beds, and certainly harass any women they see. It's not meant to be a tourist experience, although the one I stayed at did have English signboards to clarify the rules for foreigners.

As KokuRyu said, these hotels are best enjoyed when you yourself just got utterly trashed and finding your way back to the hotel was a spiritual experience.
posted by shii at 5:00 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Neat. I'll have to look for it when I'm up in Kyoto again. I stayed in a capsule hotel in Kobe once, and while it wasn't horrible, it wasn't something I would like to do all the time. As sexy as the video is trying to make it, these places are purely utilitarian, so your expectations should be low when you go. Unless that's what you're expecting, in which case, have at it....
posted by MShades at 5:04 PM on September 6, 2011


Required reading on capsule hotels by MeFi's own stavrosthewonderchicken.

Hah. I was coming in here to tell (or link to) that story.

I loved that place -- it was clean, well-lit and generally salubrious -- but it may have been the exception rather than the rule.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:06 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I'll be in my capsule..."
posted by clavdivs at 5:08 PM on September 6, 2011


Having personally corresponded with Tyler Brule, I would like to see Mr. Brule stay in this hotel.
posted by parmanparman at 5:08 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


You could shut yourself in a large drawer and read mid-period Murakami novels by flashlight. That would get you better than halfway there.

What do you do in a capsule hotel when you wake up with Norwegian Wood? That would be awkward.
posted by GuyZero at 5:13 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Washrooms are communal and some hotels include restaurants (or at least vending machines), pools, and other entertainment facilities.[1]

WHAT NO SUICIDE BOOTH??
posted by indubitable at 5:19 PM on September 6, 2011


Only on one occasion have i stayed at a capsule hotel, and, yeah, it was fairly depressing. But this place looks good. I'd stay there if I needed a capsule hotel, for sure.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:22 PM on September 6, 2011


Looks like it'd be more fun back in my college days.

Or my larval stage.
posted by hal9k at 5:34 PM on September 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


This post led me to find Yotel, a sort of double size capsule hotel, in a couple of airports in Europe and New York. I cannot tell you how much I wish I'd known about them before and how they're needed in the couple of overseas airports I've had long layovers in. How nice would that be, a 7 hour layover but you've got a real bed to snooze the time away, instead of trying to nap on those redonkulous chairs in the terminals?

As far as capsule hotels go, I've only had to spend one night in one and tbh, I didn't really think it was that bad. I wouldn't have had a problems spending a couple of nights at one. Maybe I just got lucky. The only issues I had was that the luggage locker I was assigned was not big enough for my two suitcases, but that was solved by the friendly desk clerk who offered to store them behind the counter for me. The other problem was the same I'd faced all over Japan, size 13 feet are simply not going to get slippers. But I was prepared and brought my own to trundle off to the bathroom. No issues with cigarette odors, at least compared to almost every other Japanese hotel I'd stayed at. No issues with noise from my neighbors, I slept rather well, even in a space that I thought might trigger my minor claustrophobia. Capsule hotels might not be everybody's cup of ocha but I think they're something that really should be experienced at least once.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 5:35 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


What do you do in a capsule hotel when you wake up with Norwegian Wood?

You crawl off to sleep in the bath.
posted by hal9k at 5:39 PM on September 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


They look cozy. Can I get a capsule to sleep in at home?
posted by Jode at 5:43 PM on September 6, 2011


gender segregation

I can see why, but I'm surprised they don't have a couples floor. It wouldn't be a dull night. Fun if you'd like all the discomforts of camping without leaving town.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 5:46 PM on September 6, 2011


[freakflagflying] It's my ultimate fantasy to get a job as a salaryman in Japan. I live in the suburbs and take the train into the big city. (read manga on the way)I work 16 hours a day go out for drinks with colleagues. Finally, stumble into a capsule hotel late at night. Lather rinse repeat.[/freakflagflying]
posted by hot_monster at 5:50 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


They need these badly for science fiction conventions.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:57 PM on September 6, 2011


I don't see how capsule hotels are any less soul destroying than the many business hotels. The one I've been to (the big one in Shibuya, if there is more than one then a big one in Shibuya) had a great bath and tv built into the capsule.

I'd spend another night in a capsule hotel. Never going to a business hotel again. At least not if there's a capsule or love hotel nearby.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 6:06 PM on September 6, 2011


They need these badly for science fiction conventions.

Judging by the cons I've been to, you'd have the whole washroom to yourself!
posted by xedrik at 6:12 PM on September 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


What if you were buried alive, but in a really comfortable box?
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:21 PM on September 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Yotel, a sort of double size capsule hotel, in a couple of airports in Europe and New York. I cannot tell you how much I wish I'd known about them before and how they're needed in the couple of overseas airports I've had long layovers in. How nice would that be, a 7 hour layover but you've got a real bed to snooze the time away, instead of trying to nap on those redonkulous chairs in the terminals?"

Finally, somewhere to talk about my love of Yotel! I've stayed in the ones in Heathrow and Schiphol, and they are fucking awesome.

Depart plane, begin layover : skin blasted and pale, hair crazy, legs cramped, clothes wrinkled. Hate fellow passengers, possibly all mankind.

Solution 1 : attempt to change in bathroom. Attempt to repair face and hair in bathroom. Try to find secluded place to rest (ha! ha! ha!) Look for wall plug for damn laptop. AS IF.

Solution 2: Check into Yotel. Lock door to cabin. Take long hot shower. Leisurely change into pajamas and summon room service for tea. Lock door again and snooze in blissful quiet and privacy for a few hours. Wake up and watch a bit of news on flat screen. Check email with Yotel wifi. Answer polite wake-up call from front desk, dress in change of clothes from carry on, stroll casually to gate for next flight looking like a rock star.
posted by HopperFan at 6:35 PM on September 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


They should eliminate the layover completely and do airline travel the way they do container shipping. You get in your capsule in New York, it's loaded onto a truck, which takes it to a cargo jet. Seven hours later, after you've had a good sleep, the capsule is inserted back into a hotel in Los Angeles.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:44 PM on September 6, 2011 [21 favorites]


Nine Hours is thinking outside the box by thinking inside the box.
posted by twoleftfeet at 6:55 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh god, twoleftfeet's idea is pretty much my horror story. At some point, you're not going to be able to move out of your capsule, or you're going to otherwise want to stretch your legs or have the need for situational awareness and you're stuck.
posted by mikeh at 7:01 PM on September 6, 2011


I too love Yotel. My wife and I had a six-hour layover at Heathrow and made good use of the facilities. We even tried to get the Yotel's rainshower bath fixture and cucumber-sage shampoo at our own house. The only bad part was that Yotel, like hotels everywhere, installed widescreen flat panels and supplied them with 4x3 aspect programming.
posted by infinitewindow at 7:04 PM on September 6, 2011


I couldn't make it through the whole video because I kept thinking Pouty McScarlett Johanssen was going to pop up into the video and stare at stuff.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:19 PM on September 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I lost patience with the video myself, but stav's writeup was fantastic.
posted by exogenous at 7:30 PM on September 6, 2011


They should eliminate the layover completely and do airline travel the way they do container shipping.

I too have had this idea! I don't understand why it hasn't been universally adopted… well, okay, yes I do.
posted by hattifattener at 7:32 PM on September 6, 2011


I don't understand why it hasn't been universally adopted

The idea more or less has actually been used, just not for business travelers.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:11 PM on September 6, 2011


[freakflagflying] It's my ultimate fantasy to get a job as a salaryman in Japan. I live in the suburbs and take the train into the big city. (read manga on the way)I work 16 hours a day go out for drinks with colleagues. Finally, stumble into a capsule hotel late at night. Lather rinse repeat.[/freakflagflying]

Do that for a month and you'll want to kill yourself -- which, I might add, is also sometimes part of the salaryman experience.
posted by armage at 8:36 PM on September 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


The idea more or less has actually been used

Not really the same thing (the first comment on the Halfbakery idea is also about people being smuggled in cargo containers). The point is to make an intermodal trip (car-foot-plane-foot-plane-foot-taxi) seem like a single trip to the passenger, at the same time making transfers and routing more efficient— putting people in boxes is a means, not the core goal. (Would transfers actually be more efficient? Probably not, and that's why it's on Halfbakery, not on a business plan.)
posted by hattifattener at 8:54 PM on September 6, 2011


I read an old text somewhere (sorry, can't find it now) that advocated giving passengers an injection at the airport, to knock them unconscious. Then they could be stacked more efficiently in the plane and transfers would be easier. When you arrive, they'd give you another shot to wake you up. I'm guessing it was written before Americans got lawsuit-happy.
posted by Triplanetary at 9:04 PM on September 6, 2011


Triplanetary -- was it United Airlines Exploring Viability Of Stacking Them Like Cordwood?
posted by enlarged to show texture at 9:17 PM on September 6, 2011


Onion joke stories notwithstanding, there still is an ongoing effort to stack passengers like pencils in a pencil caddy. Damn uncomfortable looking.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 9:27 PM on September 6, 2011


They should eliminate the layover completely and do airline travel the way they do container shipping. You get in your capsule in New York, it's loaded onto a truck, which takes it to a cargo jet. Seven hours later, after you've had a good sleep, the capsule is inserted back into a hotel in Los Angeles.

Sleep well, Mr. Dallas.



supergreen
posted by curious nu at 9:29 PM on September 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


To make that full circle, curious nu, that scene was filmed in a real capsule hotel.
posted by mrzarquon at 11:25 PM on September 6, 2011


Erk, or not, they may have just designed off a capsule hotel style. Damn my google fu is failing me.
posted by mrzarquon at 11:29 PM on September 6, 2011


Reminds me of that spaceship to Flotsam Paradise in the 5th Element
posted by knoxg at 2:20 AM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is nice, but everyone knows you don't sleep in Cheap Hotel. You sleep in cheaper places.
posted by mobunited at 6:12 AM on September 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


They should eliminate the layover completely and do airline travel the way they do container shipping.

Yeah, count me in as another person who's tried to make that work. Even got as far as preliminary design of the container (based, naturally, on existing air freight containers).

There are multiple problems with the concept; weight, packing efficiency, and rapid egress. It's just not economically reasonable for the airline, and the FAA would go completely berserk.

...which pisses me right off, because I want to slumber peaceably in my pod dammit.
posted by aramaic at 6:16 AM on September 7, 2011


They should eliminate the layover completely and do airline travel the way they do container shipping.

They should do away with the airplane and use superfast pneumatic tubes! It'd be like the future of yesterday, tomorrow!
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:29 AM on September 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just reading about the possibility of container shipping for humans makes me want to take a train back to the city I was born in and never travel again. (This would be a three-day train ride, by the way.)

Of course, reading about how the current air travel system works -- or actually experiencing it, which I do a couple times a year -- also makes me have that reaction, so I'm not saying that such a system would be any worse than what we have already.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:08 AM on September 7, 2011


One word: claustrophobia. *shudders*
posted by kinnakeet at 9:07 AM on September 7, 2011


supergreen

The thing from that movie that I want more than anything (bandage clad, orange haired supreme-being notwithstanding) is a capsule with a sleep field.

I can't count the number of times I've lain awake, plagued by insomnia, and thought of a button I could flip and go from irritatingly awake to deeply asleep.

It'd be awesome. I could totally tolerate crashing out in a coffin with rollers if it meant I could switch off that quickly.
posted by quin at 9:33 AM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


You could shut yourself in a large drawer and read mid-period Murakami novels by flashlight.

Haruki or Ryu?
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:42 AM on September 7, 2011


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