Review: 9 Hours Capsule Hotel – Narita International Airport

Introduction:  Flying to Japan to Ride the Shinkansen
Review: Japan Airlines (787-900) Premium Economy Class – Dallas to Tokyo
Review: NAA Dayroom – Narita International Airport
Review: Japan Airlines – (787-800) Economy Class – Tokyo to Bangkok
Review: Aloft Hotel – Bangkok
Review: Singapore Airlines (A330) Business Class – Bangkok to Singapore
Review: Singapore Airlines (777-300) Business Class – Singapore to Tokyo
Review: Nozomi Shinkansen – Tokyo to Fukuoka
Review: Hilton Sea Hawk – Fukuoka
Day Trip to Uminonakamichi Island
Review: Gyozaya Ninoni – Fukuoka
Review: All Nippon Airways Lounge – Fukuoka
Review: All Nippon Airways (767-300) Business Class – Fukuoka to Naha
Review: All Nippon Airways (737-800) Economy Class – Naha to Nagoya
Review: All Nippon Airways (Bombardier Dash 8) Economy Class – Nagoya to Tokyo
Review: 9 Hours Capsule Hotel – Narita International Airport
Review: IASS Executive Lounge – Narita International Airport
Review: TEI Lounge – Narita International Airport
Review: Japan Airlines (787-900) Economy Class – Tokyo to Dallas

I was not able to make my connection on Singapore Airlines to Los Angeles. The Singapore Airlines’ agents were kind enough to give me options of hotels in and near Narita International Airport while I sorted out my next move. There was a Hilton and ANA Crown Plaza Hotel within a couple of miles of the airport. These hotels would have been perfectly fine for my short stay, but the 9 Hours Capsule Hotel really intrigued me.

A capsule “hotel” is only a hotel by name. The “room” or capsule, is the only semi-private area for the guests. The hotel is similar to what you would find in a hostel, open spaces and tons of people. Capsule hotels were created for short stays. The short stays normally occur when business people have a late evening and cannot travel home from the city or, in my case, someone is stuck at the airport overnight. I was not missing this opportunity.

I could not find reservations for the 9 Hours Capsule Hotel anywhere so I headed over to its location. A complimentary bus was available to take passengers between terminals so I hopped on it. The ride took the 10 minutes to reach Terminal 2. There was a bit of a walk from bus stop to the hotel.

Using my broken Japanese, I was able to get the bus driver to point me in the direction of 9 Hours. After a few minutes of walking I began to see signs for the hotel. 

This was the easiest part of my day. I followed the signs to the escalator, went up, turned left, and the entrance was on the right. 

There were a few other guests in the queue so I checked out the departure/arrival boards behind the front desk. You will also notice that the there was a silhouette of a man on one wall and a woman on the other. The capsule hotel did not allow commingling, if you were traveling with a member of the opposite sex.

I finally approached the counter and requested a room for the night. The friendly staffer told me the price, approximately $60 USD, for the nine hours. I was told about the separate accommodations for men and women and the rule forbidding food, drink and computers in the capsule. If I needed to eat or drink, there were plenty of common spaces within walking distance. Finally, I was presented a bag with a robe, towels, shower shoes and a key. Everything was branded with the 9 Hours logo. The number on the key matched the locker and my capsule for the night. 

I entered through the main entrance to the male side and was soon standing in the rather large locker room. At that point, I was the only person in the locker room.

The shower rooms and sinks were at the opposite end of the locker room. The rooms reminded me of the shared living spaces used when deployed. The shower was the only thing that made me feel uncomfortable. Even though the rooms were constantly cleaned during my stay, I could not get over how many times the rooms were used in a day. I know this was a huge overreaction because normal hotels are “community use” as well. Anyway.  One thing that should have eased my mind was the fact that guests were required to use slippers when walking into the sleeping and bathroom area. 

The entrance to the sleeping area was located between the locker room and bathroom. There were hundreds of pods stacked in an offset two story configuration. Guests assigned to the top pods were able to use the small steps to climb inside of their capsule. The only light allowed in the sleep area were the lights of the vacant pods.

I was assigned a capsule on the bottom. There was nothing special about it. Inside the capsule was a thin mattress pad, pillow, sheet, and a blanket. There entire place was set at a very comfortable temperature so I did not need the blanket.

The capsule walls were very thin. I could hear the guy above me move around and snore. There was always a constant chatter in and around the sleeping area, even though it was supposed to be quiet 24/7. The capsule had a clear, sliding door that was merely for show. It did not reduce the noise or provide privacy. The capsule did have two USB ports to charge phones or anything else guests might have brought into the space.

As I mentioned earlier, there were a few food and drinks options, but the pet hotel in the terminal brought a smile to my face. How cute is the place? Take care of your pets when traveling, they get stressed as well.

Final Word

The 9 Hours Capsule Hotel was definitely an experience. While I was a bit frustrated with the noise level and reduced privacy, I appreciated the price and proximity to the terminal. I would definitely stay at the capsule hotel, time permitting.

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