When you’ve got an early morning flight it always helps to find accommodation as close as possible to the airport, and if you’re leaving from Narita International Airport, you can sleep right inside the terminal, at a branch of the popular capsule hotel chain 9 Hours.
▼ The hotel is located in the basement, and there are plenty of “9h” signs to guide you there.
▼ You can’t miss the entrance to the hotel, with its black walls and “9h” signage.
Guests check in at the front desk where they receive a bag that includes sleepwear, a large and small towel, slippers and a toothbrush, and then they can enter the premises, which, like a lot of capsule hotels, are segregated by gender.
Our reporter Masanuki Sunakoma would be staying the night here, so he headed off to the men’s section of the hotel.
Masanuki’s first port of call was the locker room, where the lockers were large enough to accommodate even the bulkiest of suitcases. If you have more than one case, though, you might want to leave it at the temporary baggage storage area at the airport.
Then it was off to the washrooms first, and Masanuki was pleased to see they were clean and modern.
▼ Toilets and washbasins
▼ Shower room
Feeling clean and refreshed, Masanuki changed into his sleepwear and trotted off to the sleeping quarters. As soon as he stepped through the door to the capsules, he felt as if he were entering a futuristic spaceship, or the set of a sci-fi movie.
Masanuki’s capsule was on the lower level, and as soon as he saw its shiny interior, he began snapping photos of it. The sound of the shutter on his phone rang out around the room, as he attempted to capture the beauty of the pod in all its glory.
There was no TV or hanger inside the capsule, reaffirming that this was a space for sleeping and not much else.
If you’re staying in a capsule hotel, earplugs are always good to have on hand, to block out the sound of others snoring…and in case you encounter anyone like Masanuki constantly taking photos of things.
Once he awoke in the morning, to the sound of people’s alarms going off, probably for their early morning flights, Masanuki patted himself down and was slightly disappointed to find the pod hadn’t transformed him into an android overnight.
It had given him a good night’s sleep, though, which he was thankful for, and the short walk to his flight was a thousand times more convenient than having to rush through crowded stations and crowded morning trains.
Plus, there are convenience stores and pharmacies in Terminal 2 as well, making it one of the best places to stay when using the airport. Overnight stays are priced at around 5,700 yen, while short stays during the day start at 1,500 yen for the first hour, and then 500 yen for each hour afterwards. If you simply want a shower, they’re available 24 hours a day for 1,000 yen, with the usage time capped at one hour.
Full details are available on the 9 Hours website, so feel free to check it out if you or someone you know will be travelling through Narita Airport. It’s a fun way to experience a unique side of Japan, and if you’d like to try 9 Hours in the heart of Shinjuku, the branch there will even tell you how many times you snore during your stay
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