Big brother is watching…and taking notes.
There are so many capsule hotels to choose from in Japan, but if you want to stay at one that tells you how many times you snore during the night, you’ll want to book yourself into 9 Hours Woman Shinjuku.
Sorry, blokes — as the name suggests, this particular branch of the trendy 9 Hours capsule hotel chain is a women’s-only establishment, and it just opened in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district on 29 April.
Luckily for us, this new branch is situated a 30-second walk from our office, so our reporter Ikuna Kamezawa decided to check in to the hotel after work, relishing the chance to avoid the long commute home and back again the next day.
It didn’t take long for her to arrive at the newest 9 Hours, which has 14 locations nationwide, two of which are women’s-only, including this one.
This would be Ikuna’s first-ever stay at a capsule hotel so she had no idea what to expect, but she was glad to see the entrance seemed warm and inviting.
As soon as she stepped inside, she found there was no traditional check-in desk with staff on hand. Instead, guests are required to use the smart check-in machines.
If there are vacancies, you can stay without a prior reservation, but if you want to ensure you secure a capsule for the night, it’s best to make a reservation in advance. And although the place is called “9 Hours”, stays aren’t limited to nine hours — check-in is from 2 p.m., with checkout by 10 a.m. the next day.
After checking in, Ikuna received the above card, which also doubled as a locker key. Upon opening her locker, she found a bag which contained three towels, a toothbrush, a pair of slippers and a set of lounge clothes, or “in-house wear”.
As the capsules aren’t locked, guests are advised to keep their valuables in these lockers, so that’s what Ikuna did, while taking the 9 Hours bag with her to use during her stay. In order to keep her capsule squeaky clean, Ikuna decided to stop off at the shower rooms first, which are conveniently located on the lower three floors of the 10-storey building, along with the washbasins and lockers.
However, after jumping into the shower, she realised there was something missing — face wash.
Luckily, the hotel has a vending machine on the ninth floor that sells items like chargers, razors and even earplugs, so she pulled her clothes on again and headed out to see if she could find herself a face cleanser.
Not only was she able to grab herself a cleanser, she was able to get some other face care items as part of a “skincare set” for 160 yen (US$1.24). Now she could really enjoy that shower, which had a nice amount of pressure to help her wash the stresses of her workday away.
The only communal area where you might come into contact with other people is at the washbasin, but during Ikuna’s stay, she had the area to herself.
Feeling refreshed by her shower, Ikuna made her way to her capsule — her first-ever capsule. While she’d previously had an image of capsule hotels as being musty, old places filled with snoring salarymen, that definitely wasn’t the case here.
▼ Wow — this place was shiny and gorgeous!
It was like walking onto a sci-fi movie set, and as Ikuna crawled into her capsule she felt as if she might be making a journey into outer space.
▼ The shiny, glossy walls had a reflective sheen to them, making them look futuristic.
Before settling in for the night, Ikuna decided to go for a loo break, which was easy to do, seeing as the bathroom was conveniently located on the same floor.
▼ To her relief, it was beautifully clean and modern.
Now there was nothing to do but sleep, or perhaps jet off into space in her futuristic pod. That wouldn’t be too far off the truth, actually, because this pod comes with some neat technology that monitors you while you sleep.
It didn’t take Ikuna long to fall into a pleasant slumber, and after awakening the next morning, she got dressed, stopped by her locker and checked out by returning her key card in the required slot.
Despite sleeping way more than she usually does, Ikuna managed to arrive at the office before anyone else. It was the most refreshed she’d ever felt at the start of the workday, thanks to the fact that she was able to walk to the office and didn’t have to deal with the stress of crowded rush-hour trains.
She may have slept a lot, but how was the quality of her sleep? That’s one of the draw-cards of staying at 9 Hours Woman Shinjuku — each guest is able to have a “sleep measurement report” sent to them by email after their stay.
The “9h sleep fitscan“, as it’s called, is a service that uses sensors built into the capsule unit to measure the sleep quality and respiratory status of guests with their consent. Ikuna had given her consent to the analysis by filling in details like age, height, and weight at check-in.
When Ikuna received her sleep report the day after her stay, it revealed that she’d slept for 9.7 hours — from 20:52 p.m. to 7:59 a.m. — and rolled over 142 times during her sleep.
That wasn’t the only surprise revelation — according to the sleep report, she’d snored an average of nine times an hour, and at a volume of up to 57 decibels.
Apparently, 57 decibels is said to be “a little quieter than being inside a moving car“, which was some consolation but still! Nine times an hour is around once every seven minutes, a pretty high frequency as far as Ikuna is concerned.
Nine Hours Woman Shinjuku is the first capsule hotel in Japan to offer sleep analysis services, so it’s a great place to find out how well you sleep while you sleep.
With prices starting at 3,100 yen per night, this is a cheap stay that gives you more for your money than a lot of other capsule hotels around Japan. And if you want a place to telework in the city during your stay you can always enjoy this lounge area on the ninth floor, which offers great views of Shinjuku.
There’s a good chance that the new sleep analysis service may spread to other 9 Hours branches around Japan soon, so snoring salarymen can check their frequency and decibel levels too.
It’s a great addition to the capsule hotel experience, but if you prefer your capsules with free beer or a room full of books, then the Millennials capsule hotel in Shibuya and the Book and Bed capsule hotel in Shinjuku are ready and waiting to greet you!
Nine hours / 新宿区役所前カプセルホテル
Tokyo-to Shinjuku-ku Kabuki-cho 1-2-5 Toyo Biru 3F