The Best Capsule Hotels to Book in Kyoto, Japan

Spring is a great time to visit the beautiful Higashiyama district in Kyoto, Japan
Spring is a great time to visit the beautiful Higashiyama district in Kyoto, Japan | © Sean Pavone / Alamy Stock Photo
Laura Hampson

Capsule hotels are officially cool – and no trip to Japan is complete without staying in one. Luckily, Kyoto is home to some of the sleekest offerings.

Once upon a time, capsule hotels were reserved for the likes of Japanese business folk who simply needed a place to sleep at night. They were first conceived in Osaka in the 1970s when a capsule was cheaper than the train ticket home. Now, capsule hotels have been embraced by millennials and budget travellers alike. The concept has become a must-do experience for any visitor to Japan.

1. Tsukimi Hotel

Capsule Hotel

A bedroom at Tsukimi Hotel, with capsule beds inside wooden frames with lights, small staircases and handrails
Courtesy of Tsukimi Hotel / Expedia

Tucked away in the ancient Geisha-heavy district of Gion, Tsukimi Hotel made waves as the first capsule-style hotel in the area when it originally opened. Its minimalist aesthetic is ideal for the no-frills traveller. Beyond the first-floor common area, where you are encouraged to mingle with fellow guests, there are wooden bunk-bed-style capsules to slumber in. All of the shared facilities are clad in bright white hues.

2. Maja Hotel Kyoto

Capsule Hotel

A modern room at Maja Hotel Kyoto, with cushioned capsule beds inside wooden frames, with lights and small staircases
Courtesy of Maja Hotel Kyoto / Expedia

Designed by Finnish industrial designer Harri Koskinen, the Scandi-style influences are instantly recognisable at Maja Hotel Kyoto. Each part is carefully curated to evoke feelings of cosiness and warmth. The 60 capsules (or ‘huts’ as they are known here) come in two sizes – the classic capsule size or full-height walk-in rooms with a larger bed. The Finnish influences extend to the in-house Cafe Aalto, where you can pick up delights like cinnamon rolls and salmon soup.

3. Hostel Sui Kyoto

Capsule Hotel

A bedroom at Hostel Sui Kyoto, with two capsule beds with sliding doors, wooden walls and lights
Courtesy of Hostel Sui Kyoto / Expedia

Plonked in the northern part of the city, with easy links to tourist favourites Kinkaku-ji (the Golden Temple) and the heavily Instagrammed Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, Hostel Sui Kyoto makes for an ideal base to explore the area. The capsules are cabin-style, with entrances from the side rather than the back, allowing for a bit more privacy (and a lot less claustrophobia) than regular capsules.

4. Utsuwa Hostel

Capsule Hotel

An area outside Utsuwa Hostel, with bikes leaning against a wooden wall and a window
Courtesy of Utsuwa Hostel / Expedia

Behind its slatted wood façade, the design-led, two-storey Utsuwa Hostel boasts 35 individual capsules. Largely made from Japanese cedarwood, the capsules are either bunk-bed-style or have a traditional twist with a paper sliding door for privacy. When you’re not admiring the artwork that peppers the walls, there’s a small Zen garden in the back to retreat from the city bustle.

5. Glansit Kyoto Kawaramachi

Capsule Hotel

An outdoor seating area at Glansit Kyoto Kawaramachi, with lights, plants, wooden chairs, tables, candles and parasols
Courtesy of Glansit Kyoto Kawaramachi / Expedia

Equidistant from the Geishas of Gion and the 400-year-old Nishiki Market, Glansit Kyoto Kawaraachi sits along the busiest shopping street in Kyoto. It’s a sleek addition to the former capital’s capsule hotel scene, with monochromatic capsules split into female-only, male-only and mixed dorms. Contactless check-in is encouraged, and each capsule comes with a TV inside as well.

6. Capsule Hotel Anshin Oyado

Capsule Hotel

A bedroom at Capsule Hotel Anshin Oyado, with capsule beds with cushions, TVs and lights, steps and handrails
Courtesy of Capsule Hotel Anshin Oyado Shinjuku / Hotels.com

A stylish pick for your capsule hotel experience, the Kyoto outpost of Anshin Oyado has a spa with an artificial hot spring and a mist sauna. When you’re just chilled-out enough, there’s also an in-house beer and sake bar with an alfresco terrace. A Japanese-inspired curry is served each morning for breakfast. When you do get around to visiting the capsules, a spacious pod (complete with a small telly) awaits.

7. Book and Bed Tokyo – Kyoto

Hostel

Book and Bed is a unique hostel that went viral on social media immediately after opening. Originating in Tokyo but now with locations all over Japan, it has become a haven for lovers of the written word. It operates as a hostel, library, shop and bar all in one. Sleep in small, cosy capsules located behind the very bookshelves customers come to browse. During the day, it has a bustling bookstore vibe; at night, it becomes a secluded and quiet retreat. Even if you can’t spend the night, it’s a great place to get comfy with a book and a craft beer for a few hours.

8. Capsule Resort Kyoto Square

Capsule Hotel

A bedroom at Capsule Resort Kyoto Square, with capsule beds with cushions, TVs, lights, steps and handrails
Courtesy of Capsule Resort Kyoto Square / Expedia

Capsule Resort Kyoto Square – true to its name – provides a more luxurious approach to the capsule lifestyle. The bedrooms come in either standard capsule sizes or incredibly roomy spaces, practically the size of a small hotel room. Facilities include a Sky Lounge with gorgeous city views, large Japanese-style bathing areas overflowing with amenities, and a dining area where you can sip on free soft drinks. It’s located a short walk from Nijo Castle.

9. Caphotel Kyoto

Capsule Hotel

A light and modern reception area at Caphotel, a reception desk, lights and flowers
Courtesy of Caphotel / Expedia

Caphotel Kyoto is a modern capsule hotel, beautifully decorated with traditional Japanese details like calligraphy wall scrolls and Ukiyo-e paintings. The front desk is open 24 hours, daily housekeeping is provided, and the comfortable lounge provides a TV and other entertainment. It’s located near Saiin Station, which is perched roughly halfway between Kyoto and Arashiyama Stations. Each destination is only a short train ride away.

10. The Millennials Kyoto

Budget Hotel

A dining area at The Millennials Kyoto with tables, chairs, a kitchen worktop, lights, large windows and people chatting
Courtesy of The Millennials Kyoto/ Expedia

The Millennials is a new hotel chain that bridges the community vibe of hostels and the efficiency of capsule hotels. This stylish, spacious capsule hotel offers free breakfast, an evening happy hour, roomy guest facilities and soft, comfortable mattresses – all for an affordable price. Friends can easily book adjacent pods, which are small but slightly larger than the typical capsule. Centrally located near Pontocho, an atmospheric dining area overlooking the Kamo River, the Millennials Kyoto is sure to please.

This is an updated version of an article originally by Brooke Larsen.

For some budget-friendly options, discover our guide to the best hostels in Kyoto, or for even more plush hotels in Kyoto, check out our pick of the best luxury hotels to book in Kyoto, Japan, all bookable with Culture Trip. For a unique stay in Kyoto, check out our guide on where to book your stay in Kyoto, Japan, for a local experience, bookable on Culture Trip.

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