Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Capsule Hotel in Kumamoto, and Some of the Previous Places

I'm staying in my second capsule hotel in Japan, here in Kumamoto. Even though the sleeping compartments are small, it is almost like staying in a spa. There are hot spring baths that I use every day, you can opt for massages and other treatments (of course for an additional price), and there is a large common "relaxation room" filled with recliners with TV sets at the end. I'm laying in a recliner now, but I have the TV off. I'm the only one in the room right now. They have blankets in little cubbies that you can put on the recliner or cover yourself with.

When you check in, they assign you a robe and towels at the front desk. You have to put your shoes in a locked shoe compartment before entering, and they also assign you a locker that has the same number as the compartment you sleep in. There is a flat screen TV, a radio, an alarm clock (which i somehow accidentally set for this morning while pushing buttons on the console), a light, and an outlet. Though Japanese outlets are the same as the ones in the US and Canada, they all only have two prongs, so I still have to use an adaptor for my laptop, since it has three prongs. But anything else I have that uses electricity has two prongs.

One thing I like about this capsule hotel in Kumamoto versus the one in Tokyo is that you get to keep the key to your shoe locker. In Tokyo, you had to turn it in to the front desk before they would give you your other locker key, so you kinda had to beg for your shoes. And sometimes there was a long line at the desk, so I had to wait quite a while. But now I can retrieve my shoes right away. This capsule hotel also allows fen ales to stay here, whereas the one in Tokyo was for males only.

In this capsule hotel, the little molded plastic shelf to put things on in the capsule is very small. It barely fits my cellphone. The one in Tokyo was about three or four times the size.  You have to vacate the capsule for a couple hours around ten in the morning, and take everything out of your capsule, so they can change out the bedding and clean the capsules. It's not a big deal, I am usually either touring the city, or hanging in the relaxation room. But I wish the relaxation rooms had outlets in the recliners. The recliners will recline all the way to flat if you want.  Oh, I just found a recliner that has a wall outlet next to it, sweet. It looks like it is the only one. There are people who live here long term also, because it is cheap. I could see doing that, at least for a while. This one is a little more expensive than the one in is about 25 bucks versus about 17 a night in Tokyo. But here you can pay your whole stay up front; in Tokyo I had to pay each day at a time even though I had reservations for several days. Also here I chose to keep my backpacks with me in a little corner outside the capsule, rather than keep my big pack behind the front desk and my little pack in the locker. I saw lots of people doing that in Tokyo and nobody messed with their stuff. I have locks on my packs and not much of value in them anyway.

The last place I stayed was in Miyazaki, at a place called the Peace House. It was a fairly nice looking and clean place, but it was difficult to get to from the train station and far from everything in town. The woman who ran the place was very nice and accomodating, but spoke only Japanese. Fortunately, I met a guy named Takeshi who drove me all sorts of places for the two days I was there and basically acted as my personal tour guide, so it wasnt a big deal that the place was far from everything. But it was so sweltering hot that I had difficulty sleeping at night. At least in the sweltering place I stayed in Osaka, there were fans that blew right on me so I could sleep. Not here. I even got out of bed at one in the morning to take a shower so I could cool off, but there was a line of people who had the same idea. Finally I got in to the shower, but once I got back in bed it was just as hot again.

In Kagoshima, I stayed in an actual hotel, because I couldn't find hostels. Hotels are good because they give me space to repack well, whereas in a hostel I usually have to just cram things wherever I can stuff them.  Before Kagoshima, I stayed in some of the cheapest places I had stayed in Japan, in Kyoto and Osaka. Between the two cities, I stayed five nights, and paid about ten bucks a might. In Osaka, the rooms were about the size of a capsule hotel, but with full size ceilings. No air conditioning, but the fan made it tolerable. It was also a fairly social place, and there were always people gathered around in the common areas. I met people from several different countries. The strange thing was that the elevator only stopped in the odd floors. I stayed on the sixth floor, and had to walk up or down the steps from the fifth or seventh floors. And I was newly injured from my fall in Kyoto, so it was not terribly easy.  In Kyoto, the hostel was really nice, and it was hard to believe that it was so cheap. It was right near the Kyoto Zoo, and was very well located for making my way around town.

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