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I had never heard of “capsule hotels” until I read this recent New York Times article. Basically, the “hotel room” or “capsule” is a small space just large enough to accommodate a comfortable night’s rest and perhaps a flat-screen TV. The “door” to the room looks like just a pull-down screen, and the units are stacked double like bunk beds. Even so, I am intrigued by the concept and would love to stay at the featured Capsule Ryokan if I am ever in Kyoto! Its owner explains on the hotel’s website how he combined the space efficiency of the small capsules typically rented by businessmen and the “traditional experience” afforded by cheap ryokan inns to create his beautifully styled inn; adding modern conveniences and keeping the inn clean and comfortable make it the perfect stop for globetrotters ready to explore the city.

Have you ever stayed in a capsule hotel? Is it a must-do, one-of-a-kind experience for a first-time visitor to Japan? Is it someplace you always try to stay? Or is it more of a “just because someone invented it doesn’t mean you should try it” type of experience?