EVENING was falling in the old Japanese capital of Kyoto, and I was tucking myself into a container slightly larger than a refrigerator. I pulled down the shade and, after a bit of contorting, lay down, the wall a few inches from my feet. It was a dainty little space, about 3 ¼ feet wide and 6 ½ feet long, charmingly traditional with rice-paper latticework and two woven-reed mats. I felt like an origami crane as I folded my 6-foot-2-inch frame into this “tatami capsule.”
The eight units at Capsule Ryokan (204 Tsuchihashicho, Shimogyo-ku; capsule-ryokan-kyoto.com) go for 3,500 yen a night, about $46 at 76 yen to the dollar. You don’t get a lot of real estate for your yen, though the box had plenty of modern conveniences: a small LCD TV, high-speed Wi-Fi, dimmable lighting and a wall-mounted alarm clock. The capsules are stacked in pairs, with chrome ladders at their entrances. Upstairs, the 32 en-suite rooms offer more space for sleeping — about three tatami mats’ worth — and the luxury of a compact rain shower.
Read the rest of the story: Japan’s Capsule Hotels Go High Tech and High Style.