If you have an early morning flight out of Osaka Kanai airport, you can either stay at one of the many hotels that can be found just across the bridge on the mainland, or pick one of the two hotels located directly on the airport island.
Last month – before catching an early morning flight to Hong Kong – I had a chance to stay at one of the two. As I only needed a place to catch a couple of hours of sleep before a 7AM flight, I opted for the cheaper First Cabin rather than the full service Hotel Nikko.
Continue reading this review to see what the First Cabin Kansai Airport capsule hotel was like.
Are you interested in trying business or first class for the price of economy?
If so, you might want to check out Four Ways to Try Business Class Without Breaking the Bank - a free guide that I put together detailing some of the ways I was able to do so - and experiment with some of the methods mentioned in it.
Booking the Room
Originally, I booked the room through Hotels.com as I do with most of my hotel stays. However, since I found a cheaper rate directly through First Cabin’s website later on, I cancelled the Hotel.com booking and booked the room directly through the hotel’s website.
The booking process was smooth, and I was able to get a “Business Class Cabin” for 6,000 yen (about 55 dollars) – as opposed to 7,000 yen via Hotels.com.
By the time I decided to book my room, no more “First Class Cabins” that offer a bit more space were available.
Getting to the Hotel
As mentioned in the introduction, the hotel is located on the airport island, and it’s just a short walk from the main terminal (or a short shuttle bus ride away from the low-cost terminal).
More precisely, it’s located in Aeroplaza, a building next to the airport’s train station that also houses Hotel Nikko as well as a couple of other facilities.
To get there from the terminal, you can take a covered walkway from the terminal’s second floor. Simply follow signs pointing to “Hotel” and “Railways.”
Check-in, Lobby, Dining, and Other Facilities
When I arrived at the hotel around 10PM, there was a line of ten or so people ahead of me – and so, it took some time until I was able to check in.
After paying for the room, I was given an explanation of the facilities, and I was also offered a choice of (cheap) earphones or a really nice headset to use for watching TV. More about that later when I talk about the room, though.
The lobby was simple, but quite nice – decorated with a piano.
Before the area with the rooms, there was a small communal area with some counters. Given that the rooms are separated by gender, this area was used by groups that wanted to spend some time together before going to sleep.
Guests could also buy some drinks and snacks from a coffee machine, candy dispensers, as well as drink vending machines.
Of course, the dozens of stores and restaurants in the terminal (and some in Aeroplaza itself) were easily accessible as well.
Because First Cabin is not a “real” hotel, the Japanese law does not allow its rooms to be lockable. Instead, they are only equipped with a curtain. Because of that, the hotel has two parts – male and female – which can only be accessed using a keycard that one gets during check-in.
While some other First Cabin branches offer “Premium Economy Cabins” which are true capsules, the “Business Class Cabins” and “First Class Cabins” offered at the Kansai Airport branch were full height.
Still, since the footprint of the “Business Class Cabins” is quite small, there was a luggage storage space in the hallway. There were also some humidifiers, etc. that guests could borrow.
The “Business Class Cabin” that I stayed in was – as mentioned above – full height, but small. In fact, it was basically the size of a single bed with a counter along one of its sides.
As far as the cabin’s equipment is concerned, there was a lockable storage box in the counter. And, there were a pair of power outlets, a reading light, and air conditioner controller on one of the walls.
While there was a television as well, it had to be watched using headset given that the walls were thin and there was only a curtain rather than a real door.
Quite obviously, the individual cabins were not equipped with toilets or showers – instead, there were communal ones. Some amenities including slippers, towels, and dental kits were waiting in the cabin upon check-in, though.
The bathrooms were large and clean. And, there were both individual shower rooms as well as a Japanese-style communal bathtub.
A coin-operated washing machine was available in the bathroom as well.
The shower rooms themselves were quite small and simple, but more than sufficient for a quick shower.
Before checking out, I also had a chance to quickly peek into one of the “First Class Cabins.” It seemed to be more or less the same as the “Business Class” one, except there was an extra coffee table, and some space to walk around or keep your luggage in.
The bathrooms and other shared facilities available to those staying in the “First Class Cabins” are the same as described above, of course.
First Cabin Kansai Airport Summary
If you value maximum privacy over value or if even the slightest noises bother you when you try to sleep, then you will be better off staying at Hotel Nikko or one of the hotels on the mainland.
If, however, you are looking for a decently comfortable place to sleep for a few hours before catching an early morning flight (or after arriving late), then I can highly recommend First Cabin Kansai Airport.
The price might be on the higher end for a capsule hotel, but the location is unbeatable. Unless you go with the alternative – like I’ve done a couple of times in the past – and sleep on one of the benches in the terminal.