The outlandishly chic 9h is a ninestorey capsule-like hotel that hooks budget travellers and backpackers up with a cool place to crash. Along with a sleek cubbyhole to rest your head, the hotel supplies disposable slippers, bottled water from the foot of Mount Fuji for hydration, and a sleep control system that monitors your rhythms to ensure a good night’s rest. Named after the sleeping rooms that typically accommodate road-weary folk in need of a nine-hour nap, 9h generously allows its guests to kip for up to 17 hours with no additional charge.
Capsule from JPY4,900 per night (S$74). Teianmaeno 588 Shijo-Cho Teramachi, Shimogyo-ku; (+81 75 353 9005, www.9Hours.jp).
Located a short walk from Kyoto’s business and tourist belt, and just one minute away from the Gojo subway station, is Citadines Kyoto Kurasama-Gojo, run by Singapore’s very own Ascott group. The studio and one bedroom apartments are dressed in soothing neutral tones, modern furniture and are hooked up with broadband internet access, a home entertainment system and cooking facilities.
Doubles from JPY22,000++ per night (S$333). 432 Matsuya-cho Gojo-dori Karasuma-Higashiiru, Shimogyo-ku (+81 75 352 8900, www2.citadines.com).
You won’t be blamed for mistaking Hotel Mume, a triple-tiered concrete grey tower tucked away along the Shirakawa River in Gion, for one of the many other local residences. But behind the traditional door – unmissable thanks to its fire engine-red paint job – Kyoto’s latest boutique hotel beckons. All seven nature-inspired rooms – decked in ‘flower’, ‘wind’, ‘butterfly’ and ‘moon’ themes – are lined with exquisite Kyoto karakumi paper, and intimately adorned with the owner’s collection of antiques.
Doubles from JPY23,100 (S$349) per night. 261 Shinmonzen St, Umemoto-cho, Higashiyama-ku (+81 75 525 8787, www.hotelmume.com).
The 25 Zen-inspired rooms at the recently opened Hoshinoya Kyoto ooze exclusivity. Housed in a Meiji period house that once served as the riverside retreat of a wealthy Kyoto merchant, hotel access is granted via a 10-minute boat ride along the picturesque Ooigawa River. The traditional vibe continues on the inside with Japanese futons, yellow cedar bath tubs, delicate rice-paper screens, and calming views of maple and cherry trees.
Doubles from JPY59,000 (S$893) per night. 11-2 Genrokuzancho, Arashimaya, Nishikyo-ky (+81 75 871 0001, www.kyoto.hoshinoya.com).