Japan is known for having a lot of pretty unique things- heated toilet seats, beer vending machines and robots are just a few things that shock most foreign tourists. So, it should hardly be surprising that there are lots of places to stay that defy the usual norms, too. The most talked about? Capsule hotels, of course! After staying at our traditional ryokan style accommodation in Osaka, we were excited to try out Mosaic Hostel in Kyoto: a new modern take on the standard capsule hotel.
Mosaic hostel mixes a lot of the characteristics of a traditional backpackers but the main attraction is that, instead of bunk beds, guests can sleep in cosy capsules. As a lot of capsule hotels in Japan are male only, this is a great way for female travellers to enjoy the experience, too. Plus, although I’ve never slept in a capsule hotel before, the pod style beds seemed to be a lot more comfortable (and less claustrophobic) than what I would have expected.
Here’s a review of our stay!
We travelled to Kyoto from Nara, the city famous for its deer! After a long day of travelling (and almost getting beaten up by deer!), we were relieved that Mosaic hostel was located so close to JR Station. Kyoto is really spread out so regardless of where you stay, you’ll need to travel a bit to see a few sights. Most buses leave from Kyoto Station, though, so this is a great place to stay. When we were in Kyoto, we took advantage of the 500 yen all day bus ticket since it’s such a cost-effective way to see the city.
I should also add that Mosaic Hostel is right beside AEON Mall. In the Muju shop here, it’s possible to hire bikes for just 500 yen a day which is one of the cheapest bike rental prices in the city. AEON Mall is also home to an awesome conveyor belt sushi restaurant where we may or may not have eaten several nights in a row!
If you want somewhere in the heart of the Geisha District, Mosaic have another property close to the Golden Temple. We stopped in for a coffee and loved the old traditional decor. This would be a great place to stay if you want to immerse yourself in a more traditional experience.
Mosaic hostel attracts a young, friendly crowd and most nights you can find people having drinks in the common area. We really enjoyed the social side of this hostel.
What I loved most about Mosaic, though, was the amount of privacy I had, even though I was in a hostel. I sometimes get tired of staying in dorms but the pod beds gave a sense of anonymity. So, if I wanted to enjoy a beer and meet people, I could. If I wanted to lie in bed and read (like the old grandmother I’ve become), I could do that too! The freedom was great and I think that even hostel-phobes would enjoy staying here.
The hostel manager, Vince, went out his way to make sure everyone was getting the most out of their stay. When we were there, there was a flea market happening nearby and he was kind enough to drive a bunch of guests there himself. Little gestures like these always make a place seem more hospitable.
All of the staff working there were extremely helpful. Each morning, they asked us where we wanted to go and showed us the best way to get there. They were always on hand with hints and tips, as well!
Mosaic has all the useful facilities you would expect from a hostel- almost all toiletries and a hair dryer were provided free of charge which is handy for light packers. The showers were amazing with roasting hot water and we were provided with big fluffy bath towels, too. There’s also (extremely) fast WiFi and computers that guests can help themselves to!
For travellers looking to save money on food, the communal kitchen space is great for preparing cheap meals. Too lazy to cook? Head to the on-site cafe bar (which also has yummy sake!) On warmer days, the outdoor roof patio is a great place to chill out!
The beds are also worth noting. Mine was super cosy and I didn’t feel too enclosed because it was spacious and had a curtain rather than a restrictive door. There’s also plugs and a nightlight so you can create your own little den away from the world. To help protect your stuff, Mosaic provides each guest with a huge locker free of charge.
Value for Money
Like we’ve found in most of Japan, the standard of the accommodation completely exceeds the amount that we’ve spent. Capsules start at 3,000 yen but we felt that the quality of the accommodation and the amazing level of service was on par with what you’d expect from a 5-star hotel. 3,000 yen might seem steep for a hostel but think of it more as elegantly styled boutique accommodation with a backpacker feel. It’s the best of both worlds and fantastic value for money.
If you’re going to Kyoto and want to meet other people, save some money and sleep in a capsule in the country where they were invented, I’d definitely recommend Mosaic Hostel! To book a room, check out their website here!
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Disclaimer: We were guests of Mosaic Hostel but, as always, all opinions are our own.