What Are Japanese Capsule Hotels Like? Everything You Need to Know About Them
Capsule hotels are among one of the greatest inventions in Japan! It is definitely tourists’ favourite, not only for its affordability but the functionality is almost incomparable. In general, they’re much cheaper than a typical hotel room, although the services may be limited, the services hit every spot a bag packer could ever need!
It has a compartment locker where you can keep your luggage or travel bags, equipped with cable wire for your electronic devices as well as a communal bathroom for your basic hygiene need. It might not sound very fancy but let us introduce you more about these magical capsule pods, you might find yourself adding capsule hotels to your bucket list!
What Exactly Is a Capsule Hotel?
Well, these small capsule room are originated from Japan, for the pure purpose of offering a convenient and affordable overnight stay. It is a simple accommodation facility where there is just enough room for one person to lay down comfortably.
The general size of the capsule is about 2 metres in depth x 1 metre in width and x 1 metre in height. Typically, there are two steps, the upper and lower level, you can get up onto the upper level with a stepping metal and handrail on the side for additional support. The capsules are stacked side-by-side, two units high, similar to bunk beds.
These capsules are super tight in space, each pod is connected to each other, they usually have shared bathrooms and common facilities. These capsule hotels offer the general need for sleeping but some facilities have large communal baths, saunas, and large lounges, offering far more functionality than business hotels.
Capsule hotels were originally created as a facility for men, typically businessmen who need a place to stay when they’re commuting on a business trip. Some facilities are still strictly for men. However, recently there have also been capsule hotels catering for women.
Benefits and Drawbacks
Well, as mentioned, the main benefit of these capsules is the overwhelmingly low rates that offer the basic functionality for an overnight stay. You can find yourself a capsule room anywhere from 2,000Y a night, it is much cheaper than a normal hotel room. Capsule hotels also have an image surrounding late night employees who missed the last train or bus, it is seen as a better option than taking a long distant taxi ride home which is quite expensive in Japan.
However, it is sure to have some disadvantages, a major drawback is that the rooms are not locked, because such a small space, it is legally impossible to attach a lock door in the capsule.
Due to such tight space, you may hear noises and snoring throughout the night, it is merely unavoidable. Also, if you are claustrophobic, you would definitely want to avoid capsule hotel.
How to Make a Reservation?
Reservation for these hotels is typically quite simple, however, due to the high demand especially on weekends, is it definitely recommended to make your booking in advance. Simply call the capsule hotel you are wishing to stay; you can also make a reservation online by simply visiting the website. Or you can also make a reservation through hotel reservation site such as Rakuten travel, Jalan net or Travelco.
Usage/ Check-in System
Once you make your booking, it is quite easy from this point. When you arrive at the hotel, you can visit the front desk and confirm your room and check in. You MUST take off your shoes immediately upon entering and you can put your shoes in the shoe locker provided by the hotel. You will receive a key for your locker, where you can put all your belongings in the locker. At this stage, you have completed the check-in process!
In the locker, there will be a set of special Yukata (Japanese gown) which you can change into, you can enter your capsule by simply looking at the room number. As mentioned, the capsule room does not have a lock, therefore avoid keeping your valuable items in the capsule.
Now, you are free to roam around and explore the hotel! Generally, these hotels have communal bathrooms and lounges where you can relax and enjoy your stay.
Check-out process is simple and easy, once you get change and pack up your belongings, you can head to your locker and take your luggage and bags. After that, simply head to the front desk and return your locker key. Then, the staff will give you the key for your shoe’s locker, all you got to do now is put your shoes on and leave!
Although capsule hotels are commonly for men, there is a growing demand for working women who also wish to use this convenient service. Most capsule hotels have restricted floor for men and women, this makes the ladies feel a lot safer than sleeping next to a random man. Usually, each entire floor is either men or women only, so women can stay overnight with assurance of their privacy.
Like mentioned, capsule hotels are extremely popular due to its overwhelmingly low rate. The price ranges from about 2,200 yen per night to about 6,000 yen at high-end places. Currently, capsule hotels are located all over the country, it is being used by many students and office workers, so the low rate makes it very affordable.
One of the major drawbacks of capsule hotels is that they do not have a lock in each capsule, basically anyone can open your capsule during the night. The entrance is simply blocked by a thick roll screen or curtain. Capsule hotels are not legally allowed to have a lock door, as it is legally categorised differently from regular locked accommodation.
There haven’t been much horror stories thus far regarding the hotel service. It is assumed that everyone is using it with good intention and in no way wanting to cause harm to others. In the case of women, they have an entire floor restricted to only women giving them a little more sense of security.
Most capsule hotels have a common purpose of providing an overnight accommodation. However, with the growing demand, these hotels are much more equipped with facilities that make them as similar as normal business hotels for a fraction of the price. Some facilities may even have baths, sauna and common living space to enjoy your stay. A large workspace with fully equipped Wi-Fi connection that is free of charge, perfect for working people.
Manners and Things You Should be Aware
As we know, Japanese are extremely polite and respectful, therefore having manners in communal places like hotels is extremely important. Like mentioned before, make sure to remove your shoes once you enter the hotel. Most importantly, be careful about the noise level within the area, the wall of the capsule is often super thin. Therefore, any form of noise can transfer easily, it is important to keep your noise level low, once in the capsule, try to stay as quiet as possible.
Eating and drinking inside capsules is prohibited. There are facilities where you can bring your meals into the common space, so it's a good idea to check the rule in advance before your stay. Smoking is of course strictly prohibited in capsules.
Now that we discuss thoroughly about different aspects of capsule hotel, we would like to introduce you to our top 5 capsule hotels in the Tokyo are!
1. The Millennials Shibuya
An accommodation facility with a big lounge that allows for working space located about 6 minutes from Shibuya Station. It also has a floor dedicated to women, making it safe and comfortable for both genders. The place is decorated in an urban style with fashionable and eye-catching interiors. The capsule is wide and spacious, so you can reduce the feeling of claustrophobia. There are also features such as coat hangers, full-length mirrors, and luggage storage under.
There is a coworking space on the 3rd floor and a lounge on the 4th floor, so you can work and relax according to your needs. This place provides a great stay for those that need a comfortable facility with many functionalities.
2. Nadeshiko Hotel Shibuya
This place is a capsule hotel exclusively for women, located about a 10-minute walk from Shibuya Station. It offers a relaxed and safe accommodation for women to stay in, located near Shinsen Station and a little further away from the hustle and bustle of Shibuya.
The facility has a large communal bath, a cypress bath, and a free space with tatami mats, so you can enjoy a relaxing atmosphere. The capsule is fully equipped with LED lighting, a power outlet, and a USB charging port. Offers a relaxing time for those to take a little break from their busy work schedule.
3. Ueno Station Hostel Oriental 1
The Ueno Station Hostel Oriental 1 is only about a 2-minute walk from JR / Subway Ueno Station and a 4-minute walk from Keisei Ueno Station. It is an attractive private room space that is fully functional and comfortable. The place is equipped with all the technological services you may ever need, Wi-fi, charging port, you name it!
The women's floor has a calm Japanese-style space, and there are also beautiful shower booths and washrooms. There is also a relaxing room, a manga corner, and a laundry, it provides a top notch convenient and comfortable facility.
4. Tokyo Ekimae BAY HOTEL
More than your ordinary capsule hotels, Tokyo Ekimae BAY HOTEL has a luxurious interior that makes you feel like you are at a regular hotel for half the price! The hotel is about a 7-minute walk from Tokyo Station and a 2-minute walk from Nihonbashi Subway Station. A capsule hotel with an interior made of bamboo and wood that creates a modern Japanese atmosphere.
There are two types of capsules, with and without a TV, and they are commonly equipped with a USB outlet and an alarm clock function. There are separate shower and toilet spaces on each floor for men and women, a safe accomodation for any gender.
5. First Cabin Akihabara Showa Dori
This place will exceed your hotel experience. The hotel is about a 3-minute walk from the Showa-dori exit of JR Akihabara station. A luxurious compact hotel with the the service style of first-class airplanes.
Accommodation areas on separate floors for men and women. Providing comfort and safety for women to use. There are two types of rooms, the "Business Class Cabin", which is reasonably priced and easy to use, and the "First Class Cabin", where you can spend more time in a spacious area. The hotel is fully equipped with Wi-Fi and a spacious workspace. Luxury in a convenient form, a dream place to stay for tourists who wish to experience the innovative side of Japan.