Capsule hotels have become a popular accommodation option for travelers visiting Japan. Offering a unique and cost-effective experience, these hotels are perfect for those looking to explore Japanese culture while keeping expenses low. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to capsule hotels, their amenities, and how to use them efficiently. We’ll also provide some recommendations for the best capsule hotels to stay at during your trip to Japan.
What is a Capsule Hotel?
Capsule hotels, also known as “capsule ryokan” or “kapuseru hoteru” in Japanese, are a type of budget accommodation that originated in Japan in the 1970s. These hotels consist of small, individual sleeping pods, or capsules, that are designed to provide guests with a comfortable and private sleeping space.
Typically, capsule hotels offer separate floors or sections for male and female guests. Each capsule contains a single bed, often with a small TV, a reading light, and an outlet for charging devices. Some capsules may also have additional amenities like a small shelf or alarm clock.
Using Capsule Hotel Facilities
Capsule hotels usually offer a range of facilities and amenities for guests to use during their stay. Here’s what you need to know about using these facilities
Check-in and Check-out
Upon arrival, head to the reception desk to check in. You’ll be provided with a key or card for your capsule, and a locker to store your belongings. Check-out is usually by 10 a.m., though some hotels may offer late check-out for an additional fee.
Use the locker room to store your luggage and personal belongings. Most capsule hotels do not allow large items in the sleeping area. Be sure to lock your locker when leaving the hotel or using other facilities.
Bathrooms and Showers
Capsule hotels typically have shared bathrooms and shower facilities. These are usually separated by gender and may include shampoo, conditioner, and body soap. Some hotels also provide towels and toiletries for a small fee or as part of the room rate.
Lounges and Dining Areas
Many capsule hotels have common areas where guests can relax, read, or eat. These spaces may offer vending machines, microwaves, and hot water dispensers for preparing instant meals or hot beverages. Some hotels also provide complimentary breakfast or have an on-site restaurant.
Tips for Staying at a Capsule Hotel
To make the most of your capsule hotel experience, follow these helpful tips:
A. Be respectful of other guests by keeping noise levels low, especially when in the sleeping area.
B. Take advantage of the hotel’s amenities, such as the lounge or dining areas, to socialize or relax outside of your capsule.
C. If you’re staying at a capsule hotel for multiple nights, you may need to check out and store your belongings in a locker each day, then check back in each evening. Be sure to confirm this policy with the hotel staff.
D. Bring earplugs or an eye mask if you’re a light sleeper, as the capsules may not be completely soundproof or lightproof.
Recommended Capsule Hotels in Japan
Here are some highly-rated capsule hotels to consider during your trip to Japan:
A. 9 Hours (Kyoto, Tokyo, and other locations): This sleek, modern capsule hotel chain offers comfortable capsules with minimalist design, along with a range of amenities, including a 24-hour reception desk and complimentary Wi-Fi.
B. Capsule Hotel Anshin Oyado (Tokyo): Located near Akihabara Station, this hotel features capsules with high-end bedding, personal TVs, and noise-canceling curtains
C. First Cabin (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and other locations): Inspired by first-class airplane cabins, First Cabin offers slightly larger capsules with more privacy and amenities, such as a foldable table and USB charging ports.
D. The Millennials Shibuya (Tokyo): A modern and tech-savvy capsule hotel, The Millennials Shibuya features adjustable beds, personal iPads for controlling room settings, and a spacious co-working area for guests.
E. Nadeshiko Hotel Shibuya (Tokyo): Catering exclusively to female guests, Nadeshiko Hotel Shibuya provides a safe and comfortable environment with traditional Japanese design elements and private shower booths.
Capsule Hotels and Cultural Experiences
Staying at a capsule hotel is not only a unique accommodation option, but it also allows you to experience an aspect of Japanese culture. Many capsule hotels incorporate traditional Japanese elements, such as tatami mats, futons, and sliding paper doors, which can provide an authentic Japanese experience for travelers.
Some capsule hotels also offer cultural activities, like tea ceremonies or calligraphy classes, for guests to participate in during their stay. Be sure to check with your chosen hotel to see if they provide any additional cultural experiences.
Capsule hotels are an excellent option for travelers looking for affordable and unique accommodation in Japan. By understanding the basics of using capsule hotel facilities and keeping our recommendations in mind, you’ll be well-prepared for an unforgettable experience during your trip to Japan. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore this fascinating country while enjoying the convenience and novelty of staying at a capsule hotel.