A Beginner’s Guide to Japan’s Capsule Hotel

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A Beginner’s Guide to Japan’s Capsule Hotel
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Tags: accommodationkyotoosakatokyo

When it comes to Japan, we could think about a handful of uncommon culture and lifestyle that is associated with this country. Along the lines of robot restaurants, cat islands, automatic toilets, there is also capsule hotels – an unusual accommodation in Japan.

Although the space for accommodation is compact-sized and not something most travellers would look into, nevertheless, capsule hotels are still fascinating. For some travellers, staying in a capsule hotel has also become one of their to-do bucket list in Japan. How and why did Japanese come up with the idea of a capsule hotel? In this article, I will briefly explain about this and some of the basic know-hows on staying in this hotel.

Sleeping pods at 9 Hours, Kyoto.
Image credit: Nacasa & Partners

The world’s first capsule hotel was Capsule Inn Osaka, designed by Kisho Kurokawa. It was opened in 1979 and is still operating today.

The initial aim of capsule hotels was to provide an alternative accommodation for male office workers (better known as salaryman) who prefers to spend the night outside their home or simply could not get home in time to rest. In the Japanese workforce culture, office workers might at times miss the last train, get too tired or even too busy to commute home. These circumstances made they to rather choose to sleep at a capsule hotel and go back to the office the next day.

Ginza Hotel Bay.
Image credit: Steven Vance on Flickr / CC BY 2.0

As most office workers who spend the night at capsule hotels are male, it goes without saying that accommodation is not initially designed to be female-friendly. But fast forward to the 21st Century, there is an increase of capsule hotels that cater to both genders, and some are even catered to only-female patrons! On top of that, capsule hotels in Japan today are catering not just to office workers but also to backpackers, budget and foreign travellers. Let’s find out about what these hotels offer to guests.


Services and Amenities in Capsule Hotels

1. Sleeping Area

The word ‘capsule’ itself implies that the sleeping area is tiny and compact, just sufficient for one person. The amenities inside a capsule is usually stripped down to its bare necessities such as a bed, blind or shutters and a fan, but is adequate for a night’s rest.

Some hotels may offer services such as television, earphone, mirror and even alarm clock, in the capsule, hence it really depends on which the type of capsule hotel you choose to stay.

2. Nightwear

A robe or simple clothes will be provided in your capsule and you can wear it to sleep, especially if you did not have an extra change of clothes.

3. Washroom

In a capsule hotel, washrooms are shared with other guests staying in the hotel. Basic amenities such as shower or bath, mirror, shampoo, conditioner and shower gel.

4. Lockers

At the washroom area, there are lockers to store bigger-sized luggage. Smaller-sized bags like backpack can be kept in your capsule.

5. Wi-Fi

Like a regular hotel, capsule hotels provide Wi-Fi services to guests.

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Electronic outlets for 2-pin plug inside a capsule.

6. Electronics Outlet

Charge your electronic devices by connecting it to the USB ports inside your capsule. Some capsule hotels may have a different electronic outlet such as 2-pin plugs, so do bring along an plug converter besides bringing a USB cable and your charger.

7. Common Area

There is also an indoor common or lounge area where you could do your work. Tables and chairs are provided and you could spend some time here making your next travel plans or even talk with friends.

8. Shoe Box

Guests are required to change into room shoes upon checking in, so you can keep your outdoor shoes in the shoe box – usually located near the hotel exit.

Futuristic-looking capsule accommodation at 9 Hours, Shinjuku.
Image credit: Nacasa & Partners

In short, capsule hotels provide basic amenities to wash up and sleep for the night. However, do bear in mind that living in a hotel with shared amenities with other guests would require you to adhere to some simple house rules.

Common House Rules

1. Be quiet

Capsule accommodation is compact, with just a thin wall separating you and your next door neighbour. If you drop something in your capsule, the noise would travel down the row of capsule rooms. Hence, the hotel requires all guests to keep the noise level to be as minimum as possible.

2. No eating inside the capsule

Another important rule is food and drinks are not allowed in your capsule. If you have late night cravings for snacks, do not do it in the middle of the night in your capsule. Go to the common area and eat it there.

Sounds cool? Staying is a capsule hotel is convenient as it is mostly found in urban cities, some nearby train stations or even right in the city centre. The cost of per night in a capsule hotel varies, as the luxury level ranges from budget to posh. Some of the recommended ones are 9 hours, Ginza Bay Hotel and Capsule Hotel Inn Osaka.

Curious to find out how staying in a capsule would be like? Pre-book your stay to experience capsule hotel in Japan!

9 Hours
Locations: Kyoto, Narita, Sendai, Shinjuku North, Kanda (female-only), Takebashi, Akasaka and Kamata
Women’s capsule: available
Website: https://ninehours.co.jp/en/

Ginza Bay Hotel
Address: 7-13-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061
Tel. no.: +81 3-6226-1078
Women’s capsule: available

Capsule Hotel Inn Osaka
Address: 9-5 Doyamacho, Kita, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 530-0027, Japan
Tel. no.: +81 6-6314-2100
Women’s capsule: not available
Website: http://www.umedasauna-newjapan.jp/

JAPAN WALKER SEA Editorial Team
JAPAN WALKER SEA Editorial Team
A fun-loving group of editorial team on the mission to introduce Japanese culture and lifestyle to the masses.

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