With high-end hotels, ryokans, pensions, Airbnbs, and business hotels, there is no shortage of options for accommodations in Japan, but none more famous, than the capsule hotels. These infamous accommodations are found all over Japan, but are far more common in the big cities. Their popularity is growing globally, with capsule hotels popping up all over the world, but this is where they started. So, pack your bags, and let’s dive into everything you need to know about staying in a capsule hotel in Japan.
What are Capsule Hotels?
Capsule hotels, also known as Pod Hotels are, essentially, a small, affordable place to get a night’s sleep with very few frills. Each capsule is essentially just a bed, in a bed-sized pod, that closes with either a door or a curtain (that do not lock, per Japanese law), and a locker to store your larger luggage. Situated in a row, often times stacked two-high, providing you enough space to sit up, but not stand up.
Capsules come equipped with lighting, and very often an in-unit temperature control, and power outlet to charge your devices. On occasion, there will also be an entertainment system in the pod.
How much do Capsule Hotels Cost?
Capsule hotels are on the affordable side in the full mix of accommodations available in Japan. You can expect to pay between 2,000 and 5,000 ¥ per night, with, of course, higher rates during peak tourist season and holidays.
What Do You Do With Your Luggage In Capsule Hotels?
With capsules and pods being so small, you’ll be able to have a few of your belongings with you, but if you’re traveling with luggage, it certainly wouldn’t fit in the pod (well, not comfortably anyway). With your accommodation, you’ll be provided a locker, usually situated in a central location, where you can stash your luggage and valuables. While your pod won’t lock, your locker will, so if you’re traveling with valuables, it’s best to stash them in your locker.
Bathrooms and Showers in Capsule Hotels
Naturally, you won’t have a private bathroom in a capsule hotel. Toilets will usually be found at the end of the hall of capsules, so you’re able to get there easily for visits in the middle of the night. Bathing accommodations are also shared, but might not be on the same floor of your capsule. The showers are more often than not Japanese style, with a stool, bucket and tap, with the option of a tub. Some will have shower heads, some will not, and some will have private shower stalls.
Will I Feel Claustrophobic in a Capsule Hotel?
When looking at images of capsule hotels, all lined up in a row, it can be easy to think that these are not for the faint of heart, but in reality, the capsules are usually roomy enough to feel comfortable for all but the most claustrophobic folks out there. With doors that open, and the easy ability to get out and walk around, you should be just fine, but if you’re someone who suffers from severe claustrophobia, I might select another accommodation type.
Can Females Stay in Capsule Hotels?
While the majority of patrons of capsule hotels are men, and, indeed, there are male-only capsule hotels, there are absolutely accommodations for women as well. Many co-ed capsule hotels feature mens’ and womens’ floors, and for solo female travelers, there are quite a few female-only capsule hotels as well.
Where Can I Find Capsule Hotels in Japan?
While capsule hotels can be found all over Japan, they’ll have a much higher concentration in large cities, and, in particular, close to train stations. As the public transit system does not run all night, generally closing between 11 PM – 1 AM, a capsule hotel is a great alternative to an extremely expensive taxi ride home. If you miss that last train home, you’ll generally have a few easy options for capsule hotels within a block or so from the station.
Why Stay in a Capsule Hotel?
As mentioned above, capsule hotels are a great, affordable option for those who miss their train, but it’s also a great alternative for travelers on a budget, especially if you’re only in town for a short visit. You’ll also see a lot of business travelers in capsule hotels. It might not be a great option for an extended stay, or for someone with a lot of luggage in tow, but if you’re looking for a uniquely Japanese experience, book a night or two of your stay in a capsule hotel. While they can be found globally these days, staying in a capsule hotel in Japan i is a must-do for any world traveler.
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