What it's like to sleep in a capsule hotel in Japan

What are capsule hotels?

Capsule hotels are a phenomenon especially popular in some Asian countries, like Japan. They are a less expensive alternative when compared with ordinary hotels - especially in an expensive country like Japan. They also have a capacity to accommodate way more people. When you look up the definition of a capsule hotel on the Internet, it may say that it is a type of a hotel that has a large number of very small rooms called capsules. But this is not entirely true. The capsules are nothing more than a bed surrounded by walls and a ceiling. They offer more privacy than a normal dormitory in a hostel, however to call them a “room” is an exaggeration.

What it’s like to stay in a capsule hotel

First, if you are visiting Japan (like we did), right after entering the hotel, you must take your shoes off. It is not allowed to wear shoes anywhere past the reception. Then, you will be given a key to your locker where you must lock all your valuable items as well as outer clothes (there is no space in the capsule for basically anything else except you). Also, most of the capsules did not have locks so don’t leave anything in there. There’s no door - only a sort of a curtain that resembles a window shade which you can pull down when you’re inside. All this can be a bit annoying as it can slow you down - every time you enter the room area, you must take off your shoes and lock your valuables in. In case you forget something, you’re going to repeat all this all over again. But at least, thanks to this, cleanliness is maintained perfectly.

In the capsule

In the capsule

Are capsule hotels claustrophobic?

The capsule is no more than a bed surrounded by walls - like I mentioned above, it’s not a room. There are two rows of capsules on each side and an aisle in the middle. When you enter it and lie down, be careful when you get up as even in a sitting position you can hit your head against a ceiling. Moreover, the capsules are in no way soundproof so you will hear perfectly everyone snoring or turning (as the main room contains over 50 capsules!). The thing that bothered me the most was the fact that there was not enough fresh air in there - there were no windows to be seen anywhere, also, for some, it might be too hot inside. Therefore, if you suffer from a fear of closed spaces, I would not recommend that you choose a capsule hotel. Some compare the capsules to drawers in a morgue - but I wouldn’t go that far.

Are capsule hotels cheap?

Usually they are way cheaper than normal hotels but slightly more expensive than hostels. On average, in Japan, the price for a budget capsule hotel is around 30 USD/25 EUR per night. The most surprising thing was that depending on the place, the capsule hotels include an incredible selection of toiletries and are usually kept in a very good conditions - everything is brand new and spotlessly clean. You will have shampoo, shower gel, toothbrushes, toothpastes, perfume and tons of other items. Also, completely free of charge, some capsule hotels offered free smart phones with the Internet that can be taken out and then returned.

In the capsule

In the capsule

Are Japanese toilets from the future?

In all the capsule hotels the bathroom areas were unbelievably amazing, as I mentioned above. However, a simple thing, you might think - a toilet bowl and seat are such a surprise. There is even a manual on the wall that explains exactly how to use it. The toilet can warm up your seat, play music to cover the unpleasant sounds, spray perfume and wash you after you’ve finished. Also, on top of them, a sink is installed where you can wash your hands immediately after use. Thanks to this, the water is not wasted as it gathers in a tank below and flushes the toilet.

Instructions on how to use a toilet

Instructions on how to use a toilet

Author: Tom @ Adventurous Travels

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