Capsule hotels are a Japanese accommodation concept which was invented back in 1979 when the first capsule hotel was built in Osaka, “Capsule Hotel In Osaka” in the heart of Osaka busy Umeda district. The idea was to allow quick sleep in option for busy people who needs a quick place to sleep without the need to pay for a full room in a hotel room. The capsule minimum space concept fits very well with the Japanese dense urban environment allowing hundreds of capsule units to be cramped into large halls to maximize the use of space while allowing the minimal privacy for each guest.
The word “capsule” is one of those English words that got embedded into the Japanese language and evolved to become a fully Japanese concept. “Capsule” was perceived in the 60’s and 70’s in Japan as a futuristic and compact design. If you like video games, you probably heard of the company CapCom, this company took the “Capsule” concept and added it into the word “Computer” – to mean a very small and compact futuristic computer. This same concept was carried into the capsule hotel idea and until today the general image that those spaces are perceived is a sort of futuristic minimal space of leaving.
Now when you know the general history of capsule hotels in Japan, lets fast-forward into the current time and get to know those special accommodations and what do they offer in the 21st century.
It’s not always cheaper then hotel!
Although the image of capsule hotel is a very small and cheap place to stay, the range of prices can be as cheap as ¥2,000 yen but can go up to ¥7,000 for very luxurious capsule therefor be aware that there are budget hotel rooms which you can get at rates of ¥5,000 per night. Yet, if you do get a luxurious ¥7,000 capsule, it will probably be much more convenient then a very cheap hotel room.
Capsule hotel is not just stacked capsules!
In most capsule hotels you can find other facilities that the hotel offers beyond the sleeping pod. Some hotels offers bath and sauna, vending machines area, Japanese comics (manga) books, arcade games, massage services, and in many there is a communal space for watching TV and relaxing. There are even some hotels which offers a restaurant inside.
Is capsule hotel just for men?
The fact is that capsule hotel was built to cater mainly men and as the industry evolved, this type of living became very similar to how the public bath industry in Japan is working, by separating the service for special area for men and special one for women, allowing privacy for both men and women. If you are a women and you look for capsule hotel, make sure the hotel offers a women section or look for women only capsule hotels.
How long can you stay?
You can stay as long as you want but you have to check out every day around 10am and then check back in. Capsule hotels are going through daily cleaning and all guests needs to be out by checkout time. Some hotel offer hourly extension which might cost about ¥200 to ¥500 yen per hour.
Shoes are off at the entrance!
Just as you go in to any public bath in Japan, wen you go into capsule hotel, you lock your shoes in a special locker at the entrance and then wear the hotel slippers until you leave.
What is that key bracelet?
When you check in, you will get a special rubber bracelet with a key on it. This is your key for a small locker where you can store your valuables in while staying. Although Japan is pretty safe place, it is best advised to make sure to keep your valuables there and not in your capsule.
Do I need to wear this funny gown?
Yes, in most capsule hotel you will get a clean set of cloths to wear while you stay. Get used to it as everyone who stay there will use it and although it might feel like you just stepped into a hospital, you will get used to it quickly.
Do they have a shower?
In many capsule hotels you will find communal bath for men or women only. This is a very common thing in Japan to take a bath with strangers. Feel free and enjoy this public bath spaces and remember that in Japan, before you get into a public bath, you first take full on shower and get perfectly clean to get into the bath with strangers.
Now when you know the general rules about capsule hotel, here is a list of 10 of Tokyo best capsule hotels!
1. Capsule Value Kanda
Capsule Value Kanda is located near Kanda Station of the JR Yamanote, Keihitohoku, and Chuo JR lines. The men only capsule hotel offers very comfortable capsules with 24 hours access to the hotel. Guests get full amenities kit which includes clothing and personal care products. The hotel has its own free WiFi Internet connection as well as a PC area for guests in the business lounge area on the first floor. Guests can also enjoy the public bath which is also available 24 hours a day as well as a locker system for cloths and personal valuables.
- Name: Capsule Value
- Address: 1-4-5 Kajicho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0044
- Tel: 03-6206-0724
- Average price: ¥3,000
- Website: http://capsuleinn.com/kanda
2. Shinjuku Kuyakusho-mae Capsule Hotel
Shinjuku Kuyakusho-mae Capsule Hotel is located conveniently near Shinjukusanchome Station on the Shinjuku, Marunouchi, and Fukutoshin subway lines. The hotel offers full amenities kit to all its guest which includes both clothing and personal care kit. The hotel offers capsules for men and women but the public bath is for men only. The 4th floor also offers quite spacious business and relaxing lounge where guests can enjoy free WiFi Internet access, 2 PC stations and printer. There are a couple of sofas and TV as well as a small restaurant offering fresh cooked food at very low prices. The lockers and baggage keeping is located on the 3rd floor and the place is open 24 hours a day.
- Name: Shinjuku Kuyakusho-mae Capsule Hotel
- Address: 1-2-5 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0021
- Tel: 03-3232-1110
- Average price: ¥2,000
- Website: http://capsuleinn.com/shinjuku
3. Capsule Hotel Anshin Oyado Premier – Shinjuku
Capsule Hotel Anshin Oyado Premier is located right outside Shinjuku JR Station. The capsule hotel feel very warm and cozy with its wood-paneled capsule rooms which have lockable doors, Simmons’ bedding, flat-screen TVs and personal tablets, headphones, wall plugs and completely free Wi-Fi high speed Internet connection. This capsule hotel is a very luxurious one offering free amenities kit which include hot beverages, miso soup and guest lockers, as well as detergent to use in the laundry facilities. There’s also an artificial hot spring bath and a sauna, and a large comic book library.
- Name: Capsule Hotel Anshin Oyado Premier
- Address: 4-2-10 Shinjuku, Tokyo, 160-0022
- Tel: 0120-083-184
- Average price: ¥5,000
- Website: http://www.anshin-oyado.jp
4. Capsule and Sauna Century Shibuya
Capsule and Sauna Century Shibuya is located about 5 minutes walk from Shibuya Station. The design is very compact capsules with door locker and TVs in each capsule. Amenities include a relaxation room with massage chairs, a dining room, and a public spa area with a communal sauna and 2 deep soaking tubs in the basement. There is also a large relaxation area on the second floor and a special massage room on the 5th floor. Overnight stay can use the bath freely but for short stay or the bath service cost ¥500. After 9pm the use of the bath and sauna cost ¥2,500.
- Name: Capsule and Sauna Century
- Address: 1-19-14 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0043
- Tel: 03-3464-1777
- Average price: ¥2,700
- Website: http://www.century-grp.com/other-languages/century
5. Capsule Inn Kamata
Capsule Inn Kamata located outside JR Kamata Station and is a men only capsule hotel which offers a very spacious public bath area and comfortable capsule accommodation. Each capsule comes with a TV screen and free WiFi Internet connection. The hotel also offers a special drinks and snacks vending machines area as well as coin laundry room and clothes washing detergent vending machine.Guests can also enjoy the large shared relaxing area on the 4th and 5th floors as well as a couple of massage chairs and leather sofas. This capsule hotel is located just 20 minutes by train from Haneda Airport so if you are looking for a place to stay just before or right after a flight, that is the right place for you.
- Name: Capsule Inn
- Address: 5-20-5 Kanata, Ota-ku, Tokyo 144-0052
- Tel: 03-3731-0604
- Average price: ¥3,500
- Website: http://athlecitta.co.jp/capsule
6. Le Luck Spa Shinjuku – Women Only
If you are a women and look for a capsule hotel for women only, try the Le Luck Spa in Shinjuku. Located conveniently in the heart of Kabukicho, the hotel offers capsule stay service with sauna, and spa for women only. This 24 hour spa is an exclusive spa for women only and the facilities and services are specially planned for women. The place will allow you to relax and get refreshed in the jacuzzis, saunas, outdoor hot spring pools and at the resting lounge as well as enjoy reflexology, facials and aromatherapy treatments. It is a great place for every women to visit before heading out to the wild Shinjuku around you or a great place to return to after a wild night in Kabukicho!
- Name: Le Luck Spa
- Address: 1-2902 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
- Tel: 03-3207-5411
- Average price: ¥3,500
- Website: http://www.hgpshinjuku.jp/en/spa
7. Capsule Hotel Shinjuku 510
Capsule Hotel Shinjuku 510 is located right between Higashi-Shinjuku Station of the Fukutoshin and Oedo subway lines and Shin-okubo Station on the JR Yamanote Line. This is a straight forward and simple capsule hotel for men only. The hotel offers a public bath with sauna in there basement, laundry service, luggage and storage area, free newspapers at the lobby and a public relaxing area with TV. The hotel also offers free WiFi Internet service and small snacks and drinks vending machine room. Each guest will be greeted with a full amenities kit which includes night wear and personal hygiene kit.
- Name: Capsule Hotel Shinjuku 510
- Address: 2-40-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
- Tel: 03-3200-6151
- Average price: ¥3,900
- Website: http://capsule510.jp/capsule510
8. Sauna & Capsule Hotel Hokuoh – Asakusa
Sauna & Capsule Hotel Hokuoh is located 5 minutes from Ueno Station. This is a very informal capsule hotel catering to men only guests. Each sleeping capsule has a flat-screen TVs and alarm clocks. The bathrooms are shared and the hotel offers free WiFi Internet connection to all guests. The hotel also offers a casual bar and a small restaurant linked to a lounge area with TVs and complimentary tea. There’s a spa area with a sauna, a hot tub and massage service on the basement floor and each guest will be greeted with amenities kit which includes night wear and personal hygiene kit.
- Name: Sauna & Capsule Hotel Hokuoh
- Address: 7-2-16 Ueno, Taito, Tokyo 110-0005
- Tel: 03-3845-8000
- Average price: ¥4,000
- Website: http://www.saunahokuou.com
9. Oak Hostel Cabin – Nihonbashi
Oak Hostel Cabin is a capsule hotel which is located in Nihonbashi area, very close to Suitengu-Mae Station on the Hanzomon subway line. The building looks really cool and industrial looking with its bright lights and glass exterior. This very modern capsule hotel offers men-only, women-only and mixed floors with shared bathrooms, the no-cover capsule rooms. All guests are offered free Wi-Fi Internet connection service and TVs in each capsule. The place also offers a functional communal kitchen and a lounge with floor-to-ceiling windows, as well as a coin laundry and large lockers area. The kitchen includes toaster over, microwave and full cooking electric pan system making the place very comfortable for longer stay in a very communal environment.
- Name: Oak Hostel Cabin
- Address: 1-16 Nihonbashihakozakicho, Chuo-ku, Toky0 103-0015
- Tel: 03-6264-9452
- Average price: ¥3,000
- Website: http://oakhostel.com
10. Capsule & Sauna Rosco – Komagome
Capsule & Sauna Rosco hotel is located in Homage in between Nishi-nipori and Kami-nakazato stations on the JR Yamanote Line and the JR Keihintohoku Line. It is a very simple capsule hotel in pretty close proximity to the Ueno Zoo and the Tokyo National Museum. The hotel offers men or women capsules on different floors and each capsule include TV and free Internet WiFi connection, as well as private lockers and shared bathrooms. The hotel also offers a spa area offering massage service, a 24/7 sauna and a hot tub, plus a lounge with reclining chairs featuring personal TV small screens. Guests can also use the hotel coin laundry and the small snack and drinks vending machine area.
- Name: Capsule & Sauna Rosco
- Address: 2-4-8 Nakazato, Kita, Tokyo 114-0015
- Tel: 03-3915-0005
- Average price: ¥3,500
- Website: http://www.rosco.co.jp/rosco
Have a good trip and travel!