Three capsule hotels and the reasons you MUST stay in one when you visit Japan: from all-you- can read manga to first class luxury!
A friend and I recently chatted online when he was planning a trip to Japan.
“When looking for cheap hotels, plenty of capsule hotels came up on the results. What are those?”
To which I replied, “You don’t know about capsule hotels? They are inexpensive hotels with tiny sleeping
rooms about the size of an MRI machine at the doctor. I think they are mostly used by drunk
businessmen to sleep it off.”
My friend then asked “From the pictures I saw, it seems like there are some really nice ones.”
I hadn’t stayed at a capsule hotel in over ten years so I decided to check some out online and saw many
words I wouldn’t have associated with my previous experience: words like “women only”, “luxurious”,
and “built for comfort”.
Things certainly have changed since I stayed at once. Let me tell you about these new hotels both
foreigners staying in Japan and locals should visit!
The History of Capsule Hotels
The first capsule hotel is said to be the “Capsule Hotel Inn Osaka”, established in 1979. “Doraemon” had
just started airing and disco fashion was in full swing. It’s hard for me to imagine that era in Japan, but
capsule hotels have been around thirty-eight years!
As I thought, they first gained popularity as a way to save money after missing the last train home.
Rather than splurging on a taxi ride or a hotel, capsule hotels offered the minimum amount of space you
needed to sleep at a very reasonable price.
Thanks to the rise of internet cafes and super cheap business hotels, the capsule hotel industry
contracted quickly in the 1990’s and for a while looked like it was doomed to vanish. However, by
making use of new ideas like those I’ll tell you about later, the industry is once again prospering.
Basic Capsule Hotel Amenities
Here are some basic features all capsules share in common, even from the days in which I stayed in
1. A capsule-style room
The very reason these are called “capsule hotels”. Forget about standing up, you can’t even
kneel in these rooms, as they are made just for sleeping.
They usually have a television, radio, lights, an alarm clock and an air conditioner. Those with
strange sleeping habits might have a hard time!
2. A communal bath and sauna.
This is also one of the basic amenities. At many places you can use the bath around-the- clock.
They used to be full of drunk businessmen (like myself) and you’ll still find many a fast-asleep
older gentleman sweating it out.
3. A coin laundry.
Both a washer and dryer are available. They are probably there so that businessmen can go
straight to work on weekdays. There aren’t usually more than two or three stations, so if you
wait until you wake up to use them, you might find someone has beat you to the punch. And
have to go to work in a dirty shirt!
4. Free coffee and breakfast.
In a small space in the lobby, you will usually find coffee and some bread. Businessmen don’t
have to time to grab breakfast, you see? Instead, they can take care of it at the hotel and go
straight to the office. Perfect for taking care of a hangover!
5. Relaxation room
If the place isn’t too old you’ll usually find this. There will be recliners or massage chairs you can
relax in with the lights dimmed. There’s often a large television everyone can listen to with
earphones. I prefer this room to the capsule but the snores of others in the room can be too
distracting to let you sleep!
Three new capsule hotels you MUST check out!
Here are some of the newest capsule hotels even if you’re not a drunk businessman!
1. Manga café collaboration yields a capsule hotel with an at-home feel.
Comics and Capsule Hotel, which goes by the nickname “Comicap,” was created by the manga café
company Jiyu Kikan, known for it’s all-you- can -read manga cafes. Featuring lots of, that’s right, manga,
the hotel has a relaxing atmosphere together with a low price. The result is more than the sum of its
parts, offering the best of both a capsule hotel and a manga café. Currently, they are open in Kyoto and
2. Cabin-size capsule hotel with a first-class feeling!
Our next capsule hotel recommendation models their sleeping rooms after first-class customer cabins
on international flights. There are many companies offering unique services in the hotel industry, but
the one I’d like to introduce stands out. First Cabin, as the name implies, models their large rooms after
the luxurious first-class passenger cabins of airplanes. Now you can feel like a first-class passenger
without spending a fortune to fly there!
3. Free curry, darts and VR?!
Anshin Oyado easily features the most amenities of any hotel in the world, capsule or otherwise.
They offer all-you- can-eat top quality curry for breakfast, you can read all the manga you like, or
play darts until you drop. You can even try out a brand-new virtual reality experience! They have so
many things to do, you might not even have time to sleep. Despite this, the price is very reasonable!
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