These Japanese capsule hotels will freak you out
If you're claustrophobic, you might want to avoid these.
This unique Japanese invention is sure to give you a shock. They're called capsule hotels—hotels that contain extremely small "rooms," or capsules, which are usually no longer or wider than the single bed they contain. Height wise, there is space to sit but not stand. And each of these capsules are stacked two units high down a seemingly endless corridor, giving the hotels a weird futuristic look.
But if you can get past the initial freakiness, maybe capsule hotels aren't as bad as they seem. There's a lot of cool things about them, and they make a lot of sense once you understand who they're marketed at. Plus, there are some pretty fun themed ones that are a must-see.
What is a capsule hotel?
View this post on Instagram
???️ Hospedagem diferente! Americano experimenta Hotel Cápsula Takebashi em Tóquio, Japão. Esse tipo de hospedagem é muito comum no país por ser barata e prática, a maioria dos lugares que oferecem este serviço trabalham com um sistema de 9 horas por estadia, pois acreditam que 1h para se banhar, 7h de sono e 1h para acordar e se arrumar seja o suficiente. É muito utilizado por trabalhadores que perdem o último trem e não querem gastar com táxi, que pode custar mais que uma diária no hotel. Foto: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters #VEJA #japan #tokyo #capsulehotel
Capsule hotels are a Japanese phenomenon—a hotel full of small capsules that act as guest rooms. These capsules usually come with TVs, power sockets, and WiFi access. There's often lounges and restaurants too since guests are asked not to eat in their rooms, and the food is pretty good. You store your luggage separately in lockers, and there are communal toilets and washrooms for guests to use.
The futuristic feel is heightened by the interior of the capsules. The walls are fitted with an LED control panel used to adjust everything from the room's lighting to ambient surround sound. You might feel like you're in your own little rocket ship in outer space, or under the sea in a submarine. Of course, depending on your perspective, the bizarre setting may remind you more of corpse drawers in a morgue, with small compartments containing people stacked on top of each other.
These haven't exactly caught on outside of Japan.
So, why would you stay in a capsule hotel?
The main reason is that they're cheap and convenient. While the accommodation is very basic, it provides an alternative for guests who don't want to pay for regular hotels. One night's stay is around ¥2000-4000 (£13.75 - £27.49). And for that, you're getting a bed for the night and a shower in the morning. Many capsule hotels also offer free toiletries and nightwear. They are primarily aimed at Japanese businessmen but are also perfect for people who have missed the last train or are too drunk to return home safely.
Many capsule hotels don't allow female guests and those that do split men and women into separate sections. The main reason for this is safety, as the capsules aren't very secure. In fact, they usually can't be locked. But don't worry—the crime rate in Japan is considerably low, and the hallways are fitted with security cameras. Another reason women can't stay at a lot of capsule hotels is simply that not many women want to. Fewer women travel alone, and those that do tend towards regular hotels. The result is that many capsule hotels don't feel the need to incorporate a women's section. But that doesn't mean females can't experience them, as long as they do their research.
Premium capsule hotels.
There are also premium capsule hotels, which have become popular with tourists. Some are famed for their amenities like spas and saunas, others for their unique aesthetic and themes. For example, Nine Hours, which is pictured above, has a futuristic dystopian look to it. Nine Hours has become popular enough to expand into a hotel chain across Japan and has won awards for its design. Themed capsule hotels include rooms based on train berths and first class flight cabins, as well as the famous Book & Bed Tokyo, which has an incredible bookshop theme.
If you're a bookworm, this is a place you've got to visit. The hotel offers capsules hidden behind bookshelves containing over 1,700 books, in both Japanese and English. They're so close that you can grab any book you want from the comfort of your bed, or take them down to the common area in the centre of the room. It's a great place to chill out in, and of course, take photos.