close icon

what are you looking for?

close icon

badges you can earn


earn editorial badges by uploading a number of stories.
  • 1
    writer
  • 10
    senior writer
  • 20
    sub - editor
  • 50
    editor
close icon

Sign Up


use your university email address to create your account.

Username already exists, please use another email address.

Please ensure all fields aren't empty









 
  • Please Select
  • Abertay University
  • Aberystwyth University
  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • Anglo-European College of Chiropractic
  • Arden University
  • Arts University Bournemouth
  • Ashridge Executive Education
  • Aston University
  • Bangor University
  • Bath Spa University
  • Birkbeck University of London
  • Birmingham City University
  • Bishop Grosseteste University
  • Bournemouth University
  • BPP University
  • British School of Osteopathy
  • Brunel University
  • Bucks New University
  • Canterbury Christ Church University
  • Cardiff Metropolitan University
  • Cardiff University
  • City, University of London
  • Courtauld Institute of Art
  • Coventry University
  • Cranfield University
  • De Montfort University
  • Durham University
  • Edge Hill University
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • European School of Economics
  • Falmouth University
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Glasgow School of Art
  • Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Guildhall School of Music and Drama
  • Harper Adams University
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • Heythrop College, University of London
  • Imperial College London
  • Keele University
  • King's College London
  • Kingston University
  • Lancaster University
  • Leeds Beckett University
  • Leeds College of Art
  • Leeds Trinity University
  • Liverpool Hope University
  • Liverpool John Moores University
  • London Business School
  • London Metropolitan University
  • London School of Economics and Political Science
  • London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
  • London South Bank University
  • Loughborough University
  • Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Middlesex University
  • Newcastle University
  • Newman University, Birmingham
  • Northumbria University
  • Norwich University of the Arts
  • Nottingham Trent University
  • Oxford Brookes University
  • Plymouth College of Art
  • Plymouth Marjon University
  • Plymouth University
  • Queen Margaret University
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • Queen's University Belfast
  • Regent's University London
  • Robert Gordon University
  • Rose Bruford College
  • Royal Academy of Music
  • Royal Agricultural University
  • Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
  • Royal College of Art
  • Royal College of Music
  • Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Royal Northern College of Music
  • Royal Veterinary College
  • School of Advanced Study
  • Scotland's Rural College
  • Sheffield Hallam University
  • SOAS, University of London
  • Southampton Solent University
  • St George's, University of London
  • St Mary's University, Twickenham
  • Staffordshire University
  • Swansea University
  • Teesside University
  • The American International University in London
  • The London Institute of Banking & Finance
  • The Open University
  • The University of Law
  • Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
  • Ulster University
  • University College Birmingham
  • University College London
  • University College of Estate Management
  • University for the Creative Arts
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Bath
  • University of Bedfordshire
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Bolton
  • University of Bradford
  • University of Brighton
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Buckingham
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Central Lancashire
  • University of Chester
  • University of Chichester
  • University of Cumbria
  • University of Derby
  • University of Dundee
  • University of East Anglia
  • University of East London
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Essex
  • University of Exeter
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Gloucestershire
  • University of Greenwich
  • University of Hertfordshire
  • University of Huddersfield
  • University of Hull
  • University of Kent
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Leicester
  • University of Lincoln
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of London
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Northampton
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Oxford
  • University of Portsmouth
  • University of Reading
  • University of Roehampton
  • University of Salford
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of South Wales
  • University of Southampton
  • University of St Andrews
  • University of Stirling
  • University of Strathclyde
  • University of Suffolk
  • University of Sunderland
  • University of Surrey
  • University of Sussex
  • University of the Arts
  • University of the Highlands and Islands
  • University of the West of England
  • University of the West of Scotland
  • University of Wales
  • University of Wales Trinity Saint David
  • University of Warwick
  • University of West London
  • University of Westminster
  • University of Winchester
  • University of Wolverhampton
  • University of Worcester
  • University of York
  • Wrexham Glyndwr University
  • Writtle University College
  • York St John University

By creating an account you agree to the uni news Terms and Conditions, and agree to receive marketing communications.

close icon

subscribe to uni news


get the latest articles straight to your inbox.

capsule hotel

What it's really like staying in a Japanese capsule hotel

Japan's most unique hotels, tried and tested.

A while ago we covered capsule hotels, the crazy yet convenient, potentially claustrophobia-inducing Japanese invention in an article here on Uni News. And so, on my recent semester abroad in Japan, I decided a trip to a capsule hotel was a must. Was it claustrophobic? Or was it cosy? Are you woken up in the middle of the night by your neighbours snoring? After staying in three different capsule hotels on the last leg of my adventure in Japan, I now have the answers.

As a quick refresher—a capsule hotel is a unique type of hotel that contains extremely small "rooms," or capsules, which are usually no longer or wider than the single bed they contain. Halls are divided by gender, with capsules stacked two units high down them, giving these hotels their otherworldly futuristic look. As I found out on my trip to three different capsule hotels, some actually offer miniature rooms rather than the typical pods. What unites these hotels under the definition of "capsule hotel" seems to be the close proximity in which you sleep compared to other visitors, and the use of a sliding cover or curtain to close off your room rather than a door with a lock. And if that sounds daunting—Japan is one of the safest countries in the world, making vulnerability in your hotel room far less of a concern than you might expect.

Now, onto my experience!
First things first, these hotels really are as cool as they look.

I stayed in capsule hotels during a week-long solo trip as my time in Japan came to an end, and though I was definitely drawn to their convenience for solo and budget travellers... The aesthetic was what sold it for me. And I definitely wasn't disappointed. The photo above is of me at Nine Hours in Narita, the capsule hotel chain that went viral for its highly futuristic style. It was for sure the most unique hotel I stayed at in Japan, and luckily for me, I got to spend my final night there!

Nine Hours kept its cool aesthetic up even outside the capsule hallway, including in the locker and shower areas. This included minimalistic numbers, symbols and monochrome detailing the walls and floor. It’s hard to explain, but as soon as I went through the check-in lobby to the hotel, it really felt like I’d stepped into another world.

As for claustrophobia, I didn't feel it at all - I was actually really cosy!

As you can see above, this capsule I stayed in while visiting Mt Fuji really had room just for me and a few other small items. For this reason, the staff give you a locker and key at check-in to store luggage. Some people also left their belongings, including large suitcases, just outside their capsules. Japan really is the kind of country where people rest assured their items will be safe!

But as I mentioned before, some capsule hotels offer accommodation that's more like a miniature room. Below is my capsule room at a hotel in Nikko, and you can see it was far more spacious—compared to standard capsule hotels, anyway! I had a small desk and mirror, a private bunk bed and TV, a locker that fit my suitcase inside, and a simple curtain to separate my room and the hallway.

The three capsule hotels I visited were located in Nikko, Fujikawaguchiko near Mt Fuji, and Narita.
And they really are super convenient.

A great thing about capsule hotels - and often Japanese hotels in general—is that you could check in with nothing and be just fine. What do I mean by that? Well, at each capsule hotel I stayed in, I had my toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, shower gel, conditioner, towels, face wash, and just about everything you could need provided. Two of them even provided pyjamas, as seen in this amazing package I received on check-in at Nine Hours Narita!

Another thing is that for every prime location, like near tourist attractions and train stations, you can find a capsule hotel close by. This makes them perfect for travellers, especially if you're alone and don't need much space! The Nine Hours I stayed in was actually right inside the airport terminal I was flying from the next morning—I just had to wake up, check-in luggage and go to the gate! I don't think a better location is possible for an early morning flight, so definitely check this place out if you fly into or out of Tokyo.

They're also pretty cheap.

Despite top convenience in locations and utilities, these capsule hotels keep their prices low. In terms of price per night, Nikko was 5,000 yen (£39), Fujikawaguchiko was 5,700 yen (£44), and Narita was 6,000 yen (£46).  All great prices, especially considering everything provided. I was particularly impressed with my hotel in Nikko, which included access to the hotel’s onsen (Japanese hot spring bath) in its low price!

And clean!

For such a small space, I was surprised how much effort the staff put into cleaning these rooms. My hotel in Fujikawaguchiko insisted all guests empty their rooms each afternoon for cleaning, even if they weren't checking out. The rooms would then be left clean with fresh towels, pillows and duvets laid out as seen above. It seemed they were maintained with even more care than regular hotel rooms!

But how well do you sleep?
As I mentioned before, I found these little capsules very cosy. The beds were comfy, I felt secure, and I slept well. But what about noise levels?

This was really the craziest thing about staying in capsule hotels for me. You’d think that staying so close to other travellers, with only paper-thin walls between you would amount to a lot of noise and awkward social interaction. But actually, most of the time I forgot there was anyone else in the hotel! In fact, during my first night in Nikko, I honestly believed I was the only person in the hallway until I heard someone turn a light off. Listening out in wonder for other signs of life was a very surreal experience.

In other words, everyone is very respectful of the silence rule, and I slept like a baby every night. The only issue I had was while staying in Narita when I was woken up by other people’s alarms going off in the early hours of the morning. At the other two capsule hotels I stayed in signs asked that guests set their alarms to vibrate only, and I was never woken up at all. But in this case, people staying at Narita airport likely didn’t want to risk missing their early flights by silencing their alarms, so I didn’t mind too much. It helped me get myself up for my flight, too!

All in all, capsule hotels get a huge recommendation from me. If I had to sum them up, I'd say they're unique, convenient, and perfect for solo or budget travellers. Or for travellers who just want to see what all the fuss is about!

Comments