Japan is the queen of kitsch, and it doesn’t get much more kitsch than staying in a capsule hotel, known locally as Kapuseru Hoteru カプセルホテル.
So what is a capsule hotel? Basically it’s less of a hotel room, and more of a single bed in its own pod – think futuristic space travel-inspired sleeping quarters. Kapuseru Hoteru’s are perfect for the no-fuss traveller, budget conscious or those who want to try something a little different.
Here we’ve rounded up a bunch of our favourite capsule hotels in Japan, along with a couple of guidelines to help you make the most out of your stay.
Nine Hours Kyoto
Nine Hours Kyoto is based around the principle of resetting your mind overnight in three simple steps: 1 hour to bathe, 7 hours to sleep and 1 hour to wake and dress. The light-based alarm clocks are a novel way to greet the new day before renting a bike from reception to explore Kyoto on two wheels.
Capsule Inn Osaka
The original ‘Capsule Inn’, Capsule Inn Osaka opened in 1979 and was the first of its kind in the world, designed by architect Kisho Kurokawa.
Shinjuku Kuyakushomae Capsule
Located right in the heart of Tokyo, guests can literally step out of the front door and be amongst some of Tokyo’s best restaurants, bars and of course karaoke. Perfect for belting out some Kylie before retiring to your capsule.
Capsule Inn Kinshicho
This male and female capsule hotel offers a rock sauna as well as hot and cold baths. After you’ve refreshed, relax with a beer from the vending machine before heading to bed.
Sauna & Capsule Clear Inn Sugamo
This centrally-located hotel is just minutes from Michelin star ramen restaurant Tsuta Ramen. Rise early and arrive at the restaurant at 8am to reserve your table for the evening, but be warned, it sells out quickly!
Capsule Value Kanda
There’s nothing worse than stepping off a long haul flight in the morning only to find out you can’t check into your hotel until the afternoon. An early 10am check in at Capsule Value Kanda solves this problem, leaving you to get all the shut-eye you need.
Capsule and Sauna Oriental
This is the capsule hotel for basketball players, and tall people that can’t play basketball. Superior capsules can be booked for an extra fee, giving you more room to move. Be sure to check out the nearby Ameyoko markets to pick up a memento or two.
One more thing before you go…capsule hotel etiquette:
Shoes are a no go: Most capsule hotels are shoe-free zones. On entrance there will usually be a shoe rack or lockers where you should store your shoes. Some capsule hotels provide slippers for guests to wear inside.
Lock away: Capsule hotels are extremely safe, but it is important that you lock your valuables in the locker provided. This also ensures that your bed is clutter free and you can get the best night’s sleep possible!
Scrub Down: Toiletries are usually provided, and washrooms are communal. In Japan it is important that you wash your hair and body at the taps before you jump into the communal bath for a leisurely soak. Men and women have separate bathing facilities.
Robe up: Staying in a capsule hotel doesn’t mean that you’re skimping on comfort. Guests are generally given a yukata 浴衣, a casual version of the kimono, which you change into after bathing.
Sleep Well: Retire to your pod feeling refreshed and ready for a good night’s sleep.
Follow these guidelines and you’ll be ready to stay at some of Japan’s best capsule hotels in no time.
Looking for more kitsch hotels in Japan? Check out our guide to wacky Japan hotels.