For many travelers, life is all about new experiences. They are seeking truly authentic travel experiences to create memories that will last a lifetime. As a matter of fact, the pursuit of unique travel experience continues to influence travelers when it comes to choosing where to go next. While many travelers are still content with sightseeing at top tourist attractions, these new age travelers are not only looking for memorable exploration, culture scenes, and authentic food experience but also unique stay experience as well. Thus, it is not a surprise that many of them choose to stay in capsule hotels in order to experience Japan’s best known and most unique lodging.
The first capsule hotels were created out of necessity in Osaka in the late 1970s as it was considered a solution to a growing problem in Japan’s centers of commerce. The salarymen, either too tired or intoxicated to catch the last train home, needed a place to spend the night. However, decades later, the capsule hotels are enjoying a new wave of popularity among foreign travelers. Instead of the bare-bone space to stay with no amenities as found in classic capsule hotels, new chains are embracing a modern and futuristic design that appeals to travelers from around the world. In fact, capsule hotels offer far more than a place to rest your head. But before you start booking one, here are some things you should know about capsule hotels in Japan:
1. Many traditional capsule hotels are catering to men only. However, there are some newest capsule hotels cater for both genders but they provide a secure-access floor for ladies only. Nowadays, there is even a female-only capsule hotel in Shibuya that brings the traditionally male-only accommodation option to women.
2. A night’s stay at a capsule hotel is usually between US$30 to US$50. The charge often includes a small television in the capsule, high-speed internet access, and toiletries. Besides, each capsule also has their own air conditioning controls within the capsule so that you can make sure you are as comfortable as possible in the long cube-like capsule.
3. As you enter a capsule hotel, you will most likely to see a rack of slippers. Please take off your shoes, put on the clean slippers, and carry your shoes to the small shoe locker near the front desk. Keep in mind that shoe removal is customary in Japan as not to carry dirt to homes and residences. Besides, luggage is also kept in a locker in these capsule hotels. Each guest has their own locker to store their luggage and belongings so that everything is private and secure.
4. Many capsule hotels are providing its guests with a communal bathing experience, which is people bathing together in a more open Japanese bathhouse style. However, capsule hotels are segregated by genders, so you will bathe only with people of the same gender. A note on bathing in Japan: please thoroughly rinse your body off before getting into the bath and wipe your body before you exit the bathhouse. Besides, in Japan, tattoos are synonymous with the gangsters (Yakuza), so people with tattoos are often forbidden in large public baths that are shared by everyone. If you have tattoos, please cover them up with skin-colored patches.
5. Most capsule hotels require you to check-out time by 10 o’clock in the morning, but you can stay after check-out time with an additional cost per hour. Upon check out, please return your locker key to the front desk.
Capsule hotels are unlike any other hotels in the world. It remains the best choice for many budget-travelers to Japan as it has met their basic requirements including location, affordability, and style without compromising too much on privacy. It is also a great place to meet other travelers and share information. All in all, staying in a capsule hotel is one of the most unique and compact hotel experiences that you can have in Japan.