A Unique Sleeping Experience: Japanese Capsule Hotels

The way people travel has certainly changed in the recent years. Even with limited budgets, people are inspired to explore now more than ever and see the rest of the world without breaking the bank. While it’s true that travelling can be expensive, there are ways to cut costs if you plan ahead and do your research. One of the biggest financial considerations that you’ll have to prepare for is where to sleep and live for the duration of your stay.

The convenience and luxury of staying at a hotel can be nice, but it can also set your funds back by a sizeable amount. For travelers on a budget, a good alternative would be to book a small inn, a hostel, or an affordable Airbnb listing a few weeks before your actual travel period. If you’re headed down to Japan anytime soon and can do with just the bare necessities for your accommodation, you might even want to consider the idea of sleeping in a capsule hotel.

Japanese Capsule hotels are a type of budget accommodation which houses rows and stacks of individual pods no larger than the size of a twin sized bed. Think of it as your regular hotel room encapsulated in a tiny space and stripped down to the barest essentials. If you only need a place to get by for the night, a bed, light, and a WiFi connection are all you truly need anyway.

The concept of the capsule hotel started around 1979, with the first one opening in Osaka, Japan. Over the years, the demand for this kind of lodging grew and capsule hotels became commonplace in modern Japan. The idea was to provide a cheap place to stay for travelling businessmen to stay the night. For around $30 to $50, you can stay at one of these hotels and experience this unique frills-free sleeping arrangement.

So what can you expect when sleeping in a capsule hotel? Each hotel would be unique in its own right, but you will find these recurring similarities for this kind of accommodation. Upon entering the facility, most capsule hotels would ask its guests to take off their shoes to be stored in a shoe locker. Only one person can stay inside a cube, and each person will get a key for their own capsule as well as sleepwear usually in the form of a kimono.

You can keep your belongings inside your cube, but some hotels will provide a separate locker room located near the communal bath. If you plan to visit the onsen or bath house, be aware of the bathing practices of the Japanese to avoid any hiccups.

Note that a number of capsule hotels are available for men only, and most co-ed hotels will have separate floors or wings for male and female guests. The capsule rooms would usually have curtains or blinds that you can close for privacy, but the design of the structure won’t necessarily be soundproof. Therefore, guests are encouraged to be disciplined and respectful of their neighbors for a peaceful night. When it’s time to go, most facilities would be equipped with a built-in alarm clock to remind guests to proceed to checkout.

All in all, capsule hotels offer a unique and convenient sleeping arrangement for a reasonable price. If you’re looking for ways to cut down on travel costs, definitely book a capsule hotel on your next visit to Japan.