According to my trusty husband, capsule hotels are losing out to internet cafés (manga kissa) and becoming less common. Even so, they are another possibility if you miss the last train or if you want to try something new… and certainly before they are gone for good.
Most capsule hotels are only for men but some have women-only floors and rooms for more than one person.
Some have onsen (hot springs), which usually supply shampoo, conditioner and soap. An onsen is a wonderful treat after a long day and even if you don’t use the pool to soak, you can use the shower facilities. Showers are often not standing versions. Use the stools in front of the low shower heads or grab one if they are stacked off to the side. Watch hours of operation as times are segregated for women and men if there is only one pool.
At the entrance on the main floor of the capsule hotel my sister and I stayed in, we had to leave our shoes in a small locker and then wore plastic slides while inside. We took an old, small elevator to our floor, which was only for women.
In the little hallway outside the room where the capsules were, there was a door to a shared bathroom and some tall, very narrow lockers for our clothing. They contained a toothbrush and paste and a robe (yukata). In the public areas of the hotel, we saw many men wandering around, watching TV, reading manga or eating minute noodles in their slides and robe.
What if you have big bags with you? I kept my purse with me in the capsule but we stored our bags out of the way in the room where the capsules were.
The capsule room was long, narrow and carpeted. The sleeping cubbies were stacked and had a rolling blind that pulled down for privacy. There was a pay TV inside my capsule, a radio, a light and a mattress, pillow and blanket. I didn’t have the best sleep as I couldn’t fully stretch out and found the space a little claustrophobic after a while. I am above average height and especially so in Japan, though. I also loved to sleep in my closet as a child but I prefer a little more space now.
The capsule hotel we stayed in does not have a web site but Capsule Inn Akihabara (now closed) is almost identical and the site includes a cut-out picture of a capsule, dimensions and some photos.
Have you tried a capsule hotel or other unique accommodation? What was it like? Do you think capsule hotels are disappearing?