For some of you, after a long hectic day visiting beautiful landscapes Japan offers, historical places, shopping, tickling your taste buds with local food, you probably just want to rest in some budget- priced lodgings to gain energy for tomorrow. Well, instead of staying in a typical hotel, why not trying a new experience by staying in a capsule hotel. It might not be the best place to stay, but the experience is worth trying.
Capsule hotel was first built in Umeda district, Osaka in 1979. This idea of small, compact hotel that the architect Kisho Kurokawa introduced, has become quite popular in Japan. However, it has not gained much popularity outside Japan, probably due to the lack of facilities which Japanese capsule hotels offer. In Japan, some of the common amenities include, free Wi-Fi, computer station, self-serve laundry, shared public bath and sauna. The facilities differ from one place to another, so you might need to check what facilities they offer when booking your capsule hotel.
There are a few things to keep in mind when visiting a capsule hotel.
1. Originally, capsule hotel is mainly catered at businessmen who primarily just want a place to sleep. That is why some capsule hotels are designated only for male guests. But as it gains more and more popularity, there are male-only or female-only capsule hotels, and of course, there are ones that aim at both genders.
2. Most of capsule hotels do not provide private shower/ bathroom. Instead, to make it more cost efficient while preserving traditional culture, they provide indoor public bath (銭湯、温泉). This might be good news for some of you but bad news for others. For those who do not mind bathing together with other people, this is the cheapest way to experience public bath in Japan. In one capsule hotel I visited in Hokkaido, there were seven types of hot-water baths and two types of cold-water baths with mini waterfall. However for those who mind sharing bathroom, it might be better not to choose to stay in a capsule hotel after all.
3. The prices range from 2,000 yen to 4,000 yen depending on place and season. It might be cheap to stay in capsule hotel if you are just by yourself. However, if you want to share a room with your families or friends, staying there might not necessarily be the cheapest option.
All in all, as mentioned above, because capsule hotels originated from Japan and therefore probably most well developed here, it might be a good idea to experience staying there for at least one night. You could always do hotel hopping to try different hotel experiences. Apart from the normal hotel and capsule hotel, there is also a 旅館(ryokan) which is the Japanese traditional style inn. While visiting the land of the rising sun, make sure not to waste any chance to experience new things so as to gain insight and create good memories!