Travel / Travel: Japan

My Capsule Hotel Experience

They’re not your usual accommodation. Individual sleeping pods, over a dozen in a room, each with the bare basic sleeping amenities.

There are lots of capsule hotels in Japan, and each has different attributes. But most share these essential features – an enclosed single bed with lights and charging slots (sometimes with a telly and/or radio) and a communal toilet and bath. Shared lounging areas are also accessible where you can eat, work or talk on the phone. WiFi connection is available as well.

Am pretty sure that staying in a capsule hotel is on every Filipino travel fanatic’s list of things to do in Japan. Staying in two capsule hotels last 2018 – DoC Gotanda and Nine Hours Asakusa, was an illuminating experience and somehow gave a lowdown on how the locals display courtesy all the time.

So what’s it like to stay in a Capsule Hotel?
I wrapped up my South Central Japan summer trip last August in Central Tokyo, and booked a 4-day accommodation in an all-male capsule hotel, DoC – a sauna+sleep concept . Since this property is train stations away from the touristy spots, not much foreigners stay here. Most of the guests were Japanese who missed the last train and stayed the night, since it’s cheaper to get a capsule bed than to hail a cab home.
My first time in a capsule hotel, I then verified how the Japanese are thoughtfully respectful when sharing space with others even in a hotel setting. I have witnessed how they are considerate towards others in public spaces like trains and restaurants since my first visit in 2015, but my first time sharing a slumber room with them. I observed how they go an extra mile not to disturb the people staying on the same flat, from as simple as not opening the zippers of their bags in the sleeping room, to quietly walking to their pods.
Also, guests eat in the common lounge area only to keep the sleeping quarters crumb free and clean. Working on a computer or talking on the phone were also done in the common lounge, so the people resting in the pods stay undisturbed.

I bet you also thought that sleeping in a capsule pod would feel like you are reposing in a coffin. Haha. On the contrary, I felt more like I am a cast member of a sci-fi movie playing as a space trooper that’s part of a squadron just waiting for our spaceship to arrive at a good distance from our enemies’ planet and blow their entire world with super laser guns and power beams. Plus the provided uniform night jammies added to that very fantasy. Teehee.

Nine Hours Asakusa Sleeping Pod

One of the most daring things I’ve done was getting into a shower room with lots of naked people. Haha. That’s as equally brave as the time I went bathing naked in a shared pool with other spa goers in a jimjilbang in Seoul. DoC shower room only has bathing cubicles with glass dividers. So yeah. Haha.

I also visited Japan in November 2018 – during the end of autumn, the outset of winter. This time, I booked a 3-night stay with my blogger friend Marco in Nine Hours Capsule Hotel . We stayed near the touristy spot of Tokyo’s little Kyoto, Asakusa. The atmosphere is a bit different than that of DoC Gotanda. Nine Hours was packed with tourists and backpackers of different nationalities. One of the downsides at this property is that the sleeping space can be a bit noisy. Gladly I brought my ear plugs which came really handy. The locker room can be real crowded too, as most guests are tourists with big bags and trolleys. The showers in the common bath area is private, so it’s such a relief as it would be awkward sharing the showers naked with a close friend. Haha. Overall experience at Nine Hours is great, considering a clean accommodation and the affordable per night fee.

Both the capsule hotels I’ve stayed in were comfortable and clean, and an inexpensive choice too. I replied, “DEFINITELY, YES!” when I got asked if I would stay at a capsule hotel in Japan again.

Swing by the blog next week for separate blogposts on each of the capsule hotels I’ve stayed in.

How about you? Have you stayed at a capsule hotel? How was your experience?

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