Capsule Comfort: Exploring Japan’s Minimalist Accommodation Revolution

Japan has a lot of huge cities that never sleep, these cities attract a huge amount of tourists from all over the world. This means that the city has a lot of short-term visitors that all need a place to sleep at night. What if I tell you that Japan has found the ideal solution for both the tourist, the city and your wallet?! That’s right, Japan has done it: they have created the ultimate accommodation for solo travelers who are on the move. These so-called capsule hotels are meant for individuals who only need an accommodation to sleep & leave their suitcase and nothing more.

WHAT ARE CAPSULE HOTELS?

Capsule hotels are basically normal hotels but instead of a really nice warm room with a bathroom and toilet you get a 2-by-1 meter capsule with a mattress and that is it. When you stay in a capsule hotel you have a shared bathroom and toilet, this is to save money and space. Capsule hotels are found everywhere in the big cities in Japan and they are steadily becoming more popular in Japan and around the world due to the cheap price and the convenience that comes with it.  The idea of a capsule hotel is that you only sleep in the capsule and that is it which is a nice and convenient idea for solo travelers, but obviously not as popular amongst groups of people / families.


WHAT CAN YOU DO AT A CAPSULE HOTEL?

There are also a lot of basic things that can be done at a capsule hotel like sleeping and showering etc, but aside from the basics, not a whole lot. The only thing you can do at a capsule hotel is sleep in your capsule hoping the person that has rented the capsule above you doesn’t move too much. A real nice touch to the capsules themselves is that they have everything you need: plugs, wifi, air conditioning etc, this makes the capsules somewhat luxurious.

WHAT KIND OF CAPSULE HOTELS ARE THERE?

There are a lot of capsule hotels out there but they all share 1 obvious feature: having to sleep in capsules instead of a room. I have heard a lot about these so-called manga-capsule hotels where the hotel is basically one room with a lot of manga (Japanese comic books) and a lot of small capsules for people who want to read manga all day and leave in the morning. You also have robot capsule hotels and animal capsule hotels who add a degree of excitement or novelty. 

MY EXPERIENCE AT A CAPSULE HOTEL

My experience in a capsule hotel is not that exciting and it wasn’t even in Japan: it was in Switzerland when I was traveling back home from Japan. I flew back from Japan with a stop in Zürich, Switzerland and we had to stay the night at the airport so my dad and I thought we might as well book a capsule hotel since it is cheap. The hotel itself was alright, it had the basic needs like a shower and toilet and the capsules themselves were alright, not too big and pretty cozy. I think a capsule hotel does its job well and it is and always will be a viable option if you are looking for a place to sleep for a short amount of time.

WOULD I STAY THERE AGAIN?

That is a difficult question to answer because you never know when you need short-term accommodation when you haven’t already booked one. I will probably only stay in a capsule hotel again if I’m either low on money or if I have no other choice, but even then the hotels in Japan are relatively cheap compared to hotels in Europe. So I don’t think I will ever willingly stay in a capsule hotel (without a distinctive theme) but it was a unique experience that I would recommend trying at least once in your life.

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