Japan offers an array of options ranging from budget-priced lodging and traditional inns to fancy hotels and capsule hotels to the visitors, the latter being one of the most interesting options for any weary traveler.
The first of the capsule hotels, “Capsule Hotel Osaka”, came into existence in the bustling Umeda district of Osaka city in the year 1979. Designed by architect Kisho Kurokawa, it appeared as though it was an extension of Nakagin Capsule Tower, the office and residential tower in Tokyo. Built in 1972, it offered small, capsule-like apartments.
If you are planning to stay in a capsule hotel when visiting Japan, you need to know a few things. Many of the capsule hotels are for men only and are designed to suit the needs of businessmen. Capsule hotels that have women only floors are also available. Both males and females can stay in some of the latest ones.
The tariff for capsule hotels ranges between $30 and $50 per night, including high-speed internet access and basic amenities such as toiletries, depending on the hotel.
The rules vary from one capsule hotel to another, but the basic rules listed below are more or less the same for all hotels:
You Need to Take Your Shoes Off
In general, shoe lockers are available in most capsule hotels in the reception area. You should take your shoes off, put on slippers and keep your shoes in the locker. Further, you may have to leave the key of the shoe locker at the front desk at the time of checking in.
The Locker Key
You will be given another key, attached to a wristband, after you check in. This is the key of the locker in the changing room. You can store your clothes and belongings in it. The locker and capsule numbers will be the same. Japan is safe, but it is better to keep your valuables locked.
Capsule Hotel Wear
In capsule hotels, you will often be given a robe, a gown or sweats. You can change and walk around in the robe. Unlike business hotels, it is not considered vulgar.
Using the Bath/Sauna
Typically, capsule hotels provide great bathing facilities to give guests communal bathing experience. Therefore, you will have to bathe with strangers. However, these hotels are segregated on gender basis. Wash your hair and body before getting inside the bath. Washing area will have faucets. If you have tattoos, you should cover them with bandages. If you cannot, avoid taking bath. Tattoos are prohibited in Japan because of crime connotations.
After Your Bath
Generally, capsule hotels have snack bars. After having bath, you can have a beer or some other drink. Separate smoking areas may be available and you can use the same if you smoke. However, you should not smoke inside the capsule.
Inside the Capsule
Capsules are provided with shutters or blinds that can be closed. As the walls are often thin, you need to be careful not to cause problems to neighbors.
In general, checkout is at 10 a.m. Before checking out, put on your clothes and leave the key at the front desk.