Close Quarters: All About Japanese Capsule Hotels!

Japan can be a little bit on the expensive side, so sometimes you have to make sacrifices to save a dollar here and there. If you plan on traveling all around Japan renting hotels can end up burning a massive hole in your wallet, leaving you less cash for more important things. Luckily, Japan has already created a solution to extinguish this fire in the form of capsule hotels. 

What Are Capsule Hotels?

These aren't hotels in the traditional sense, so you might be a little bit thrown off when you first visit one. "Rooms" in a capsule hotel are 6.7ft x 3.3 ft x 3.1ft fiberglass capsules. Capsules are stacked on top of each other, and each contains a bed, TV, WiFi and sometimes a console that plays white noise. Of course, not every hotel is the same so there may be hotels with bigger capsules, or slightly different amenities, but everything should be generally the same.

Why Stay?

These may not be luxurious five star hotels, but they're not awful either.
Capsule hotels are a convenient way to save money when if you're traveling all around Japan, or if you've missed the last train back to your destination. These hotels are also convenient if you end up drinking too much and can't get back to your hotel safely.

Even though these hotels are meant for only a one night stay they do there best to give their guests a memorable stay. Capsule hotels offer guests a robe or PJ's to change into in case they forgot to bring their own. Sentou (communal bathing) is also provided.

Note: You must wash your hair and body before going into the bath. Around the bath there will be seats with shower heads. If you have tattoos you should cover them before undressing, tattoos are still considered taboo in Japan so it's best to avoid revealing your ink.

Be Sure You Can Stay

Capsule hotels are primarily geared toward businessmen, and are meant to give them an affordable place to stay if they miss their train home, or are too drunk to get home safely. Capsule hotels have only recently allowed women to stay, but some are still men only. 

Hotels that allow both genders will separate them by having men or women only floors and facilities. 

Some Rules

There are some general rules you should follow when visiting a capsule hotel. You'll be asked to take take off your shoes when you check in at the front desk, and put on slippers that are provided. The front desk will also give you a locker to put your belongings in. The number on your locker key will be the same as your capsule number. When you'r ready to check out simply return your key.

When you settle into your capsule close the blinds and be sure to keep your noise level to a minimum. The walls in a capsule are thin, so be courteous to the people around you trying to sleep.


No matter the reason capsule hotels are a cheap way to spend your time in Japan. Even though your room is small you get an amazing experience for a small price! Hopefully, I saved you some extra cash and the stress of booking a hotel.

Happy travels!


Donna Rhae