As a tall foreigner with a height of 195cm (6’5″), I was somewhat anxious about staying at a Japanese capsule hotel. Will the coffin-size rooms be big and long enough? What if the capsule makes me claustrophobic? Will my neighbor snore and wake me up? But the low price of US$40/night was an irresistible bargain and my sense of adventure kicked in with excitement to try this new form of accommodation!
1. The Check-in
The whole check-in is automated through a kiosk machine that takes your payment in cash or credit card and issues an access keycard for your designated capsule room. Personal belongings have to be left in a storage locker as the capsules are not locked so guests may not leave anything in the “room” itself. Following Japanese traditions, shoes come off at the reception, guests can take a shower in the common shared bathrooms and change into “Yukata” style pajamas to change into for the night.
2. Shedding Inhibitions in the Capsules
Sleeping in a capsule is quite a psychological experience, but once my mind got used to lying inside a glorified storage container the “rooms” are actually very clean, comfortable and 2 meters long! There is an entire floor of capsules for men and another floor for women, with individual capsules perfectly ordered like a giant honeycomb. I was lucky to be on the bottom row so I could just crawl straight in and avoid midnight acrobatics crawling up the stairs. Each room comes with a pillow, blanket, alarm clock, electrical socket and a ventilation fan. Once inside, you can roll down a bamboo screen to “close” the entrance and tuck in for the night, without feeling too claustrophobic. Thankfully my neighbors were very quiet so I slept like a baby without being woken up by any snoring from the capsule next to me.