Accommodation in Japan, particularly the big cities, often tends to be a bit more cosy when compared with other global places. All the amenities are usually there but it’s all very compact with very little room to manoeuvre around the bed. And then there are capsule hotels!!
These extremely small rooms are not for claustrophobic people, that’s for sure! They are almost reminiscent of corpse drawers in a morgue! Usually stacked side-by-side, two units high (steps provide access to the upper level rooms), these pods roughly measure 2metres in length, 1 metres in height and 1.25 metres wide. Unbelievably, they also include a TV, mirror, light, a control panel (including light dimmer, air-con, TV volume and channel changer) and wi-fi. Toilets, sinks and lockers are located closely by.
In the hotel I stayed (The Riverside Hotel) there was a communal bath (and sauna) downstairs and on the other side of the curtain was a lounge area which provided free soft drinks, comfy chairs, books, newspapers, a toilet, a smoking room and a TV. Breakfast was a fairly simple affair (a slice of bread and an egg) but was a nice bonus and a good way to get some food in me before heading out each day.
Before meeting my wife in Hiroshima, I had a few days to myself whilst she worked so I decided to go to Okayama and thus finally had a chance to stay at one of these uniquely Japanese places for a couple of nights. Cheaper than conventional hotels, these pods are very useful for solo males (although they do have different floors for women)
Believe it or not I have wanted to experience staying in one of these for many, many years now and back in 2011 it was included in a ‘Things I’ve Never Done In Tokyo‘ list. Technically speaking I’ve still not done it in Tokyo but that’s just being pedantic! As I was staying for two nights I wanted a bit more comfort so paid a few hundred yen extra for a private capsule meaning I had a regular door with a tiny bit of space besides the bed area meaning that I didn’t have to use the lockers.
It was actually a comfortable bed but for some unknown reason I just didn’t sleep too well either night and I can’t even blame it on my fellow co-habitants making noise as it was more quiet than I expected.
These capsules are supposedly popular with Japanese businessmen who are too drunk or embarrassed to return home and I’m sure I heard somewhere that some men even rent them by the month to save on the cost of a regular place. Whilst both comfortable and enjoyable enough, and including most things that you need, a couple of nights was sufficient for me but now I’ve finally tried it I’ll be fine with experiencing it again should the occasion ever arise.
Click here to read ‘Okayama 2016 Pt II: Washuzan Highland Theme Park’