Japan, Lifestyle

Staying at a Capsule Inn in Tokyo

While traveling to Tokyo, I’ve decided to find accommodations that were less expensive so to save money for public transportation and food. Having stayed in economy hotels in the past, and even the Hardy Barracks, I decided to give a capsule hotel a try. After all, it is Tokyo.

I booked a three-night stay at Capsule Inn Hamamatsucho. It’s about two blocks away from the Hamamatsucho Station, the terminal for the Tokyo Monorail to Haneda Airport. I took the monorail, asked a nice gentleman working at the station for directions, and walked to the hotel. Luckily, I was able to read katakana and was easily able to spot the unique building on the corner of a busy intersection in Minato.

If you’re looking for a high-end hotel, this definitely wasn’t it. I’ve never stayed at a hostel, so I can’t make any comparisons. I paid around ¥2650 a night before taxes, and to be fair, I was paying for convenience. This is definitely one of those never-judge-a-book-by-its-cover situations. When I first walked in to check-in, I took off my shoes and met with the clerk at the counter. The tiny front office smelled of cigarette smoke, had a few lounging chairs, and lockers for your shoes. Even with a bit of a language barrier, it was obvious who I was, since I was the only non-Japanese guest staying at the hotel. The clerk was kind enough to give me a local map and offered to hold my bags in the front office, which became standard practice for me throughout my stay.

As a woman often traveling solo, I felt that the Capsule Inn was a very safe place to stay. While these types of hotels cater towards men, there was a women’s only floor with a shared bathroom and washroom. The women’s floor also had a shower room, while the men had a Japanese style public bath. The amenities were simple: a yukata, or bathrobe, a face towel, and a toothbrush. In the evenings when I came back from my daily adventures, the clerk would grab my bag for me and hand me my robe and towel before I headed upstairs. Again, it was simple, but I did enjoy the little traditional Japanese touches.

The capsules themselves were actually pretty cool! There were 16 units per floor with two units stacked on top of each other. The units were about the size of a twin bed, enough to fit one person comfortably. The units did not have locks or doors but instead had a pull-down screen for privacy. Each unit had a light, a mirror, a radio, and a small tv with one channel. Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi in the building didn’t work in the units but I was so tired by the end of the day, I just fell asleep. Keeping quiet in the units was the hardest part since you don’t really have a room to yourself. I made it a habit to change and freshen up in the washroom since it was roomier and I didn’t have to worry about making noise. Once I was ready to go, I dropped my bags off downstairs, picked up my shoes, and carried on for the day.

The Capsule Inn was in a great location if you plan on staying in Tokyo for cheap. There was a Family Mart convenience store on the corner, a small coffee shop across the street, and Daimon Station was easily accessible. It’s also walking distance from Zojo-ji Temple, Tokyo Tower, and Hibiya Park just to name a few attractions. The streets are lined with restaurants and it’s very safe to wander around both in the daytime and at night. Not sure yet if I’d stay at this location again or try something different next time I visit Tokyo, but I’d recommend it because of the convenience, the pricing, and the wonderful and friendly clerks at the front desk helping me every day.

Would you ever stay at a capsule hotel? Why or why not? Please share!

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