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6 Things to Know Before You Stay in a Japanese Capsule Hotel

Japan has a lot of cool, unique lodging options for travelers. Capsule hotels are one of the most popular ones because they're convenient and affordable. Read on to learn more about what you need to know about these weird but fabulous places to stay!

What are capsule hotels?

Capsule hotels are a type of accommodation that became popular in Japan in the 1970s.

The inside of a capsule hotel is similar to a hostel or dormitory room. There are rows of capsules, and each capsule has a bed, pillow, and blanket. Some capsule hotels also have TV sets and radios inside the capsules

Capsule hotels are becoming increasingly popular with foreign travelers to Japan. They are often featured in travel shows and magazines. These hotels are usually located in busy urban areas, near train stations or airports, making them ideal for travelers. This makes them convenient for travelers who want to be close to the action.

Let's take a look at the six things you need to know.

1. They are budget-friendly.

Capsule hotels typically charge by the hour or by the night. Rates can vary depending on the location and amenities, but they are generally very affordable. Capsule hotels are a great option for budget-minded travelers who don't mind sharing a space with other people.

Many people discover that capsule hotels are indeed typically much cheaper than traditional hotels. Since they are budget-friendly, they end up as a great option for national and international travelers who want to save money on accommodations. You can even find hostel-type capsule hotels which are usually smaller and the most economical.

2. Amenities such as showers, bathrooms, and changing rooms are communal.

Since the capsule area is for sleeping only, it is no surprise that there are many communal areas. While capsule hotels are not as luxurious as traditional hotels, they still offer everything you need for a comfortable stay. The shared bathrooms and showers are separated for women and men, while most other communal areas are used by everyone.

Depending on the size of the capsule hotel, the communal areas can be located on different floors. Some additional communal areas can be lounges, massage areas, cafeterias, and even indoor hot springs. Many times you'll be given a robe and slippers you can wear around the communal areas while you are lounging or relaxing.

3. Usually, capsules for men and women and separated.

It is important to keep in mind who you are traveling with before you book a stay at a capsule hotel. You may or may not be able to stay with them during the night. Most capsule hotels will have separate capsule areas for men and women and larger ones will even have them on separate floors.

You might even find some men-only capsule hotels which are geared toward Japanese salarymen needing a place to stay. There are also some women-only capsule hotels as well. These gender-specific capsule hotels aren't the majority, but make sure to check the hotel out before you plan your stay.

4. You might not be able to enter your capsule between checkout and check-in hours.

If you are thinking of staying in a capsule hotel, be sure to research the specific hotel you are considering. Some capsule hotels have strict rules about guests, such as no smoking or no loud noise after 10 pm.

The capsule area is meant for sleeping only, so the capsules are cleaned and the linens are changed daily between check-out and check-in times. Since guests check out and new guests check in daily, it would be too difficult to only clean the capsules for new guests and work around those staying longer, so it is required that all guests leave the capsule areas for everything to be cleaned.

Many guests staying at capsule hotels usually only stay for a day or two and have things to do during the day, so it usually isn't a problem, however, while traveling, make sure you are aware of the rules of the capsule hotel before you book your stay.

5. They are a great way to experience Japanese culture.

In a country where space is a commodity, it is no wonder that capsule hotels are so popular. Like many budget-minded Japanese travelers who are looking for a good option and do not need a lot of space, capsule hotels are the way to go. Since they are located close to the action in a busy city, you'll have plenty of opportunities to mingle with the locals.

When Japanese workers travel throughout the country for work, they usually plan on staying at capsule hotels over traditional hotels. It's hard to beat the convenience and price when workers only need to stay a night or two. They are also used by young people who have been out drinking and need a place to crash for the night. You'll even see the business travelers who have missed their last train home. So, don't be surprised if you meet some friendly locals at the hotel itself!

Staying at a capsule hotel is a very Japanese thing to do. So, what better way to experience Japanese culture than by living as many Japanese people do?

Nakagin Capsule Tower Tokyo

6. Beware the heavy sleepers and loud snorers!

In general, the capsule area is a quiet area. It is not only out of courtesy but it is a written rule as well. Even though everyone follows the rule of being quiet, it is the unintentional noise you must be wary of.

Since everyone is close together in their capsules, noises can be heard by everyone in the section. Loud snorers can be quite disruptive to some people. Some people are unaware that they even snore, For this reason, many capsule hotel veterans always pack a set of earplugs just in case.

The second most common unexpected noise problem is the unending alarm clock! Alarm clocks going off at different times can be a nuisance when someone in your area sleeps right through it. It's not so bad when an alarm goes off and the person takes care of it right away. This is what usually happens and most people even have their volume low so it won't disturb many people. Despite the sometimes unexpected noises, staying at a capsule hotel is a great experience and you should not let that deter you from staying at one.

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