First I was afraid, I was petrified. And then it was alright actually.
It’s necessary to spend at least one night in a capsule hotel if you visit Tokyo or Japan: to overcome the fear that it looks for all the world like a morgue without gurney tables, and to come out the other side a better person for it.
It’s either a morgue or the recovery area at a vets, it’s difficult to decide. But, despite its kind of scary appearance it was ok. The capsule was on a women-only floor on the 8th floor of a hotel in Shinjuku, central Tokyo. It was also only a five minute walk from Shinjuku subway station.
The place is spotless. The 185cm long pods have a TV and a panel with a light, alarm and socket. It’s all you need. I felt like I was back in the campervan. The bathrooms have complimentary toothbrushes and other toiletries. Again, spotless.
You get a towel and slippers to use during your stay. The whole shoe thing is a bit complicated. You take them off, put in a locker, take that locker key to reception to receive your room key, which in turn you hand over for a slip of paper if you go out. Basically your shoes are your deposit for the key. Not so hard to remember to hand it back in at checkout if the alternative is walking out in your socks.
One downside is that the pod and luggage locker need to be vacated every day, even if you are staying for several days because you are allocated a new room and locker each time. No problem for me because I was flying the next day.
Another slightly odd thing is seeing all male guests wandering around the communal 4th dining/kitchen/social area or in the lifts wearing blue dressing gowns, which look like they’ve been borrowed from a high security hospital ward. Online reviews suggest the male rooms can be noisy at night. The ladies were quiet as mice (I crept in quite late after karaokeing so perhaps it was busier earlier). The pods are closed with slide-down blinds, but I couldn’t hear any noise outside.
There’s free wifi on the communal and 8th floor. All sorts of people looked to be guests, from travellers to business people in suits. The subway stops at midnight so a night in a pod is maybe a useful overnighter.
I’d use a pod again, but maybe not for a few nights in a row because of the check in check out daily procedure. It was an experience. But one which shouldn’t be preceded by a viewing of “The Vanishing”.
Kuyakoshu Mae Capsule Hotel, Shinjuku
3300¥ per night (24€) – booked on Agoda