10 Tips for Capsule Hotels in Japan
There are a large diversity of capsule hotels in Japan. Originally meant for businessmen getting out of work too late for the trains, they are now a serious tourist staple accommodation. Combining cost and location is perfect for the backpacker or people wanting to keep costs down. A practical place for the night. But not for those looking for luxury.
Do you have an interest in a certain one? If not remember, the cheaper one is usually cheaper for a reason. Tourists like capsule hotels because they are almost always cheaper than any kind of hotel. If you book ahead you can often great discounts. So go for a nicer quality capsule hotel. Book it far enough ahead and you’ll get a great price at a great place.
Safety wise, don’t be concerned about luggage. Safety in Japan is great and I've never experienced an issue in Japan with luggage. Funny quick story, I left some groceries on a bike parking lot meter. Once I realized an hour later, I went back and they were still sitting there nicely even though a line of people were standing right in front of them to pay. Just be smart and you'll be fine. All hotels (capsule hotels included) are familiar and conscientious when holding luggage.
All capsule hotels will be able to hold your luggage there before check in or after check out or during the stay if what you have doesn't fit in the locker they provide. If you need to keep your luggage by the front desk during your stay, you'll need to go down to the lobby whenever you want something. I'd recommend using their locker if it all fits. If not, separate out the frequent items you'll need and leave the rest by the front desk.
My best experiences have been in 9 hours capsule hotel (a few different locations-pretty clean, well priced, good walking locations, and quiet. My worst experience was in a capsule hotel close to Tsukiji fish market- TV's inside the capsule mean a different kind of clientele, still quiet, bath area wasn't as clean and was super small. Since the Tsukiji fish market has moved to Toyosu most people probably won’t be visiting that capsule hotel anyway.
They will require a copy of your passport (just like all hotels will)
And for a different capsule hotel other than 9 hours, do your research. Many capsule hotels don't allow women and are for businessmen only.
Capsule Hotels will often offer free toiletries and a pair of pajamas/slippers. So you don’t need to get out your PJ’s and large shampoo bottle from your big checked bag, unless you really want to.
Most capsule hotels will have an onsen area on the shower floor somewhere for bathing. It can be great for people.
Ask about renting a bicycle. Capsule hotels normally have loaner bikes for free or a nominal fee. And the fact that capsule hotels are normally in a good walking distance to other sights makes it a perfect time to rent a bicycle. Just be sure to ask the front desk staff for a map and ask about any areas where bikes aren’t allowed.
Be quiet on the sleeping/capsule level. Being respectful in Japan is much appreciated by locals just as much as other foreigners trying to get some needed rest.
Enjoy the adventure!