I had only rented my serviced apartment in Tokyo for the month of August, but I was flying back to Los Angeles on September 4th, so I needed to stay in hotels for the last couple of days before heading back home. One of the hotels I decided to stay in was the Green Plaza Capsule Hotel in Shinjuku. I had heard about capsule hotels before going to Japan and they seemed like such as strange idea that I thought it would be interesting to try one for a night to see what it was like.
The idea behind a capsule hotel is that main reason you stay in a hotel is to sleep. So a capsule hotel pushes that idea to the extreme, instead of a room, you just have a bed inside a small compartment, about 6 feet deep, 3 feet wide and 3 feet tall. The idea is similar to hostels, but instead of a bunch of people all sharing one big room, everyone has their own little capsule.
Most capsule hotels are located near busy train stations. In Japan the trains and subways only run until about midnight, so it’s fairly easy to miss the last train home if your out with friends and not paying attention to the time. Since many people live quite a ways from central Tokyo, it could be a very expensive taxi ride home. At about $45 for the night, the capsule hotel makes for a cheaper alternative.
Rows of capsules. I'm not sure how many capsule there were in total, but each floor had a bunch of hallways, all lined with capsules.
I'm 6 feet 1 inch tall and I just fit into the capsule. When I laid down my head touched the back wall and my feet touched the curtain
There's really no door in the capsules, just a curtain that you can pull down, so you can hear people walking down the hallway or snoring. Each capsule has it's own build in TV and radio.
The Green Plaze Capsule Hotel in Shinjuku Japan. The hotel was not super obvious to find, I walked by it twice before realizing this was it.
Once I fond the capsule hotel, it was still a little tricky to actually get to the check in lobby. You first had to take the stairs down to the basement.
Once in the basement, you had to find the elevator in the back of the building and go to the 4th floor where the men's hotel lobby was. Women's lobby was on the 8th floor. Men and women are completely separated by floors.
The sign says the people with poor posture are not allowed. Actually, like most Onsen, you're not allowed to use this hotel if you have tattoos.
Once you get to the hotel's lobby, there are little lockers for your shoes. You first put your shoes in them. Then when you check in, you give the front desk your shoe locker key. When you check out or want to leave the hotel, you have to pay for any food you purchased in the hotel before getting your shoes back.
When you check in you're given a wrist band with a key for a clothes locker and a Japanese robe to wear while in the Hotel. On the backside of the wristband is a bar-code that can be used to buy food from vending machines or the hotel restaurant. Whatever you purchase in the hotel is automatically added to your bill
You change into the robe they gave you when you checked in and put your clothes in your locker.
Since, one of the main clients for capsule hotels are people who stayed out too late and missed the last train home, there's a little store where you can buy whatever you need to go into work the next morning.
The hotels had vending machines, a restaurant, TV rooms, a massage room and an onsen. You could buy food or drinks from the restaurant or vending machines by having the bar-code on your wristband scanned. You then pay for everything when you check out.
Everything you needed to stay overnight was supplied. Here's a bunch of toothbrushes.
Overall my experience in the capsule hotel was pretty interesting. But, I didn’t really get a good nights sleep, the bed was just a thin cushion over the hard bottom of the capsule, so it was not very comfortable, but actually being in the capsule didn’t really bother me.