Exploring Japan: Affordable Overnight Stays and Amenities in Tight-Fit Capsule Hotels

Capsule hotels, also known as pod hotels, are a common sight in most Japanese cities. They are popular for overnight stays due to their affordability, with prices ranging from ¥3000 to ¥4000. Despite my claustrophobia and dislike for communal bathrooms, I decided to experience staying in one during my recent trip to Kyoto.

Before choosing my capsule, I conducted thorough research. I am particular about hotel cleanliness and location. Therefore, I checked various travel sites like Hotels.com, Agoda, Kayak, Booking, Trivago, and others. I also read reviews, mapped locations, and looked into amenities of each capsule hotel. After several hours, I settled on the First Cabin Capsule Hotel in Kawaramachi Sanjo.

Capsule Hotels differ significantly. They resemble hostels as you share all facilities except the bed. However, the pod itself and common areas vary from hotel to hotel. Some are like fabric-covered bunk beds while others resemble stacked cubby holes with mattresses. The pods at First Cabin are not stacked, providing more room than many other capsule hotels. My pod was as wide as a twin bed and about six feet tall. It also included a TV, temperature control, two plugs, and a secure compartment for valuables. While the pod didn’t have a door, it had a shade that provided privacy. The hotel also offers mini-suites referred to as first-class cabins.

My main concerns were safety and noise, but neither was an issue at First Cabin. Rooms and floors are gender-separated for safety reasons. The sleeping areas require key cards for access and it’s a noise-free zone. Guests must use headphones for music or TV and phone conversations are discouraged.

The shared spaces at First Cabin were impressive. The lobby has sofas, a large table for socializing, and a bar offering beers and cocktails. The hotel also hosts special events offering free food or drinks. The bathroom facilities were satisfactory, with each floor having sinks, toilets, and vanities. There’s also a gender-separated shower area on one floor, complete with body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and other amenities.

Most guests at capsule hotels only stay for one or two nights. However, I stayed for five nights and felt comfortable. The small space didn’t bother me, the amenities were excellent, and the staff was wonderful. I managed to book a business-class cabin for only $20 per night, which was great value for money. I would definitely consider staying in a capsule hotel again and I highly recommend you try one too.

Source: japan.stripes.com

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