What is a capsule hotel?

December 23, 2014

With the costs of travel on the rise, people are looking for new ways to save money when travelling, whether it be for business or pleasure. There are many online services that offer last minute deals and discount hotels, but some of the businesses in the hotel industry have introduced a unique solution: capsule hotels. Capsule hotels are very convenient for anyone that needs a place to stay, but could do without all of the space and amenities offered by traditional hotels.

What is a capsule hotel?

The concept

The concept of the capsule hotel was conceived and introduced in Japan, but it is slowly being adopted worldwide. Capsule hotels are typically far cheaper than other hotels, costing approximately $25 to $50 per night. Visitors sleep in a very small, but otherwise comfortable capsule. Most capsule hotels offer free high speed internet access, a television, and communal bathroom. Eating is usually not allowed within the capsule, but vending machines are available in the common areas.

Although capsule hotels are popular for foreign travellers, in Japan, they are also very common for local residents, especially those who've had a night out and visit the hotel as a safe and affordable alternative to finding a way home at night. Male guest are far more common than female guests, but hotels that offer separate female-only divisions are becoming more common.

Thinking of staying at a capsule hotel? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Checking in

When you check in, you’ll likely be given a wristband that identifies your capsule number, and holds a key to your locker where you can store your belongings during your stay. You should always be sure to lock your things, because anything kept outside of your capsule will not only get in the way of other guests, it will also be at risk of theft.

Shoes off

At most capsule hotels, shoes must be removed. When you arrive, there will be lockers or cubbyholes to put them in. Slippers will be provided for your stay at the hotel.

Comfort wear

At a capsule hotel, you won’t be judged for wearing sweatpants or a robe. In fact, they’ll likely give you one or the other to change into on your way in.


Capsule hotels have communal bathing facilities, split by gender. You will be bathing with strangers, so keep in mind that in Japan, you’ll be expected to wash your hair and body when you get in the bath.

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