2003年09月29日 月曜日

Tokyo's Luxury Capsule Hotels

by Justin Hall


My friends and I had wanted to stay in the Shibuya Mark Excel Tokyu Hotel, just above the Shibuya station. It's a business hotel super - nice rooms, some small bit of modern style, and broadband internet. But instead we chose that hotel's more expensive cousin, the Cerulean Tower Tokyu Hotel, an odd walk over pedestrian bridges. We had a 34th floor room, a corner twin. Softest sheets, broadband internet, windows on two sides of the room facing Ebisu and Shibuya. Tokyo Tower shone in the distance on clear days and nights. The bathroom was covered in granite. I bought 3000 yen worth of flavored bubble baths ("latte bath" was a hit) at Don Kihote; each of us save one took our nightly turn overlooking the glimmering lights of Tokyo, bubble bathing in a beautiful view.

So it was not without some regret that I shouldered my bag and took off for the nearest capsule hotel, the Capsule Land Shibuya. This was September, the air was pleasant. Was it already eighhteen months ago that I was living in these tiny plastic slot hotels night after night?

capsulelandshibuya-sm.jpgWhen I was a young writer travelling through Tokyo, I found the cheapest resting places to be Capsule Hotels - commuter crash pads. Modern for the 1970s, the plastic tubes of Tokyo offer a chance to spend a night in the hippest neighborhoods for under US$40, and still shower in the morning. I had forgotten what a magical sense of privacy there is in your tiny curtained pod, playing your GameBoy maybe, or watching TV, while a dozen other men slept above, below and around you in a small room subdivided by coffins. This time I forgot to turn on my air conditioning - the loud fan is a welcome buffer for coughing, cell phones and stumbling bunkmates.

I also forgot how thin these capsule mattresses are - I alternated bruising one hip or the other. Awake earlier than expected in the morning, I fantastized about building a post-modern capsule system. It would start with internet connections, and perhaps a way to lock your little room with your media toys in it. A thicker mattress, capsules slightly longer than six feet, ample luggage storage and no smoking floors. Signs in Japanese, signs in English. Berths for men, berths for women. I wouldn't mind paying a wee bit more for those amenities.

Japan is currently spending millions of dollars to promote internal tourism. Part of their media campaign will work to counter the perception that Japan is an expensive country to visit. Meanwhile an impressive crop of new luxury hotels like the Cerulean are opening all over Tokyo. That's fine for established business people with expense accounts. But if you want to attract a young writers, artists and thinkers who will describe Japan to their friends and families and small web sites back at home, how about encouraging the development of hip, cheap, luxury capsule hotels?

Posted by Justin Hall at 2003年09月29日 04:21


I just spend 3 weeks backpacking Japan.
Why stay In Capsule Hotels when you can get your own room cheaper ?

try Hotel New Koyo (2500 yen, 22.5$) <a href="http://www.newkoyo.jp">http://www.newkoyo.jp

or Hotel New Azuma(2900 yen, 26$ ) <a href="http://www.gcc-web.net/azuma/">http://www.gcc-web.net/azuma/</a>

the rooms are traditional Japanese with tatami mats, futon bedding, TV and Air conditioning

Easydorm (EasyJet) are now building similar type of hotel in London (A central London bed from �5 a night) <a href="http://www.easydorm.com">www.easydorm.com</a>

2- junko

heard you moved to Tokyu Stay. How is that Justin?

It's awesome, fantastic Junko! I think it's my near luxury-capsule solution. <a href="http://www.tokyustay.co.jp/">Tokyu Stay</a> has a series of inexpensive efficiency apartments strewn across Tokyo. For around US$ 100 per night, you get a small room with a fridge, microwave and washing machine/dryer. The best part? Free, fast internet.

If you're going to be in Tokyo for five days or more, and you want to pack light, it's the perfect solution. DIY laundry. It's cheap in part because the decor is completely boring and the furniture is durable, not comfortable. There's maid service once a week, so you have to be neater than in normal hotel. But for $100, you can stay within walking distance of Shibuya station! Fantastic!

4- phil

Just got back from a trip to Japan a few weeks ago. I stayed at the Cerulean in Shibaura (next to NEC headquarters), and it was swank, swank, swank. The corner room I had on the 16th floor was wonderful. Of course it cost a pretty penny.

In Hiroshima I stayed at <A href="http://www.greens.co.jp/hehiro/">Hotel ECONO</a>. This was a bargain: 5500 yen for a single, breakfast included, and free wireless internet throughout the building. And walking distance to Peace Park/Museum.

I'm a big fan of capsule hotels. When I lived in Gifu, I'd fly out of Kansai when I'd go on vacation. I'd take the train down to Osaka in the afternoon/evening, check into the capsule hotel in Namba, and go out for food, movies, game centers, pachinko--then come back to the capsules, sleep for a few hours, and get up to catch my plane out. Great way to unwind before a vacation. And the capsule hotel was pretty new and nice. Yay.

5- Dave

I am trying to find out who manufacturers hotel capsules. If anyone knows, please email me at dtripster1@hotmail.com


I came across your post while trying to find something on the internet. I've heard of those, hotels. The idea of a luxury version, seems very intresting. Not just for Japan. It might have uses in other country as well.

There might be a bit of a cultural shock, but I can imagine a youth hostel where the rooms are filled with those coffins. It would mean that more people can stay there, if necessary then is the case now.

The coffin like thing might have more applications. One is eventually in space travel, but alos in airplanes, trains and so on.

Depending on how sturdy they are build, they could be used for several things. But for a luxury version, better make them soundproof enough.

A perfect blossom, they are rare.

7- genna

I am trying to do some research on these hotels. I am an interior design student and we have to come up with a business idea. I think this would be good for a place like new york but i am having trouble convincing my partners that the culture shock wouldn't be to much.

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