More than a capsule...

Posted on February 9, 2013 by Toothpicker There have been 2 comment(s)

capsule hotelcapsule hotel


I would say that I am an adventurous traveler and am always willing to try something new. When planning my business/ leisure trip to Japan, due to my late arrival time, I had the option of taking the night bus from Tokyo to Kyoto or staying overnight in Tokyo and then taking the Shinkansen the next morning.

When I found out about the new concept/ capsule-style hotel, First Cabin at Haneda airport, I was keen to try it out as I have never stayed at a capsule hotel before and it would be more convenient to stay overnight at the airport and travel onwards in the morning.


capsule hotelcapsule hotel


The hotel offers two types of cabins ( business or first class), different rates for day or overnight stay, and it forbids children under 12 years of age. When I made the booking online, the business class cabins ( the capsule-sized) were fully booked, so I paid a bit extra for the first class cabin.

Located in the domestic terminal of the airport, I took a free shuttle to get to the hotel, which seems to attract more Japanese than foreigners. The check-in process was smooth and quick, and I was given a badge to enter the female area, which lead me to another door where rows of cabins are organised into different sections.


capsule hotelcapsule hotel


When I reached my cabin, I was quite excited by what I saw... the cabin is roomier than I expected and it is very clean. There is a flat screen TV with headphones ( you can only watch it with them on), electrical outlets, a large drawer with lock for valuables, towels, lounge wear and slippers. The only odd thing is that you cannot lock the cabin, so I had to lock everything in the locker, but it felt pretty safe as you can leave the light on with the screen door closed and no one would know that you are not in the cabin.

Outside of the cabin section is where the female communal toilets, showers and bath are located. And if you feel hungry or can't sleep, you can go to the lounge area next to the reception where you will find computers ( there is also free wi-fi throughout the premise), newspapers and vending machines where you can enjoy your midnight feast or night cap...


capsule hotelcapsule hotel


Overall, I was pretty satisfied with my overnight stay at this modernised capsule hotel, though it may not suit the light sleepers ( and I am not one of them), yet I was woken up at 5 am by other travelers who were eager to leave. And when I left my cabin at around 8 am, all the cabins in my section were already empty!

I think this concept is great for travelers who are in transits or are stuck at the airport because of flight delays or cancellations, but I wouldn't really want to spend more than one night here. Here are the pros and cons from my experience:

Pros: convenient, clean, comfortable, safe, with good amenities and more reasonably priced than other airport hotels.

Cons: due to the central heating system ( and without windows), meant that it can be quite dehydrating; the toilets are located slightly far from the cabins; also I could hear my neighbour snoring and rattling in the morning.

Since its first launch in 1979, capsule hotels have evolved over the years, now you can even find them outside of Japan like Yotel, founded by Simon Woodroffe ( founder of Yo! sushi) and Gerard Greene since 2007, Woke home in Singapore and Sleepbox in Moscow. And in Kyoto, two rather unusual capsule hotels can be found: Capsule ryokan Kyoto, which targets backpackers who want to experience a traditional ryokan but cannot afford to; and Nine hours, a futuristic design capsule hotel that targets travelers who seek the ultimate "cool Japan" experience.


9 hours capsule hotel in Kyoto by Monocle



This post was posted in Japanese design, Tokyo, Travel, Anything Japanese, Japan and was tagged with Tokyo, Japanese designs, capsule hotel, Japan

2 Responses to More than a capsule...

  • Xin Yi says:

    Hello! Was reading about the reviews for this hotel and stumbled upon your blog. I made my booking with this hotel as well, for my upcoming trip in August, but i was not asked for any reservation fee or credit card number. Was it the same for you when you made your booking? Am wondering will the booking be legit since no payment was made...

    Posted on July 8, 2014 at 4:03 am

  • Hi, I don't remember exactly but I vaguely recall paying the total when I arrived at the hotel. I think if you have a reservation number, you can email and ask them directly. I don't want to advise you when I am not 100% sure about this. Good luck!

    Posted on July 9, 2014 at 11:07 pm