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A fish-eye view of the city

Photo by Rudy Letsche on

What’s that thing sitting next to the other buildings, like so many little tissue boxes stacked up on each other? Let’s ditch the fish-eye perspective and take a better look.

Those are some expensive tissue-boxes

Photo by Guilhem Vellut on

Hmmm, it still just looks kind of like a some kind of weird sculpture to me, as if a giant kid built a sand castle and stood back to admire it or something.

I see you!

Photo by Michael Francis McCarthy on

But if we look verrrrry closely, we can see little holes in the boxes, almost as if…wait! Could those be WINDOWS? My gosh, this is even stranger than stacks of tissue boxes or a sandcastle built by a giant kid! It must be a CAPSULE HOTEL! Let’s check inside and see what these odd little sleeping pods are all about.

Don’t throw your wash inside by accident

Photo by Ben Hanbury on

As for as I can see, capsule hotels are built with two objectives: 1) to conserve space, and 2) to provide a low cost, low maintenance alternative to more expensive business hotels. On the one hand, you save your wallet. On the other hand, you’ll have to sleep in something that looks like a washing machine and is not, truth to tell, much bigger. And you may not like the person sleeping on top/below/beside you, either. But beggars can’t be choosers!

Photo by kimishowata on

OK, so the washing machine part was a bit of an exaggeration. This guy seems to “fit in” quite nicely; maybe he’s a capsule hotel veteran. Let’s take a closer look at the “amenities,” shall we?

Photo by Kojach on

So there’s a TV mounted just within eyeshot, and a nifty little control panel that I assume allows you mastery over your heating/cooling/television/video domain. I’m not sure about Internet access; I would guess that depends on the place.

Good luck reaching your phone!

Photo by MrHicks46 on

There’s also a phone in this particular capsule, which I guess comes in handy when you get claustrophobic and have to call the manager to let you out of your capsule, which you locked from the outside by mistake. You realize I’m just kidding about that last part, right?

Try the communal baths…if you dare

Photo by Kojach on

And for those of you worried about bathing in the box, have no fear–many capsule hotels have a bath use option attached. A warning, though: The baths will most likely be communal. Of course, guys and gals will have separate spaces. Sorry, guys.

You can go lower…but why?

Photo by David Lisbona on

As I mentioned earlier, staying in a capsule hotel can save you quite a bit of dough–this one advertises at 2,700 yen per room, or just under 30 bucks. Using the sauna will cost you a bit extra. Truth be told, I’ve seen less expensive capsule hotels in my time–but how low do you want to go? You want to be kind to yourself as well as your wallet, so choose carefully and keep safe, kids.

Objects in mirror are more cramped than they appear

Photo by Masakazu Matsumoto on

Some capsule hotels are nicer than others…some are downright seedy, and some are squeaky-clean and futuristic. Staying in a capsule hotel is an interesting experience, but I wouldn’t make it a habit! If you do go, take some friends with you and try to rent out capsules in the same space. At least that way, you’ll know who’s sleeping beside you!

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