Capsule hotels in Japan can be an amazing experience if you know how to pick the right one to fit your needs. When traveling as a couple, it can be a little annoying to sleep in separate capsules or even on different floors in the same hotel, and unfortunately, this is what happens in most capsule hotels in Japan. Luckily, if you’re a couple that wants to absolutely try the capsule hotel experience in Japan, I have some good news for you.
Couples can stay in Japanese capsule hotels, yet there are not many capsule hotels in Japan that offer this possibility. For a couple stay, people should look for hotels with a double capsule, like Tokyo Kiba Hotel or some First Cabin hotels, but notice that the last one doesn’t really have capsules.
As you can see, there aren’t many chances of couples staying together at a capsule hotel in Japan for now, but let me give you a little more information about capsule hotels in Japan, mainly about Tokyo Kiba Hotel or the First Cabin hotels that accept couples.
What Are Capsule Hotels in Japan
When I first came across the information about capsule hotels, I was really excited because I never saw anything like that. I saw some cool pictures of these funny pods that looked like futuristic beds coming right out of a sci-fi movie, and I was like, “I have to try one of these!”. But then, I started doing some research and the magic disappeared a little. Even if as tourists we are tempted to try all the unusual things we can find in Japan, the capsule hotel experience should be carefully planned, at least most of them.
I would say that there are 2 types of capsule hotels: those that you see on TV and those that the Japanese people know.
If you ask the Japanese what they think about capsule hotels, their arguments will probably discourage you from even giving capsule hotels a try. In Japanese society, capsule hotels are usually meant for an overnight stay only and are used mainly by men, even though there have been some changes, and capsule hotels now have a floor dedicated to women. Also, some capsule hotels are women-only, but these are rarer for now.
If you watch a TV show about capsule hotels, they’ll sell it to you as an amazing futuristic place and an original type of accommodation, but you only see the best ones on TV. As with any type of accommodation, there’s a wide range of prices starting super cheap.
In the end, capsule hotels are usually just rows of pods glued to each other where you can easily hear the neighbor right next to you or even the one that is further away. These pods aren’t locked, and they aren’t meant to store your luggage. Even if you can stay in a capsule hotel several days in a row, they aren’t really meant for this.
There are a few exceptions, though. Luckily for us, tourists, Japan has everything covered and the capsule hotel concept is evolving fast. There are a few companies in Japan that are offering high-quality capsules, which attract more and more people. Nine Hours, First Cabin, Hotel Zen Tokyo, The Millenials are some of the best capsule hotels and the ones you should look up in the first place.
Sadly, even the best capsule hotels don’t offer capsules for couples, except a few of them, which I will talk about in the next paragraphs in more detail.
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Examples of Capsule Hotels For Couples
If you know a little about Japanese culture, you should know by now that the Japanese don’t show affection in public. Even if a capsule is not a public space, given the situation that you can hear almost every noise in the surrounding capsules, I guess you should keep the same discretion in a capsule as you should do in a public space (at least regarding noises).
As I told you before, capsule hotels are mainly designed for one overnight stay, so it is a little difficult to find capsule hotels for couples or even for a family with children. If you have kids already, you might want to check my previous article about capsule hotels for kids.
Does all this mean that if you’re not traveling alone you can’t experience capsule hotels? Of course not!
The easiest option, and the one that you will find more often, is to sleep in a mixed capsule hotel with women-only floor, but as you can imagine you will be sleeping on different floors. It’s not the ideal option, but at least you’re not sleeping in different hotels!
Don’t worry, I wouldn’t have written this article just to tell you that. 🙂
I’ve done some research to find you some hotels that allow couples to stay together, but, unfortunately, there aren’t many choices. Still, there are at least 3 hotels you can try for now.
I strongly believe that Japanese capsule hotels will continue to evolve to offer more options in the future, but, for the time being, let’s take a closer look at your options.
Tokyo Kiba Hotel
This capsule hotel is not the most modern, but at least you can stay in a capsule together as a couple, which is totally rare in Japan. But let me warn you, the capsules are quite small, so be prepared to stay still all night.
If you want to have an idea of what this hotel looks like, you can check the video below or see some photos on Kayak website. You’ll see that it is not the fanciest capsule hotel, but it definitely has the advantage of letting you sleep with your loved one.
First Cabin Hotel
First Cabin Hotels are luxury capsule hotels where the pods look like small luxury rooms and have a bigger comfort than standard pods. There are a few of these hotels throughout Japan, but mainly in Central Japan.
Although the First Cabin hotels offer special pods for more than one person, this is not the standard and only a few hotels have these. You will have to pick a facility that has the Premium Class cabin.
Here are the facilities with Premium Class cabins at the moment:
- First Cabin Niseko in Hokkaido prefecture: It has Premium Class Cabin (Double) with one twin bed (95 cm wide x 2) and one sofa bed (bed for 2 people) or Premium Class Cabin (Others) with 2 bunk beds and 1 sofa bed. Book on Kayak.com >>
- First cabin Kanazawa Hyakumangoku Dori in Ishikawa prefecture: It has Premium Class Cabin (Others) with a twin bed, and you can put futons in the tatami making this room usable by four people. Book on Kayak.com >>
- First Cabin Kyoto Nijo Castle in Kyoto: It has Premium Class Cabin (Others) with different possibilities in terms of beds, but it can be used by 6 people. Book on Kayak.com >>
I selected a video from a First Cabin hotel, but unfortunately, it only shows single cabins. At least, it will give you an idea of what to expect from this type of capsule hotel 🙂
Centurion Hostel Nara
Centurion Hotels are available in different places, but the only one that has cabins made for couples or families is the one in Nara. The concept of this hotel is pretty much the same as the First Cabin hotels.
In this hotel you’ll find 3 types of cabins:
- Family cabin with one double bed and one bunk bed (up to 4 people)
- Group cabin with two bunk beds (up to 4 people)
- Twin cabin with one bunk bed (up to 2 people)
On top of that, this hotel is extremely beautiful and surrounded by traditional Japanese landscapes.
Capsule Hotels Disadvantages For Couples
Before you leave, I must warn you about the disadvantages of capsule hotels. Although capsule hotels can be an amazing experience for tourists, there are some inconveniences worth knowing before you prepare for your travel.
I promise to make it short and simple so you can quickly move on and start looking for your hotel. 🙂
The most common disadvantages of capsule hotels are:
- Noise: This is the most important one. Capsule hotels are noisy because you’re sleeping in capsules that can’t even be locked most of the time. Common noises include snoring, alarm clocks, especially from 6 am to 8 am, and any other sound that a human body can produce. I really recommend getting some silicone ear plugs for sleeping, which you can easily find on Amazon. There are also some cheaper options like foam ear plugs, if you prefer.
- Lack of intimacy: It is impossible to be intimate in a capsule hotel. The only private space is your capsule and there’s no sound insulation. There rest are common spaces, but, as you know, the Japanese don’t show affection in public, so you might get some weird looks. (Check my Japanese Etiquette for first-time travelers for more information)
- Hard to relax: Since capsule hotels are meant for an overnight stay, there’s a lot of movement in the hotel. There will be people entering at different hours, so you will probably hear them walking in the corridor until they find their pod (plus all the noises I’ve told you before). If you have light sleep, get your sleeping pills with you and if you don’t have them, you might want to take a look at these Melatonin gummies available on Amazon that you just have to chew 30 minutes before bed.
- No place for your belongings: Usually there’s not much room in capsule hotels, and you only have a locker to keep your luggage (and be careful because if your luggage doesn’t fit in the locker, you’ll have to leave it at the front desk).
- Lack of privacy: Besides your capsule, the rest of the hotel is all about shared areas (shared baths, too). If you’re looking for privacy during your stay, you will have to forget about the capsule hotel.
Hopefully, now you’ll have a clearer idea of what to expect regarding capsule hotels for couples in Japan. Basically, there aren’t many available for now, but still, there are some options if you’re traveling as a couple.
If you really want the pod experience, you have to go to Tokyo Kiba Hotel, although it’s not that modern and fancy. Otherwise, you can switch to the cabin experience at some First Cabin hotels (Niseko, Kanazawa Hyakumangoku Dori or Kyoto Nijo Castle) and Centurion Hotel in Nara.
For some modern and cool pods, try looking for a Nine hours hotel, but you will have to stay at separated floors because there are men-only and women-only floors.
So, what will be your type of capsule hotel?