The idea of the “pod” hotel, and similarly the “capsule” variant, is a Japanese invention that appeared on the scene as long ago as 1979. Since then, similar hotels have opened around the world offering basic but cheap accommodation to travellers who wanted somewhere to stay while travelling light and didn’t want to pay the often exorbitant costs of larger hotel rooms. However, the innovators of this concept are still the best, and visitors to Tokyo can sleep comfortably and soundly in some of the finest bed-sized rooms after a day, seeing sights such as the Imperial Palace or shopping in the iconic Ginza district. Check into one of these pod and capsule hotels in and near Tokyo Station, and you’ll have a restful night’s sleep, waking up ready to see the city and its countless attractions.
In the Chiyoda section of Tokyo, this neat capsule hotel offers a place for voyagers to get their heads down for a night in comfort and style. The pods are lined up side-by-side over two layers, and within the hotel, there are plenty of vending machines for food and drink, shared bathrooms, and free Wi-Fi. An on-site business centre also allows for the free use of computers and printers. One word of warning; this hotel is for male visitors only.
This capsule hotel is located just eight minutes’ walk from Shinbashi station and allows accommodation for guests male and female (albeit on separate levels of the hotel). It features a shared lounge, as well as shared toilets and bathrooms, and each bedroom has a USB port, useful for charging phones and other digital equipment. Food and drink are available from on-site vending machines, and on the ground floor of the property, there is also a convenience store for guests’ use.
Tokyo Ginza BAY HOTEL
Address: Chuo-ku, Ginza 7-13-15
Price: from 35 USD
If you’re on the lookout for something a little more opulent than the average pod hotel, then the Shinjuku Kuyakusho-mae Capsule Hotel will fit your needs admirably. Each pod has its own TV, and there is a restaurant on site serving a set menu of Japanese food for breakfast and dinner. The popular Isetan department store is just five minutes’ walk away in the busy Kabukicho district, and if you want to take a pleasant stroll then the nearby Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden is within easy walking distance.
Although the Capsule Hotel Shibuya is somewhat limited in terms of dining options - you’ll need to go to one of the many nearby bars or restaurants to enjoy a meal. There is plenty of luxury for male guests who can enjoy one of the hot tubs or saunas here. There are also plenty of massage chairs, and you can request a massage in the spa area. In your own pod, you’ll have access to a TV and radio, and the shared bathroom areas also provide free toiletries and kimono-style yukata robes.
Capsule Hotel Shibuya
Address: Shibuya-ku Dogenzaka 1-19-14
Guests at the First Cabin Tsukiji will be delighted with the level of convenience - all that you need is under one roof, and with pods available for both male and female guests, it’s a very welcoming hotel. There is an on-site cafe-bar which offers breakfast, light meals throughout the day, and drinks at night, and a 24-hour shared bathing area. Each room has a flat-screen TV, and robes and slippers are provided. The Tsukiji subway station is just a minute away on foot, and you’ll be in the heart of the pleasant, clean Chuo ward of the city.
First Cabin Tsukiji
Address: Chuo-ku Tsukiji 2-11-10
Price: from 54 USD
As with most First Cabin properties, the emphasis here is on comfort and functionality, something this hotel offers in spades. Each room has a mattress and a flat-screen TV, and there are separate male and female floors, each with its own locked security door. Four minutes away by train you’ll find Ryugoku, with the National Sumo Stadium a popular attraction, and within the hotel, there is a cafe serving light breakfasts. Quick snacks and drinks can be purchased from vending machines, and there are private showers and a public bath area.
Glansit Akihabara is the perfect capsule hotel for people who want to kick the luxury up a few notches. Aimed at an international crowd, this hotel offers microwaves and hair dryers in each room, serves a full American breakfast, and each room also comes with a wardrobe. Friendly bilingual staff speak Japanese and English, and each room offers free WiFi access. Sight-seeing opportunities within 3 km (2 miles) include the Imperial Palace and National Sumo Stadium, while the Tokyo Skytree is also a short journey away.
Address: Chiyoda-ku Sotokanda 4-4-6
Price: from 35 USD
Each of the capsules at this male-only hotel come with flat-screen TVs, power sockets and free headphones, making it an ideal place to rest and relax after a day’s sight-seeing or on a business trip. The hotel is in the heart of Akihabara electric town and there are plenty of little add-ons that make it a cut above the average capsule hotel, including complimentary drinks machines, massage chairs and on-demand TV channels in each room. In this hotel, you’ll also be a mere five-minute subway ride away from the Tokyo Dome, an all-purpose stadium and consumer centre.
This hotel is just 10 minutes on foot from the Ueno Park, a fabulous sight-seeing trip that is well worth making for any tourist in the city - within its limits you’ll find a zoo, National Museum and a museum of Western Art. A coin-op launderette is an excellent convenience for backpackers, and there are also free internet PCs and chargeable massage services at the property. Each guest will also have their own private locker for the duration of their stay.
Offering a very pleasant stay, the Global Cabin Tokyo Gotanda is a perfect capsule hotel for those who enjoy peace and quiet, with the property noted for its friendly, relaxed staff and its cleanliness. Each room comes with a desk and a flat-screen TV, and staff at the hotel will happily furnish you with all the information you need on things to see and do in the area, as well as how to get around. This last point makes life easier as the location is less than a minute on foot from the nearest subway line.
Cosy comfort in a capsule: You'll love Tokyo's inventive hotels
Tokyo has long had a reputation for being a heart of technological innovation, and the wealth of capsule hotels is a testament to the fact that innovation is very much at the centre of what makes this city great. By day, you can get out and see the many attractions, shop in Tokyo’s brightly-lit thoroughfares and experience the temples and shrines that offer a link to the past. Then, by night, you can enjoy these remarkable, still-intriguing hotel rooms and the comfortable sleeping experience they offer.
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