On my short list of things to try in Japan, staying at a capsule hotel was near the top. These supposedly no-frills facilities were originally designed to cater to business men, but I found one that had a ladies’ floor as well, right near Tokyo Station.
When I checked in, I was given a detailed instruction sheet, complete with little pictures demonstrating the proper procedures, including how to find my locker, where to wear my shoes, how to find my capsule, and what not to do in the sleeping area (i.e., eat, drink, or talk). Pajamas, a toothbrush & toothpaste, a towel, and other toiletry items were provided along with the standard slippers that are ubiquitous in Japanese hotels. There were even separate slippers for the bathroom. It was a lot of instructions for one night, but I was mostly just excited to fit my overstuffed suitcase in my locker.
I took advantage of the fast internet and charging stations in the lounge to catch up on a few things. I was startled to hear an instrumental version of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” played over the loudspeakers with a distinctly Japanese flavour. No one else in the room seemed to notice, so I made no comment.
Sleeping in the capsule itself was rather delightful. There is a screen you pull to close yourself off from the rest of the room, and the bed was spacious enough for my needs with cozy linens. On the whole, I would recommend the experience to anyone looking for a quiet, inexpensive way to spend the night.
Title quote: Anthony Bourdain