What visit to Japan is complete until you have experienced a capsule hotel? The answer is, none, and First Cabin is the ideal capsule experience for first timers!
Capsule hotels are entrenched in modern Japanese society and are, in my opinion, a brilliant idea, even after having spent a night in one!
Despite Japan being super-efficient in most aspects of daily life, they have this odd thing where trains etc stop running by around 11pm every night, even on weekends, even in the centre of Tokyo. Therefore, if people are working late, or are out partying and miss the last train home, you have two options, 1) stay out all night or 2) go to a capsule hotel.
Due to the novelty of capsule hotels to ‘foreigners’ they have also become a favourite accommodation choice for tourists visiting Japan. That is in addition to the fact you get insanely well located accommodation, for a fraction of the price of nearby hotels!
Now be warned, there are varying standards of capsule hotels and if you prefer the nicer things in life, or have a tendency to get claustrophobic, you want to choose your capsule very carefully!
Enter, First Cabin. The answer for those mildly claustrophobic, lovers of luxury accommodation, who fancy being ‘adventurous’ for the night.
At £35 for the night, it’s on the more expensive side for a capsule hotel in the centre of Tokyo, but with hotels in the centre going for £150 and upwards, it’s still a bargain.
I stayed at the First Cabin capsule hotel located in Akihabara, one of my favourite areas of Tokyo. We were within walking distance of maid cafes, anime stores and arcades. The entrance to the capsule hotel was down a dark alleyway, just off one of the main roads, I felt perfectly safe walking down here at night though, as Japan is a very low crime place.
The entrance to the capsule hotel was fancier than I expected, and we were greeted straight away by the ladies on reception. Check in was a swift process and we were handed a map showing where our capsules were (capsules are for single occupation and men and women are on different floors), the key to secure storage in our capsules and given the option of taking some ear plugs (highly recommend you take them up on this offer!).
At this point, Chris and I parted ways, as not only were men on a different floor, they also used a completely separate lift. We waved goodbye as we stepped into our respective lifts and the doors shut behind us. In no time at all, the lift had whizzed me up to the ladies floor and out I stepped into the eerily quiet and surprisingly dark corridor. It took me a fair few minutes to locate where my capsule was, but eventually I stumbled across my home for the night.
The capsules are all lined along a corridor, and each floor was made up of around 4 corridors with around 10 -15 capsules on each side. Each capsule was separated from the corridor by a pull down blind, and once inside, although this didn’t lock, you felt pretty cosy and secure.
On the bed there were a pair of pyjamas, some towels and a toothbrush, There was a small light in the corner and in the ceiling, a few hangers, a lockable safe at the side, pillow and blanket. There was also some very weak and pretty useless air conditioning, oh and once inside, I discovered a TV.
I unpacked my small overnight bag into the lockable safe and explored the rest of the floor. There were numerous toilets, showers and a vanity area complete with seats, Shiseido toiletries and even hair curlers! There was also a small room where you could talk to other people without disturbing those in the capsules.
You literally don’t need to bring anything to stay here, everything is provided for you. I especially enjoyed using the Shiseido face products!
In the reception area there was a communal lounge area complete with tables and coffee machines, as well as vending machines selling everything from noodles to ice cream to beer. There was also free wifi and plenty of charging points (side note, the capsules only had one Japanese plug to charge things, so bring an adaptor).
I was rather surprised by my capsule and at no point did I feel claustrophobic. I was able to change into pyjamas, standing up in my capsule and felt really snug and cosy as I was falling asleep. My only issue was the temperature in the capsules. The aircon was pretty much non-existent, despite the fact I had it on full. I ended up pulling the blind at the end of my capsule up off the floor to allow air to flow inside.
Temperature aside though, I slept surprisingly well, so much so that when I woke up, I texted Chris and asked if we could delay our meeting time as I was so comfy! Unfortunately, Chris had had the entire opposite of my experience and had barely slept at all and was desperate to get out of there, so reluctantly, I had to drag myself out of my cosy capsule!
Having spoken to him since, his problem was a very loud snorer of a neighbour and no ear plugs or music was enough to drown them out. Add to that the fact he described his capsule as a sauna and yeah, he certainty wont be rushing back to stay in a capsule again.
Me, on the other hand, I am completely sold on the whole thing. The capsule was the perfect size, came with everything you could possibly need and was at an amazing price, especially given the awesome location.
I am officially, a capsule hotel convert (well, for the more luxury ones anyway!).
You can check out more footage of the capsules hotel in my Tokyo day 4 vlog:
If you liked this post, why not pin it?