Skip to Content

What is a Capsule Hotel?

Are you looking for a unique and affordable accommodation option on your next trip?

If so, you might want to consider staying in a capsule hotel.

In this article, we’ll take a look at what capsule hotels are, their history, and why they’re becoming increasingly popular.

We’ll also explore the pros and cons of staying in a capsule hotel and provide some tips for making the most of your stay.

So, let’s dive in and explore the world of capsule hotels!

What Are Capsule Hotels?

What Are Capsule Hotels?

Capsule hotels are a unique form of accommodation that originated in Japan during the late 1970s. They are known for their minimalist design and small capsule-like rooms that provide a comfortable and convenient sleeping space for travelers. Capsule hotels are popular among budget-conscious travelers who are looking for affordable and unique accommodation options.

The Basics: A Brief Overview

Capsule hotels typically feature small, single-occupancy rooms that are just big enough for a bed and some basic amenities like a TV, Wi-Fi, and a small desk. These rooms are usually stacked on top of each other and arranged in rows, similar to a dormitory. The capsules themselves are often made of plastic or fiberglass and are designed to be sound-proofed and private.

History of Capsule Hotels

The first capsule hotel was opened in Osaka, Japan in 1979, by the architect Kisho Kurokawa. The concept of capsule hotels was born out of a need for affordable accommodation for businessmen who missed the last train home and needed a place to sleep. Capsule hotels quickly became popular among budget-conscious travelers and have since spread to other countries like China, Singapore, and the United States.

Design and Layout of Capsule Hotels

Capsule hotels are designed to be efficient and space-saving. The capsules themselves are often arranged in a grid-like pattern, with each capsule stacked on top of the other. This allows for a large number of capsules to be placed in a relatively small area. Capsule hotels also typically have shared bathrooms and shower facilities, as well as common areas like lounges and dining rooms.

It is worth mentioning that capsule hotels are not for everyone. Some travelers find the small and confined spaces to be uncomfortable, while others appreciate the unique experience and affordability. On the other hand, popular hotel chains like Hilton and Marriott have also started to incorporate capsule-like sleeping pods into their designs, providing a luxury twist to the concept.

Why Stay in a Capsule Hotel?

For travelers looking for a unique lodging experience, capsule hotels offer a one-of-a-kind option. Here are some reasons why staying in a capsule hotel might be the right choice for you:

  • Affordability: Capsule hotels are often more affordable than traditional hotels, which makes them a great option for budget-conscious travelers. While the price may vary depending on the location and amenities offered, capsule hotels typically provide basic necessities such as a bed and shared bathroom facilities.
  • Location: Many capsule hotels are located in the heart of major cities, making them an attractive option for travelers who want to be close to popular tourist attractions, restaurants, and shopping districts. Some capsule hotels are even located within airport terminals, which is convenient for travelers with early morning or late-night flights.
  • Unique Experience: Capsule hotels offer a unique experience that traditional hotels cannot match. Sleeping in a small, enclosed space may not be for everyone, but for those who are interested in trying something new, capsule hotels provide an opportunity to do just that. Some capsule hotels even offer themed capsules, such as ones designed to look like a spaceship or a cozy cabin in the woods.
  • Safety and Security: Capsule hotels take safety and security seriously. While the capsules themselves may not offer a lot of privacy, the hotels typically have security measures in place such as keycard access and surveillance cameras to ensure the safety of their guests. In addition, many capsule hotels have staff available 24/7 to assist guests with any needs or concerns.

Pros and Cons of Capsule Hotels


  • Affordability: One of the biggest advantages of capsule hotels is their affordability. They are much cheaper than traditional hotel rooms and are therefore a great option for budget-conscious travelers.
  • Convenience: Capsule hotels are usually located in central areas, making them a convenient choice for travelers who want to be close to tourist attractions and transportation hubs. They also offer a quick and easy check-in process, which is perfect for those who are in a hurry.
  • Privacy: Despite the small size of the capsules, they offer a certain level of privacy. They usually come equipped with a curtain or a sliding door, which can be closed to provide a sense of privacy.
  • Cleanliness: Capsule hotels are known for their cleanliness. The capsules are regularly cleaned and disinfected, which ensures that guests stay in a hygienic environment.


  • Limited Space: The biggest downside of capsule hotels is the limited space. The capsules are usually small and can feel claustrophobic for some guests. This may not be a great option for travelers who need more space to move around.
  • Noisy Environment: Capsule hotels are often located in busy areas, which means that guests may experience noise pollution from the surrounding area. This can be a problem for light sleepers.
  • Shared Facilities: Capsule hotels usually have shared facilities such as bathrooms and showers. This means that guests may have to wait their turn to use these facilities, which can be inconvenient.
  • Lack of Privacy: While capsules offer a certain level of privacy, they are not completely soundproof. Guests may still be able to hear noise from other capsules, which can be a problem for those who value their privacy.

It is worth mentioning that the pros and cons of capsule hotels may vary depending on the specific hotel and location. Some capsule hotels may offer more space or better facilities than others. It is important to do research and read reviews before booking a stay at a capsule hotel.

Tips for Staying in a Capsule Hotel

  • Pack Light: As the name suggests, capsule hotels offer small capsule-like sleeping pods that are only meant for sleeping and not for storing luggage. Therefore, it is recommended to pack light and carry only essentials.
  • Bring Earplugs and Eye Mask: Since capsule hotels offer minimal soundproofing and lighting, it is worth mentioning that bringing earplugs and an eye mask can help provide a better sleeping experience.
  • Use Coin-Operated Lockers: Capsule hotels provide coin-operated lockers for storing valuables and personal belongings that do not fit in the capsule. It is important to remember to always secure personal belongings in the provided lockers.
  • Be Respectful of Other Guests: Capsule hotels are designed to maximize space, and thus, privacy is limited. Therefore, it is important to be respectful of other guests and keep noise levels to a minimum.
  • Make the Most of the Amenities: Despite the small size of the capsules, most capsule hotels offer amenities such as communal bathrooms, Wi-Fi, and even lounges. It is recommended to take advantage of these amenities to make the most out of the capsule hotel experience.

On the other hand, it is worth mentioning that not all capsule hotels are the same. Some are more luxurious than others and may offer additional amenities such as private bathrooms and televisions. It is important to research and compare different capsule hotels before booking to ensure that the chosen hotel meets the guest’s needs and expectations.

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some capsule hotels may have temporarily closed or implemented new safety measures. It is recommended to check with the hotel beforehand and follow all safety guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable stay.

Keep in mind that capsule hotels originated in Japan and are still mostly found in Asian countries, although there are a few scattered around the world. Some popular hotel chains that offer capsule hotels include First Cabin and 9h in Japan and The Pod Hotels in the United States.


In conclusion, capsule hotels are a unique and affordable accommodation option that’s worth considering on your next trip.

Whether you’re traveling on a budget, looking for a new experience, or just want to try something different, capsule hotels offer a convenient and comfortable place to stay.

Just be sure to keep in mind the pros and cons and follow our tips for making the most of your stay.

So, why not give a capsule hotel a try on your next adventure? Who knows, you might just love it!