I’m on the road at the moment, well a little bit more than ‘on the road’. I’m actually in Japan, taking a couple of weeks to travel south, visit some places, check out some plants, and so on.. The first night of my touring was in Tokyo, in a capsule hotel. So, did I survive the night…?
Of course I survived! And, to be honest, I slept much better than I have in a few other hotels recently too!
I’ve actually been in Japan for around 10 days, working over by Nagano for Barakura English Garden, hosting workshops and giving lectures. However, that’s Japanese countryside, and it really doesn’t prepare you for the hustle and bustle of pulling into Shinjuku station, which (I think) is the largest rail station in the world!
I’d been to Tokyo a couple of times before, but it takes a little while for my inner compass to reboot, so I wanted a simple, easy to access hotel for my first night back in the big smoke. So, why not a capsule, and I chose Anshin Oyado, right by Shinjuku! I’d read about the capsule hotels online, and was intrigued/nervous/scared of the experience, but nevertheless love a challenge!
The check-in process baffled this Englishman at first, as I was asked to slide my shoes off whilst still on the pavement, and quickly told to push my gnarly feet into some slippers. I locked my shiny patent shoes up in the lockers and checked myself in, and was given a wristband key, towel and change of clothes. Yes, a change of clothes, this hotel had a UNIFORM!
I was ushered to the side locker room in order to remove my clothes and put on my rustic outfit! This is also where you are told to store your valuables. My backpack was too large for these lockers though, so had to be put into another room. It was a longer check in process that most hotels.. I then went off to find my ‘room’. I was on the seventh floor, and on the top deck! It’s a men only hotel, too.
Without any natural light, I think the floors are kept at low level lighting around the clock, which gives quite a cool, space-age feel to the place. I accessed the floor with my wristband and trekked down the corridor to find capsule 730!
I clambered up the steps to my capsule, with a set of stairs each side this movement was decidedly frog-like. Then, I was in! The colour theme was, again, brown. The facilities were great, I had a TV (which you can only listen to through headphones), air conditioning, an alarm, some water, efficient wifi, and a lovely comfy pillow and snuggly duvet! I had everything I needed, despite not being able to stand or stretch out (too far!)
This was cool! I kinda liked it. I had always thought I would be claustrophobic in such a situation, but it turns out I wasn’t. In fact, there are many things and feelings in life that you think you have, and then once you actually try it, it’s NOT THE CASE!
It was getting late, so I just chilled out and watch the english programme This Morning on the TV Catch Up service and maintained my social media accounts! I took a quick trip to the lower levels to investigate the vending options, and was delighted to find lots was free. There was also a lounge with comics! Unfortunately, my tattooed body prevented me from being allowed into the communal bathing areas (tattoos are associated with the mafia gangs, yakuza)
When I decided it was time to sleep, a few other guys had before me. Snoring was rife! However, I used the provided earplugs, took a shot of Dream Water, and was out for the count!
The next day, we were each allowed 2 breakfast rolls, with their myriad of amusing fillings to the western palette. The coffee machine choices were eye-popping too, matcha cappuccino anyone? It was a cute breakfast room, but everyone was quite silent, in brown uniforms, and all men, so this really had a prison feel…!
I also had a bit of a strip wash in the communal sink area. I have to say, the facilities were super good. As with many Japanese hotels, the toiletries are often provided too.
So, there I was, refreshed and awake after sleeping on a shelf for just £40! You should try it too!