Tokyo: My week in a capsule hotel – Kiba Hotel

Kiba Hotel, Capsule hotel in Tokyo

As promised, here’s a blog post with some more info about my capsule stay at Tokyo Kiba Hotel. I’ve always wanted to stay at a capsule hotel, but every time I’ve been close to making a booking, I’ve changed my mind last minute, thinking it would be too small, too inconvenient and too WEIRD.

Though this time, the capsule hotel was pretty much the only option I had, if I wanted to stay in an area not too far from central Tokyo without spending my entire travel budget on accommodation.

The reason why it was so hard to find affordable accommodation was, that I touched down right after the sakura (cherry blossom) season. The sakura season is probably the most popular time of the year to visit Tokyo (or any other place in Japan), and even though the sakura season was over, most of the hotels were still fully booked or exorbitantly expensive.

Capsule hotels are primarily intended for office workers who miss the last train back to the suburbs, where they live, or who just finish work so late that it makes more sense to stay in the city for the night. Most capsule hotels are located close to the metro stations, and they are strictly male only, but since a lot of tourists are curious about capsule hotels, in recent years, some of the hotels have started to accept female guests, who are usually accommodated on a separate, females-only floor.

Kiba Hotel didn’t have a separate floor for females, which is quite unusual, but the bathroom and toilets were gender divided with the female bathroom on the 3rd floor.

In the reception I was handed a key, but it wasn’t for the capsule, as I first thought, but for my locker. The capsule didn’t have a door, but a blind, and you were encouraged to keep all your belongings in the lockers, which were on the ground floor.

The staff in the reception was really nice and very professional. They helped me call restaurants to make table reservations, and they remembered my capsule number, so I didn’t even have to ask for my key the last couple of days. As soon as I stepped into the reception after a long day around Tokyo, they were ready to greet med with keys, pajamas and a clean towel.

The capsule was much bigger than I had expected and large enough for me to sit upright and still have space above my head. I had a power socket, a TV and a radio inside the capsule and there was also free wifi, but I used mobile data instead (I purchased a Japanese SIM card at the airport), so I don’t know how fast it was.

Even though the blind made sure you had some privacy, I would still have preferred some kind of door instead, even though it might have been claustrophobic, as the blind didn’t shut out the noise from guests in the neighboring capsules.

There was this guy who always set his alarm clock to 7am, but who just couldn’t get up. So he would hit snooze 10 times or more and wake up everybody else. I also had a capsule neighbor who snored loudly, but luckily she only stayed for one night.

I stayed at Kiba Hotel for 6 nights, which is quite a few days longer than the average capsule guest. Usually capsules are just emergency accommodation for when you miss the last train, and even the other tourists staying at Kiba Hotel kept their stay short and sweet.

My capsule was only 3500JPY a night, which is actually cheaper that most hostels, and personally, I would choose a capsule over a hostel dorm bed anytime. If you’re looking for new BFFs or just somebody to chat with, then a capsule hotel might not be for you.

Even though Tokyo Kiba Hotel had a lounge you could hang out in, people didn’t hang out a lot and usually kept to themselves. Even in the weekend, the lounge failed to enter party mode, which suited me fine, but I’m quite sure I spotted a few lonely 20-somethings scanning the lounge for like-minded.

Tokyo is an exciting city, and I was out from early morning to late evening, so for me, staying at a capsule hotel was perfect. Tokyo Kiba Hotel is located only a few minutes walk from Kiba Station (the metro train was passing right over the hotel), so in the morning, I would just jump on a metro train and get off 4 stops later at Otemachi station, which is connected to Tokyo station, from where I could go anywhere. Staying at Tokyo Kiba hotel was a fun and different experience and I wouldn’t hesitate to stay at a capsule hotel again.

Kiba Hotel is now permanently closed, but if you want to experience staying in a capsule hotel, check out my blog post about Akiba Bay Hotel (women only)

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