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Best capsule hotels in Tokyo

A new generation of capsule hotels is reinventing the tiny-hotel industry with cool tech and hip designs. Here are Tokyo's top pods

By Miroku Hina and Time Out Tokyo Editors
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Visiting Tokyo and just need a comfortable space to lay your head for a few nights? You could consider some of the most unique places to stay in the city, or you could be a little adventurous and try out a capsule hotel instead.

Over the years, capsule hotels in Tokyo have evolved from a cheap place to crash for budget-conscious backpackers and businessmen who missed their last train home to a unique Tokyo experience. These mini sleeping pods have been overhauled with new designs, padded out with high-tech features and now, a lot of them even come complete with amenities such as sauna, co-working spaces and even bars. So the next time you're looking for a unique places to stay in Tokyo, check in to these top pods in the city.

Squeeze inn

Hotel Zen Tokyo

Hotels Ningyocho

Experience zen culture at a tea room themed capsule hotel, perfect for those who want to get away from the hustle and bustle and have a quiet night in. It's fairly affordable too as a night here only costs somewhere between ¥4,000 to ¥6,500.

Inspired by Sen No Rikyu’s tea house in the 16th century, each sleeping pod is designed with a minimalistic approach, think white walls accentuated with a single Japanese painting. On the plus side, the space features a ceiling over two metres high, so you won’t feel cramped like the average capsule hotel.

There's also a Study Lounge for those who want a quiet place to read or get some work done, and a Bar Lounge that offers a variety of Japanese sake, whisky, craft spirits and interesting drinks like wasabi ginger ale

Nadeshiko Hotel Shibuya

Hotels B&Bs Shinsen

Nadeshiko Hotel turns the capsule hotel concept on its head by excluding men altogether. It decorates the hallways with traditional Japanese designs and offers a nice, spacious bathing area complete with luxurious tubs made from cypress wood. Yukata robes (loungewear) can be borrowed at the reception, along with amenities including skincare samples. For the full experience, freshen up at the bath, slip into your yukata, and settle in for a tasty Japanese meal at the hotel restaurant.

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Glansit Akihabara

Hotels Akihabara

This upscale hotel’s soothing interior offers much welcomed respite after a long day: think warm earthy tones, wooden detailing, potted greens and soft lighting. Each floor is separated by gender and equipped with spacious lockers that will easily secure your personal belongings. Semi-private rooms with small desks are also available – if you’re looking to get some work done or wind down with a movie. You’ll find free wi-fi at the 24-hour lounge

The Wardrobe Hostel Record

Hotels Okachimachi

Located just five minutes away from Ueno station is Japan’s first record hostel. Shelves are stocked with over 1,000 vintage jazz records and guests are allowed to play them using the turntables in each room. The interior is designed to look like a European sleeper train from the olden days, giving the hostel a nostalgic vibe. You can stay in a dormitory (ie, pod) or a private room that can fit up to four or eight people.

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Capsule & Sauna Rosco

Hotels Komagome

Located near Komagome Station, Rosco is noteworthy for offering all guests free access to its sauna and open-air bath and spa, all of which use high-grade mineral water. There’s a women-only floor offering complimentary amenities plus a comfy relaxation space. At mealtimes, don’t overlook the in-house restaurant which is better than you might expect for a capsule hotel.

First Cabin Tsukiji

Hotels Tsukiji

Instead of capsules, here they offer ‘cabins’ with high ceilings, while toilets and bathing facilities are shared but separated by gender. You have a choice between the ‘business class’ and ‘first class’ cabins; opt for the latter if you want extra space, but both come with a safety deposit box, an LCD TV and free wi-fi. Comfy ‘cabinwear’, humidifiers and other essentials are available to loan for free, and there’s even a bar at the entrance.

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Shinjuku Kuyakusho-Mae Capsule Hotel

Hotels Shinjuku

Kabukicho’s most convenient capsule hotel welcomes everyone – from travellers on tiny budgets to salarymen toiling deep into the night – in need of a cheap (but clean and comfortable) stay. It’s located right in front of the Shinjuku Ward Office and features generously sized capsules equipped with small TVs, plus a comfy men’s bathing area complete with a sauna. Unlike most similar establishments, the fairer sex is also welcome here – in fact, there’s an entire floor with women-only capsules and a mirror-covered powder room. Rates start from as low as ¥3,000.

The Millennials

Hotels Shibuya

Aiming to attract hip millennials, just as its name suggests, this hotel has built a flashpacking lifestyle around its sleek designs and cool tech features. Its sleeping capsules – all 120 are called ‘Smart Pods’ – are not only roomier and taller than your run-of-themill capsules but they also come equipped with hi-tech amenities. Upon check-in, you’ll receive an iPod Touch for controlling the various features in your pod, including the reclining bed and video projector (in selected capsules). For something even more special, ask for the Art Pods, which have been customised by local up-and-coming artists. To further promote socialising, The Millennials’ many common facilities, including the kitchen, lounge, and co-working space, are accessible round the clock.

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Nine Hours Narita Airport

Hotels Narita Airport

Catching an early flight or arriving late at night can be a pain at the farflung Narita Airport – but not if you opt to stay at this 24-hour capsule hotel right next to Terminal 2. With overnight rates starting from ¥4,900, it’s an affordable accommodation that’s also very clean and stylish. In fact, depending on your needs, Nine Hours can be very accommodating. Just looking for a couple of hours of shut-eye? Opt for the hourly rate: ¥1,500 for the first hour and ¥500 for every 60 minutes thereafter. Even if you just need a shower and a place to sit, Nine Hours can do that for you, too.

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