One of the most unique and intriguing things for tourists when visiting Tokyo, is the capsule hotels. Accommodation that provides literally a bed and a tv within a confined pod space. These pod hotels are known to have around 50 capsules at least. Obviously, it’s a really cool concept and almost everyone who knows about them would love to try staying in one. However, there is a certain question and doubt that stops people from even thinking about booking a night in these uncommon hotels…
Are capsule hotels safe? Capsule hotels are definitely safe. Many precautions are put in place to ensure that visitors are safe and their belongings secure. Fire safety, secure lockers for belongings and restricted access for customers only; are all carefully considered by the hotel owners on a regular basis.
So, we now know that capsule hotels are safe. However, there is a lot that should be considered when choosing a pod hotel that you wish to stay at. Read on to learn everything you need to know about the safety of capsule hotels, and what you should consider when booking one.
How Safe Are They?
There’s no doubt at all that staying in a capsule hotel for the first time can be extremely worrying.
After all, you are pretty much sharing one large room with everyone else on your floor. Pod hotels are very similar to a hostel in that sense.
However, I strongly believe that capsule hotels are much safer than hostels in Tokyo. This is due to the safety precautions that are put in place at the hotels, and the actual capsules themselves. (Click Here to go to the safety precautions)
In terms of the locations of these hotels, they are usually very conveniently placed. No one at all would want to stay in a hotel that is located down some neglected alleyway of Tokyo. Instead, they are usually placed near busy parts of the city, making the hotels themselves easily accessible and straightforward to find.
If you do come across a pod hotel that is located in what looks like a ‘dodgy area’, I would highly avoid booking a stay here, even if just for one night.
Each capsule hotel has its own safety standards and precautions of course. But, generally speaking, they are all very similar in the ways in which they prioritise safety and security.
As mentioned before, capsule hotels in Tokyo take health, safety and security very seriously. As it should be!
At the end of the day, the idea of capsule hotels itself is very ‘out there’ to say the least. So, there is definitely a lot of thought that goes into making the hotels as safe as they can possibly be. Owners of the capsule hotels have many safety precautions to ensure the safety levels are to an exceptional standard.
No Locks On The Capsules
I know, I know…
You would be right in thinking ‘how does this make it safer?’
And I thought exactly the same at first.
However, having locks on each individual capsule within the hotel is a massive health & safety hazard. This is because, in case of a fire or any other emergency in the building, it would not be good at all to have to deal with locks to exit your individual capsule.
But, what about your personal belongings? Doesn’t this make it much easier for people to steal your things?
This leads us exactly to the next safety precaution put in place…
Lockers For Your Belongings
One of the biggest questions asked surrounding capsule hotels, is what do you do with your luggage?
And trust me when I say that you aren’t alone in wondering that.
The solution to this problem is simple though. The hotel will give you a key to a locker for you to store your personal belongings in. This avoids two problems at once; one being that people cannot steal your things, and the other, that you do not have to try and fit your bags in the capsule which is already a small confined space.
For the most part, these lockers are more than big enough to store your shoes, clothes and backpacks in. However, this is more designed for locals who would not be carrying a suitcase with them.
But, fear not! The front desk receptionists should happily look after your suitcase for you while you stay at the hotel!
Barcodes To Enter Each Floor
It would be extremely worrying if members of the public could just enter the hotel and get to your floor with no problems at all. Rest assured, as this is certainly not the case with capsule hotels in Tokyo.
Owners of the hotels put in place a barcode or QR code system that requires people to scan them in order to get onto a certain floor. This, therefore, puts any worrying doubts of strangers entering the area at bay.
Photo Source: Davide Capretta
Convenient & Safe Locations
The majority of capsule hotels in Tokyo are in extremely popular areas within well-known districts of the city.
This gives a huge sense of relief to tourists who want to try out staying at a pod hotel, as they know it is not in some deserted area. Travelling to Japan is scary enough in itself. Not knowing the language, not being able to read all of the signs, not really knowing anyone; are all huge drawbacks to travelling to the Japanese metropolis.
However, there are certain areas and districts in Tokyo that are very ‘tourist friendly’ and accommodate kindly to visitors from other countries. You can almost guarantee that a capsule hotel you are interested in trying out, is dead centre in one of these areas; making it that bit more comfortable for you to book without having any doubts or worries.
Are Capsule Hotels Claustrophobic?
I myself am someone who suffers quite severely from claustrophobia.
I struggle to be in elevators as I hate the feeling of being trapped and locked in a small confined space.
As there are no locks on the inside or outside of the capsules in these hotels, I would like to think that my claustrophobia would not really be triggered at all. After all, it’s only a traditional wooden panel that is keeping you in there.
I hear many people comparing the capsules to coffins and I can see where they’re coming from. However, I can assure you, that is definitely not the case.
I can’t give a straightforward answer on this topic though, however. This is because different people suffer differently from things, so I would not feel comfortable enough to tell people otherwise.
Photo Source: Sam Bentley
Should You Use A Capsule Hotel?
Capsule hotels are primarily targeted to the locals and residents of Tokyo. They act as a perfect last-minute option if you have missed your train or need to stay in that area of the city for a short while.
However, this doesn’t mean that pod hotels would not be a great option for tourists.
The only issue that these hotels hold is the luggage problem.
As mentioned before, you are provided with a locker that can hold backpacks and various clothing items. Tourists with much larger suitcases can give them to the receptionists at the front desk to hold until your stay is over.
And this is great.
If you are staying in Tokyo for a couple of weeks, I would highly recommend not staying in a capsule hotel for the whole stay. Although you can store all of your luggage at the hotel premises, it is just too inconvenient.
Your locker can only really hold clothes that will last you for around 3 days at most. You would then have to go to reception, ask for your suitcase, switch the items around into the different bags and then you would have to ask reception to take back your suitcase.
Not only is this extremely inconvenient for you, but also for the staff at the hotel. If you spend a whole 2 weeks at the hotel, you’re going to be asking for your suitcase and for it to be stored again, at least 4 times during your stay.
It just doesn’t make sense to do this.
Photo Source: Renan Kamizi
It is recommended that if you do want to try out a capsule hotel, then just spend a couple of nights there maximum.
Maybe you are visiting a location on the complete opposite side of the city, why not book a short stay at a pod hotel then?
You would be keeping it simple for yourself and the staff!
Capsule hotels are an extremely unique concept, and I, myself, cannot wait to try sleeping in one!
Photo Source: Mayuko Yamaguchi