Space is tight in Tokyo. So, if you opt to stay in Shinjuku, this profoundly urban city’s most urban corner, why not roll with it and stay in a capsule hotel? Typically, these have pod-like beds, equipped with a few basic amenities and access to a communal bath. It’s a basic stay but one that allows you to fully experience this glittery commercial and entertainment district, brimming with bars, clubs and shops.
This upscale capsule hotel is within walking distance of Shinjuku Station, Isetan Shinjuku shopping centre and the eclectic nightlife of Golden Gai. It’s a safe and tightly run hotel with English-speaking staff and Japanese-style amenities. You’ll change into slippers upon entering and have access to shared bathing facilities. The free wifi is exceptional.
See another side of Shinjuku at this sleek capsule hotel, just one stop from Shinjuku Station in Shin Okubo, Tokyo’s vibrant Korea Town. The Global is surrounded by the food, music and culture of Japan’s neighbour. While inside this is a stylish hotel that offers a rooftop terrace, desk space and laundry facilities.
Nine Hours is an ultra-modern capsule hotel that can also be found in the Shin Okubo district. This futuristic hotel will make you feel like you’re stepping onboard a spaceship thanks to the electronic check-in procedures and brightly lit sleeping pods. The common area offers a wonderful view of downtown Shinjuku and has plenty of space to work and relax. The front desk is open 24 hours, so you can book one of the 200-plus pods any time, day or night.
Capsule Hotel Shinjuku 510 is located right in the heart of Kabukicho. And, from the outside, it resembles one of the love hotels that populate the area. The interior is retro but clean, the highlight being the large shared bath and sauna. If the novelty of staying in a hotel geared more towards business professionals than tourists appeals to you, this is the place.
This cute, colourful hotel in Kabukicho is an exceptionally friendly place to stay. Make use of the in-house comic book corner, Nintendo Switch, VR machines and other entertainment facilities. You can also rent a pocket wifi from the 24-hour front desk, which will allow you to connect to the internet on the move as you explore Shinjuku.
The Shinjuku Kuyakusho-mae – another Kabukicho capsule hotel – has large, comfortable beds, a café and English-speaking staff. It has capsules for both men and women, although the bath and sauna are for men only. The bathing area is styled like an ornate Roman bath, marble statues and all, making it the highlight of this hotel for those who can access it.
Book and Bed is part library, part hostel; you sleep in small, cozy capsules behind bookshelves. There’s a café with free wifi should you be moved to write your novel, while clean showers and washrooms are shared should you need to freshen up. Craving a bit more space? Book the superior room, which has a bed for two and floor-to-ceiling windows.
The Culture Trip Travel Team contributed additional reporting to this article.