During my weekends’ adventure in Tokyo, I had to make sure I had somewhere to sleep. Having been in a bit of a rush to meet Jackie Chan, I’d foolishly failed to book a hotel in advance. And by the weekend, of course they were all booked up with festival goers.
However the one place that did guarantee a clean bed for the night was a capsule hotel in nearby Ebisu.
Capsule hotels are infamous in Japan and indeed worldwide and I was pretty curious to see how a 6ft plus westerner could squeeze into one. That and the fact that I didn’t have a choice.
Once I had paid for my “box” at reception and put my bag into the locker provided (no space for bags in the capsule) I climbed into one of the weird, elongated containers. It looked and felt like getting into a giant toothbrush holder. How on earth they managed to fit a television, alarm clock and radio in is beyond me.
Despite the wall of capsules reminding me of the ‘human battery’ scene in the Matrix movie, I have to say, once I got over the strangeness of it all , I had a really good kip! Mainly because, as capsules don’t have windows, once I put the light out I found myself in pitch darkness. Quite a rarity for me, as usually my bedroom gets a lot of light pollution from streetlights, cars, etc. But in that coffin sized box there was only darkness. And I admit to you now, I fell into one of deepest sleeps I’ve ever had. So deep, that when I awoke I didn’t know why I was lying in a shoe-box.
My biggest gripe was the fact that to take a shower, I had to take the elevator three floors down and walk through reception to an adjoining room that housed the hotel’s one and only private shower cubicle. Thank god I didn’t forget my towel.
Oh, and to answer your questions, I did manage to completely fit inside lying down – although my feet were touching the door/lid thing.