When I went to Hiroshima two weekends ago my friend and I stayed in a “capsule” hotel. I’m sure they vary a LOT from one to the next, but this one was pretty comfortable.
You walk into a lobby with a counter and check in. They give you two keys. One is for a shoe locker right by the front door, the other is for a small locker in a locker room which is connected to a communal shower room and hot bath. It’s wasn’t unlike an on-sen (except it was artificial and not as nice.) There were vending machines, a small lounge area and numerous sinks in the locker room – basically all you need if you are traveling and need a place to freshen up, change, etc. You can use the washroom / hot bath for a small fee without staying in the hotel too.
The place was 4 floors with only a narrow stair way leading to each floor. Each floor had a bathroom and a room of capsules!
The capsules were plastic pods stacked two high. They had a sliding accordian door which you could lock from the inside. Inside there was a little (11″ or so) coin operated TV, alarm clock, a small fan you could turn on, a light, and a mirror. They were more than big enough for me to completely sit up or lay down without feeling cramped at all. In fact, I felt rather secure and comfortable inside! At 2,300 yen per night (roughly $21), it was a GREAT deal if you don’t mind staying in the red light district, right next to and across the the street from sex clubs ^_^;;;;
The capsule hotel is men only. Because it is in the red light/entertainment district (all Japanese cities have these), it has a lot of drunk looking and over partied looking guys in it. It was a little seedy, but nothing in Japan gets as seedy as it does in America so it wasn’t bad at all!
The neighborhood (Japan is really safe, I would feel a little uneasy on a street like this in America, but Japan is REALLY safe)
I didn’t take many photos because there were people sleeping in the capsules which are not that soundproof.
It’s Japan, the “V” thing is rubbing off on me 😛