Sunday, January 25, 2009
The first capsule hotel was the Capsule Inn Osaka, designed by Kisho Kurokawa and located in the Umeda district of Osaka. It opened on February 1, 1979 and the initial room rate was ¥1,600.
A capsule hotel is a hotel system for countries with extremely dense populations. The rooms or ‘capsules’ are approximately 2 m x 1 m x 1,25 m providing just enough space to sleep. These capsules are stacked side by side and on top of each other, with steps providing access to the second level rooms. Luggage is stored outside in lockers. The capsules has either a curtain or a fibre-glass door to insure enough privacy. The washrooms are communal.
These capsule hotels vary widely in size, some having only fifty or so capsules and others over 700. Many are used primarily by men. But there are also capsule hotels with separate male and female sleeping quarters. Clothes and shoes are sometimes exchanged for slippers on entry. A towel may also be provided. The benefit of these hotels is convenience and price.
Most roomers are businessmen too tired or far away to make the trip home. Others (especially on weekdays) are too inebriated to safely travel to their homes.
This style of hotel accommodation was developed in Japan and has not gained popularity outside of the country, although Western variants with larger accommodations and often private baths are being developed.