The Anatomy of a Capsule Bunk

When I came to Japan, sleeping in a Capsule bed was never on my “list of things to do”. Wait, what list? I didn’t even have a list.

I never realized how interested people were to know how it feels to sleep in a Capsule bed until I posted a photo of my bed in my Facebook page. The response I got was overwhelming to say the least. I got both positive and negative messages from both friends and strangers ranging from “That’s definitely on my bucketlist” to “There’s no way I’m sleeping in a box like that”. Either way, I was told that sleeping in a Capsule Hotel for at least one night is part of the whole “Japan Experience”

I don’t blame them though, because I never intended to sleep in a Capsule anyway. Zero planning and no research made it happen. I came to Osaka with no place to stay and no idea what to do. To add salt to the wound, I came at the height of the “Golden Week”, Japan’s week-long holiday. You could just imagine how difficult it was to look for cheap accommodations or any accommodation for that matter.

From the Shin-Osaka station, I went straight to Dotonbori, a place every tourist in Osaka would know and go to. My first instinct was to ask for suggestions from locals but the plan didn’t work so I did the next sane thing I could think of at the moment which is to look for free wifi and try my luck at Hostelworld or Hostelbookers.

Of course there’s almost always free wifi in Starbucks so I immediately made my way to the store right in the heart of Dotonbori. I looked up at the menu and found out that even a cup of coffee wouldn’t fit in any area of my budget so I just pretended to stand in line while doing a quick search in different booking sites. I felt like I was the most courteous and polite person in Starbucks that day allowing people to take my place in the long queue no matter how close I was to the cashier.

A couple of minutes later, a Caucasian girl, probably in her mid-twenties joined the line and without hesitation I approached her. Just my luck! She’s a Canadian who’s been living in Osaka for the past year. I asked her if she knew any area where accommodation is cheap. She confidently pointed to the Shinsaibashi area on my torn and crumpled map. Not only that, she specifically mentioned “Capsule Hotel”. I headed straight to that direction but finding the place was a bit tricky and the 3000-yen a night was a little over my budget. I was thinking somewhere along 2000 to 2500 yen. I went around Shinsaibashi for another 3 hours going in and out of hostels, hotels and even love motels looking for the cheapest place to stay for the night but to no avail. I was at my wit’s end and my backpack felt heavier than ever. That’s when I decided that I was willing to pay 3000 yen for a night and I did. I went back to Capsule Hotel in Asahi Plaza, Shinsaibashi. I checked in as quickly as I could just to take the weight of my backpack off my shoulder for good. And so the Capsule bed experience began.

For those of you who are still curious on what it’s like to sleep inside a Capsule Bed, here’s a little lesson on its anatomy.


The Hallway

          The Japanese are always well-organized and efficient so the Capsules are grouped into different sections. There were so many capsules, I don’t even know how many they were exactly. There’s about 28 capsules in this section. You have to have neighbors, don’t you?

Capsule Hallway

View from the Outside

          Excuse my mess…

Outside of a Capsule Bed


…a closer look


Closer Look at a Capsule Bed

The Entrance

          Your bunk has its own roll-down curtain for superior privacy. If you’re lucky enough to get the top capsule, you have 3 flights of stairs to climb from, a sturdy(kind of) step board for easy access and handle bars for safety. If you slip and fall, just make sure you don’t disturb your neighbor from the bottom capsule.

Capsule Bed Access

…now from the inside

          You have everything you need within arms-reach. A side table, a manual, control panel, lights, airconditioning, 2 small compartments, a mirror and a knob-like think probably to help you up if you’re nursing a bad hangover before you check how shitty you look like in the mirror.

Inside A Capsule Bed

Capsule Number

          Of course you need an address, you don’t get a personal mailbox though. Notice the switch beside the number, that’s for the lights so you don’t have to crawl inside just to switch it on. Convenient huh?

Capsule Bed Number

The Control Panel

          Not the most high-tech one that you’d expect from Japan but hey, this is sort of traditional so don’t fuss about it. It comes with a manual(with a little bit of English) but you’ll figure it out. You can control pretty much everything from here. From the lights, to the TV, the airconditioning, it’s got its own digital clock with an alarm you can manually set, a radio, speakers, and some buttons that I have no idea what it even does. I was too scared to try the other buttons at the risk that my capsule might transform into some sort of robot and I’d be left with the task of fighting evil aliens.

Capsule Bed Control Panel

Lights and Airconditioning

          I couldn’t imagine what a fan room looks like. But for my capsule, imagine an upsized airplane reading light and aircondition. You can open and close the vent manually and you can dim the lights through the control panel. I couldn’t remember what the middle one is for. It’s probably a separate speaker for the alarm clock.

Capsule Bed Aircondition and Light


          Everyone needs a mirror. You have to look good every time you step out of your capsule, right? Just kidding! I almost didn’t notice it was there until I started taking photos of the interior. Who would be vain enough to check how he/she looks like before going to bed and as soon as he/she wakes up. By the way, the showers are on the next floor so no excuses for the vain ones.

Capsule Bed Mirror

…and last but not the least

Entertainment Center

          Right behind it is your own personal sprinkler in case of fire but the best feature of the Capsule bed is the Entertainment Center. In fact the only entertainment you have and the only one you need. It has a huge 8-inch screen with a single-speaker and a whopping 10 channels! What more could you ask for? It makes you wanna stay in bed all day. Don’t believe me? Wait for it…

Capsule Bed TV and Sprinkler

……by the way, out of the 10 channels, 2 of them are exclusively for PORN!

I told you it’s all you need.

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  1. Sarj says:

    RE: Mirror
    – Ako, ingon ana ko ka vain. AHAHAHAHA!

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