Japan is famed as one of the most creative countries in the world with a keen eye for service and presentation. However, Japan is also known for being wacky and weird. Recently, distinct types of accommodations have captured the attention of visitors from far and wide.
An experience quintessentially unique to Japan, capsule hotels are likely the most well-known among Japan's unconventional lodging options.Also known as pod hotels, these hotels are comprised of human-sized cubby holes lined up in row after row, each fitted with a bed or futon, light, and power outlets for charger. Though these hotels are often communal, some may feature separate floors for different genders. Cost-effective yet extremely compact, these pods are not recommended for those with claustrophobia. It’s worth noting that some hostels in Japan are also offer capsule-type lodgings.
A couple of unique capsule hotels that have popped up on social media are the Neco Republic Hostel, which provides cat lovers with the opportunity to spend the night in a cat cafe, and Book & Bed, which is a must-visit for bibliophiles.
Experiences centered around characters, such as cafes and hotels, have begun to gain significant popularity among both locals and visitors. Character-themed hotel rooms typically operate within Western-style hotels such as the Tokyo Disney Resorts, the Keio Plaza Hotel, and the Hotel Gracery Shinjuku. With more than 100 characters in Disney’s roster, there is no shortage of character-themed rooms. The Keio Plaza Hotel features special Hello Kitty rooms decked out from top to bottom in Kitty-chan-themed decor, including lampshades and cushions. Kitty-chan fans will discover that even the amenities in these hotel rooms are also Kitty-themed. Devoted Kitty-chan fans should head to Awaji Island to check out the newly opened Hello Kitty Resort. The Hotel Gracery Shinjuku is home to the famous Godzilla statue that people can see from the street below and the Godzilla-themed rooms.
Another quintessential Japanese travel experience are love hotels. Love hotels started appearing in Japan in the 1960s as a way for couples to spend alone time together. Despite their previously questionable reputation, love hotels have endeavored to improve their image to attract more foreign guests. Most establishments have an unassuming exterior, but often bear suspicious names like Hotel Kitty or Hotel Barbie. Alternatively, they have novelty themes like Christmas Land or Candy Land. Love hotels can also be a practical choice for individuals who want to avoid the cost of a taxi and need a place to sleep after missing the last train. It is important to note that once you enter a room at a love hotel, you will be locked in until completing payment. These hotels usually charge around 20,000 yen per night, with charges adjusted for shorter stays. These rooms come equipped with various adult toys and accessories, and complimentary water. If the hotel has a menu, guests can order food and drinks by contacting the hotel staff. Since these hotels operate on anonymity, staff members will deliver food or drink items through a window typically located next to the entrance of the room. Unless you've forgotten something at the hotel, you're unlikely to encounter the staff.
In the ever-evolving landscape of hospitality, Japan stands out as a pioneer of innovative lodging experiences. Japan's array of wacky, weird, and wonderful hotels remain a captivating draw for adventurous travelers seeking out memorable and out-of-the-ordinary stays.
About the author:
Samantha is currently a 5th-year JET in Okinawa, originally from Hawaii. She has been somewhat connected to Japanese culture her whole life despite being Chinese American. She's had the privilege of traveling to Japan and experiencing Japanese culture at a young age. She loves food and is always looking to try new places. When she is not working or out eating, she is an avid baker at home and has been known to feed her colleagues an excessive amount of baked goods.