Capsule Hotels


via WIkimedia Commons

A picture of a capsule hotel in Tokyo

Tokyo, being the world’s most populous city with a population of slightly over 38 million, is facing problems providing housing to everyone within its 600 square kilometer region. Introducing capsule hotels: tiny, confined spaces in which both residents and travelers can spend the night. About seven feet long and three feet tall, capsule hotels are the newest trend that is gaining speed in the greater part of Eastern Asia.

These interesting living spaces date back to 1979, when Mr. Kisho Kurokawa, world renowned architect, opened a capsule hotel in Osaka, Japan. These boxes had people stacked on top of each other like soldiers in barracks. Because of the cheap cost of $20 per night, this idea quickly caught on to people as they began to permanently inhabit capsule hotels. These capsules usually contain a tiny television at its end, as well as typical accommodations like wireless internet, luggage storages and a cup holder. Hotels of capsules vary in size, from as little as 50 capsules to over 5000 of these in a small space. This idea has even began to solve Japan’s homeless problem after the 2010 recession. The Japanese government now owns a couple of these facilities to keep its homeless citizens off the streets at night. Now, roughly thirty percent of all capsules are inhabited by homeless or unemployed guests.

Its cheap cost and efficient way of life has caught on to places all over the world. In 2014, Europe opened its first capsule hotel in Belgium. This idea has even begun to be implemented in airports. In 2017, a Mexican airport began allowing visitors to stay overnight at its hotel, usually when flights were delayed or canceled. The hotel’s name is Izzzleep.

The basic concept of a capsule hotel is that it takes little space to house hundreds of guests, but some hotels decided to make it a luxurious capsule hotel. The Pod Sydney Hotel, in Sydney, Australia, features flat screen TV’s and a king size bed in every room. Still, maintaining a confined space, it could cost up to $200 a night. Furthermore, it adds phone charging ports, air conditioning, and a reading light, which makes it a popular place in the scorching Aussie summer. The UZ Hostel in Taipei, Taiwan, features an alien-like, futuristic style. Its beds and walls are filled with neon-blue lights lining geometric inscriptions. Built by two brothers, it is a now a popular place for business meetings as well as friendly meetups.   

Overall, capsule hotels are just one of the many ways to spend the night whether someone is on a vacation, or just wants a place to live. With the rising world population, this idea of living may be necessary to provide housing to all. More locally, these can be used to solve Los Angeles’ homeless problem as well. Whatever it is, capsule hotels will continue to be an intriguing way to live in a box!