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Capsule hotels are one of the most unique aspects of Japan. You hear whispers of them from foreigners at the airport; you sometimes see these capsule hotels in downtown Tokyo.

The Capsule Hotel Riverside has a vaguely 1970’s feel (at least, what I imagine the 70s would be like, since, you know, I wasn’t alive for them). It’s pretty neat. Everything is pale green, white, and yellow. And believe it or not, it’s actually not that creepy. I expected the capsule hotel to be, well, rows of capsules stacked on top of each other, with a machine that takes you to your capsule.

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Instead, it looks like this:

Photo by Grace Buchele Mineta

It’s more like each guest gets their own “room;” each “room” is a fairly spacious capsule.

Check in at the Capsule Hotel Riverside is simple; they’re used to foreign travelers. The hotel itself is literally right next to the exit of the Asakusa Station (from the Ginza Line). It has two entrances: one featuring thin, sketchy looking strairs, and the other being the main entrance of Hotel New Gyominso (they share a lobby). I recommend using the Hotel New Gyominso entrance. With some well-placed gestures and charades, you should be checked-in in no time.

The “nice” entrance | Photo by Grace Buchele Mineta

The Capsule Hotel Riverside fills your capsule with pajamas, a toothbrush, a razor, towels, and toothpaste. Your capsule is furnished with a television set, a fairly comfortable mattress, a shelf to store your belongings, and “plenty” of luggage room.

All in all, they have 140 capsule rooms. Most of the rooms are mixed gender – so couples can sleep in adjacent capsules. They do have a women only floor, if you are a woman who does not feel comfortable sleeping in small cells near strange men.


  • Cheap (like, super cheap)
  • Has a women-only floor
  • Provides pajamas, a towel, a razor, and toothpaste
  • Onsen spa (where everyone is naked)
  • RIGHT next to the Asakusa Ginza station
  • Small, free lockers
  • Each capsule has a TV and a small shelf
  • The front desk is open 24 hours
  • Great view of the Asakusa Sumida River
Photo by Grace Buchele Mineta


  • The Wi-Fi is spotty (at best) – or at least it was when I was there
  • No kitchen (or way to prepare your own food)
  • You can’t share a capsule with your partner
  • Somewhat claustrophobic (but really, the capsules are much larger than I expected)
  • Difficult to carry luggage
  • They kick you out from 9am to 3pm (to clean and stuff)
  • Now power outlets inside the capsule
  • No one under 15 is allowed to stay in the capsule hotel
  • You can’t bring visitors inside the hotel
The sketchy, side entrance of the Capsule Hotel | Photo by Grace Buchele Mineta

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