A Tokyo Capsule Hotel with an arty, relaxed difference at The Millennials

We’d heard about the fascinating tradition of a Tokyo capsule hotel for years on travel shows. These futuristic pod hotels come from a need for a convenient place to sleep after working late and missing the last train home. The Japanese salaryman’s lifestyle is hard working and hard playing, so it’s probable that “missing the train” was also a euphemism for being caught out late at an izakaya, a little local pub where you can snack on skewers called yakitori and drink tall bottles of beer and Sake.

Traditionally, Japan’s capsule hotels were segregated affairs either exclusively for the salaryman or with separate floors for men and women. In the past, they were like somewhere between a hyperbaric chamber and bunk beds, with self-contained spaces just big enough to fit a human in and a controller for lights and the mini television mounted from its roof. The Millennials is one of many Tokyo capsule hotels, but it takes that concept and brings it up to today’s expectations and standards. Boasting 120 smart pods across mixed, female-only, and an arty floor, this is a place that will win over the hearts of anyone who likes hotels with a quirk.

The Shibuya Crossing is only four minutes from the hotel.

The Millennials pod hotel in Shibuya

When we sought out a pod hotel, we were pleasantly surprised to find a capsule hotel in Shibuya, a vibrant shopping and entertainment precinct.

Before you head out to the nightlife of Shibuya, you can enjoy free beers between 5:30 and 6:30.

The Millennials Shibuya is situated just two blocks from the famed Shibuya intersection, close to all the bars and nightlife, but offering a quiet haven where you can literally shut out the world for a pleasant sleep.

The Millennials Shibuya is a Tokyo Capsule Hotel with a difference.
Everything about The Millennials feels new.

Checking in at a Tokyo Capsule Hotel

Your check-in is at the main counter in a small lobby with an adjoining lounge full of communal tables. This is where breakfast is served and where you can enjoy a beer with other travelers – as you have to be quiet and respectful on the other floors. We’re given a quick tutorial video on how it all works – your key is an iPod (one of the ones that look like an iPhone4), you are given a small bag with slippers, towel, face towel, and toothbrush. After signing a waiver that you won’t eat, drink or disturb others while in your pod, you head up to your assigned floor.

Staying in a modern Tokyo capsule hotel takes on a different feel with art pods, free breakfast and even a rooftop terrace.
The Millennials Shibuya is only serviced by one tiny lift, meaning it will take a while to get to your pod.

As a couple, we stay on a non-segregated floor, but can’t share a capsule room. It makes perfect sense when you see them in context. Unlike the ones that originated in the 1980s, these are no double-decker space-inspired rooms. Instead, they look more like a series of wood and cloth storage sheds, with a simple woven blind the door to your abode. Pulling it gently down to get it to spring up, you’re greeted with the space equivalent to a double bed. There’s no standing room inside to change or move around, so any dressing is done in the bathroom. On the capsule level, there are three showers, three toilets, and four washer-dryers.

The facilities are clean and modern.

Life on the inside

Crawling inside the capsule room feels like a pillow fort or a glamping tent. There’s not a lot of room in a Tokyo capsule hotel, but it’s all very comfortable and way more spacious than the traditional pods of the 80s and 90s when these unique accommodations came into style. Inside is a 120cm-wide Serta mattress bed that can be adjusted – think one of those sleep number beds – set as a sofa at first, but it adjusts to a plush mattress.

Each smart pod has just enough room for your overnight needs.

You control the comfort level

The iPod controls the lights and bed and there is storage space under the bed. There is also a projector that turns the pulled-down blind into a large screen TV. One particularly amusing curio is that instead of setting an audible alarm that has the chance of waking others in neighboring pods, the alarm will tilt you upright and turn the light on (it has a snooze option which is funny in its own right). 

After waking up deathly cold and realizing there are actual blankets  (got a little excited playing with the app and fell to sleep without covering up) it’s much more comfortable under the blankets but the lack of climate control ensures a raspy morning throat.

Wake up to a tasty breakfast

A rejuvenating rainwater shower head cures any ills and the price includes a free basic breakfast consisting of danishes, a curry roll, and a Hakone milk pastry which is sweet but very smooth. The dining area is well designed but the honor system of washing up your own dishes makes it feel like a nice backpacker’s – which is a fair assessment. It’s a refreshing change really and not for everyone, but its prime location, budget price and the sheer novelty value of staying in a Tokyo capsule hotel make it a worthy choice at least for one night in the Japanese capital.


WHAT?

The Millennials Shibuya is a modern take on Tokyo capsule hotel with its roomy sleeping pods controlled by an Apple iPod. Additional selling points include a happy hour with free beer between 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm daily, free breakfast, and an art floor with smart pods designed by artists including Yusuke Hanai, Shinpei Onishi, Niky Rohreke, Mariya Suzuki, and Cookieboy.

WHERE?

This unique Japanese pod hotel is situated in one of the most desirable areas to stay if you want to check out Tokyo nightlife. It is only a couple of minutes from the famous Shibuya crossing and close to the Meiji Jingu Shrine by train.

1-20-13 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku

HOW?

A night at The Millennials Capsule Hotel will set you back around $80US a night per smart pod. There are female only options, artier pods on the Art Floor, and ones with full projectors that turn the pod door into a screen.

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Chalk and Cheese Travels

Never heard of these before, what a simple and cool concept. I suppose its all you really need if your travelling it would stop you hanging around the room and get out.
Love it has a TV

Lisa at Following the Rivera
Lisa at Following the Rivera
1 month ago

This is so cool! Japan is my dream destination but who knows when I’ll ever get to visit. The price for the capsule hotel isn’t too bad either (for Tokyo). On my list for one day!

Kasia
Kasia
1 month ago

How interesting! Do they feel claustrophobic? I’ve stayed in some small rooms, but this takes “small” to a totally different level.

Vanessa Shields
Vanessa Shields
1 month ago

These pods are so cute and very cool with all the modern touches! I love how it tilts you up as an alarm. I stayed in a pod hotel at the Dubai airport once but it slept 2 people and no room for anything else! It was a fun experience but I’d love to try one of these Shibuya!

Wendy White
1 month ago

I’ve wanted to try out a capsule hotel for ages and The Millennials Shibuya sounds and looks perfect. Love the wake up idea of the bed going up haha

Becky Exploring
1 month ago

So interesting to read about your experience in a Tokyo capsule hotel. I’ve never stayed in one (and probably never will) but it’s neat to see what it’s like. The alarm that tilts you up instead of ringing is so funny. I wonder if I’d even wake up.

Sue
Sue
1 month ago

What an interesting concept! I feel like I need an alarm that tilts my bed up at home do I wouldn’t continuously hit snooze every morning lol

Jan
Jan
1 month ago

Japan with all its quirkiness and its appreciation of the minimalistic concept, capsule hotels are taking it to another level. It’s practical to some while others might find it too claustrophobic like the one’s similar to Hong Kong’s closet bedrooms without the futuristic touch. Nonetheless, it is an experience 😉

John Quinn
John Quinn
30 days ago

You know this doesn’t look bad compared to some that I’ve seen. I could actually do this. I’ve had friends who had a torrid experience in others. Making note of this one.

Stefan (BerkeleySqB)
29 days ago

This looks and sounds much more comfortable than I had anticipated. Might give this a go next time around. Thanks for sharing.

Jane
21 days ago

Mmm. Not sure, but would give it a go. How sound proof are they with just a woven blind for a door? ie can you hear your neighbour snoring? An alarm that tilts the bed is different. Might get a bit of a shock if you were not expecting it!

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