The brand-new Hotel Zen Tokyo broadens our consciousness of what’s possible in a micro hotel.
Japan’s capsule hotels are a lot of things, such as unique, convenient, and affordable. But can they also be beautiful?
That’s the question being asked by Hotel Zen Tokyo, located in Tokyo’S Nihonbashi neighborhood, which seeks to shake off the stigma capsule hotels have as being temporary rent-a-coffin providers, and instead create a serene and relaxing space for guests.
We could tell this was going to be a different kind of capsule hotel before we even got inside. Zen Tokyo’s chic exterior evokes the white plaster walls of Japan’s historical samurai towns, and gently blowing in the breeze at the front door was a traditional noren entryway curtain.
Once inside, an employee greeted us and directed us to a locker where we could store our luggage and valuables…
…and then it was off to our capsule.
▼ Male and female guests stay on separate floors.
Looking at the above photo, you’ll notice that unlike most capsule hotels, which stack their sleeping compartments on top of each other, at Zen Tokyo there are no capsules directly above or below you. This allows for two-meter (6.6-foot) high ceilings inside the capsules, and that vertical space helps prevent any tension-causing claustrophobia you might get in a run-of-the-mill capsule hotel.
The other key difference is the gorgeous interior design. Supposedly Zen Tokyo’s designers took inspiration from the Taian tea room in Kyoto, which was used by 16th-century tea master Sen no Rikyu. We’re not sure exactly what styling cues were carried over, but we can say that Zen Tokyo’s capsules are a very nice place to spend time in.