First Cabin Haneda | My Night in an Awesome Japanese Capsule Hotel
Staying in a Japanese pod hotel has been on my bucket list for FOREVER. And I finally got a chance to stay in one called First Cabin Haneda during a long layover in Tokyo Haneda Airport. It was the perfect place to park myself for 9 hours while I waited for my connection to Seoul the next morning.
I’ve been curious about staying in a Japanese capsule hotel since I saw the movie, Baraka. The images of a multitude of capsules stacked on top of each other like lego, with humans hanging out inside them like caged animals have stuck with me.
I mean, how could they not?!
In this guide
- 1 Why stay in a Japanese Pod Hotel?
- 2 First Cabin Haneda Terminal 1
- 3 Amenities at First Cabin Haneda Terminal 1
- 4 What to Expect at First Cabin Haneda
- 5 Catching the Haneda Shuttle Bus
- 6 What’s the deal with Japanese Pod Hotels anyway?
- 7 Are there Korean Capsule Hotels?
Why stay in a Japanese Pod Hotel?
At my advanced traveling age, I’m long past the point where I’m willing to suffer long stopovers on airport floors or benches to save a few dollars (thank god).
So when I booked a crazy last minute flight from Canada to Korea, that involved not one, but TWO, 9 hour stopovers, I made sure to look into airport hotels – one in Los Angeles and one at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.
In LA, I booked a room at a nearby Travelodge that had a swimming pool, Denny’s on the main floor and a free shuttle bus from LAX.
For our Tokyo layover, a night in a Japanese capsule hotel was the obvious solution. Luckily, there was a capsule hotel right inside Haneda Airport, where we were transiting to Seoul, called First Cabin Haneda Terminal 1.
Japanese capsules vary in their amenities and services, but you can count on them to be clean, much more affordable than a traditional hotel, and super convenient. Capsule hotels are absolutely perfect for travelers on a budget. And for long layovers where you don’t want to leave the airport, there’s really no better option.
Japan Travel Essentials
Hotels and Other Accommodation
Travel Insurance for South Korea
Wifi, SIM Cards, and Portable Wifi
Money-Saving Transit and Transport Passes
Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tours
Day Tours and Discounted Admission Tickets
First Cabin Haneda Terminal 1
First Cabin Haneda is a capsule hotel chain in Japan that’s decorated around an aviation/traveling theme. The design is sleek and minimalist, it’s spotlessly clean, and the capsule hotel has all the amenities you require for a short and comfortable stay.
The First Cabin pod hotels are ideal for travelers on a budget, solo travelers, and those who plan to spend most of their time exploring outside. I wouldn’t recommend capsule hotels for those that like to lounge around at their hotel, for light sleepers, or those who need a lot of privacy.
At First Cabin Haneda Terminal 1, there are 2 types of capsules to choose from: the First Class Cabin and the Business Class Cabin.
The Business Capsules at First Cabin Haneda are similar to what I’d seen in Baraka so many years ago – only they aren’t stacked one on top of the other., They’re lined up in rows, and there’s just enough room for a single bed. There’s a bit of storage space for small items, and a tv in the room.
Business Class Cabins cost ¥ 6,000 per night.
360° VIEWS AT SHIBUYA SKY | Shibuya Sky is the only place in Tokyo with a 360° panoramic view of spots like Mt. Fuji, Tokyo Skytree Tower, the scramble crossing, and Roppongi Hills. Check full details here.
First Class Capsules
The First Class Capsules at First Cabin Haneda were more like a mini-hotel room than a sleeping pod, with a slightly larger bed, a small table, tv, and extra storage space.
I ended up in a First Class Capsule, because all of the Business Capsules were fully booked. If you want to save a few bucks, book well in advance. First class cabins cost ¥ 7,000.
First Cabin Haneda Terminal 1 does get fully booked out long in advance, so try to reserve early, or you could try walking in. You might get lucky.
Otherwise, if you’d like to be checked in by robots and dinosaurs, I recommend Henn na Hotel Tokyo Haneda. It’s nearby and has a free shuttle bus.
Amenities at First Cabin Haneda Terminal 1
First Cabin Haneda has all the amenities you require for a short stay. In fact, you’ll find that you don’t even really have to open your suitcase, since they provide you with towels, dental kit, slippers, and even pyjamas!
In the lobby, there are computers for your use, and vending machines with hot snacks like edamame and ramen.
All First Cabin capsule hotels are gender segregated, and include a small spa area that’s enjoyed completely in the buff. The First Cabin Haneda location is no different, and included a clean bathing area, with hot tub, and luxurious feeling (at least to us North Americans) Shisheido products.
After 13 hours on a plane, soaking my weary body in that bath of soothing water was completely rejuvenating. Refreshed and resting under a set of crisp, clean sheets, in the pyjamas provided, after 37 hours of traveling, there was nothing left to do, but bless Japanese efficiency. 🙂
What to Expect at First Cabin Haneda
The First Haneda Cabin Terminal 1 capsules do not lock, but have sliding curtains to give you privacy. I wouldn’t call them loud, but they’re definitely not completely silent, with travellers arriving and departing at all different times of the day and night.
Bring earplugs if you’re a light sleeper.
There’s a lockable drawer for valuables under the bed, and suitcases can simply be left outside your individual capsule if you’re staying in a Business Capsule, instead of a First Class Capsule.
In my personal experience, there’s very little risk of theft in East Asia. People generally leave bags, purses, phones wallets etc… just sitting on tables in cafes. Don’t be careless about it, but in general, there’s not much cause for worry.
First Cabin Haneda Terminal 1 provides you with everything you need for an overnight stay, including pyjamas, towels, and disposable toothbrush and toothpaste.
Most (but not all) Japanese pod hotels include a separate sauna and shower area for men and women. They’re usually fully stocked with shampoo, body wash, and cream for the face.
Catching the Haneda Shuttle Bus
First Cabin Haneda is located in Terminal 1 on the Haneda Airport Arrivals Floor (1st floor). There’s a free shuttle bus between terminals, if you should land somewhere other than Terminal 1, like I did.
Haneda shuttle buses run every 4 minutes, and operate from 4:48AM to midnight. They travel from the Haneda Airport International Terminal to Domestic Terminal 2, to Domestic Terminal 1 (where First Cabin Haneda is located), and back to the International Terminal.
You’ll find the Haneda shuttle bus to the domestic terminals on the 1st floor of the International Terminal. Look for bus stop number 0. If you’re arriving at Domestic Terminal 1, go to Bus Stop number 8 on the first floor Haneda Airport Arrivals level. It’ll take approximately 7-10 minutes to arrive at Terminal 1.
JR EAST RAIL PASS | Exploring the Nagano and Niigata areas of Japan? A JR East Rail Pass makes it easy and convenient, with unlimited travel on local, limited express, express trains, and Shinkansen trains. Narita and Haneda airport areas included. Check full details here.
What’s the deal with Japanese Pod Hotels anyway?
Growing up in Canada, there was nothing but space, space and more space. I just couldn’t understand why the heck you’d need to stay inside a tiny little sleeping tube, like a dog ready for international transport on a plane. Why not sleep in a comfortable and normal sized room instead?
After some years in Asia though, I began to see how spoiled we were for space in Canada. Space is at a serious premium in most Asian cities. There are literally people everywhere, especially in the dense urban spaces. Capsule hotels are a very practical, space and cost-efficient solution.
Culturally though, there are other reasons for these cube hotels. Their main purpose is not as a source of accommodation for backpackers and tourists traveling around the world on a budget.
Rather, these little Japanese pods are mostly used by drunk “salarymen”, who land there after a night of heavy alcohol consumption, which is, for better or worse, a huge part of business culture in East Asia.
That’s why, until recently, it was a bit difficult to find capsule hotels with sections for women. Their original use had nothing to do with most women’s lives.
Are there Korean Capsule Hotels?
Korea has a similar type of accommodation that is used by drunk businessmen, called the jjimjilbang, that includes saunas, showers and sleeping areas.
Jjimjilbangs in Korea are different than Japanese capsules, in that they’re much more multi-use. Most jjimjilbangs have an entertainment area for families, couples and friends to socialize in, with massage chairs, restaurants, movie theatres, screen golf/video game zones, and even nail salons. It’s only late in the evening that jjimjilbangs seems to transform into sleeping quarters for inebriated individuals.
I find it hugely interesting that in Korea, the sleeping area is completely communal, whereas in Japan, everyone is neatly sectioned off into their own little personal pod. It says a lot about the cultural differences between the 2 countries… and though I’m ethnically Korean, the introvert in me definitely prefers the capsule.
Fortunately, there’s now a capsule style hotel in Incheon Airport called DarakHyu too! So if you should find yourself passing through Korea, make sure to check it out!
Did this article help you? Writers (and moms especially) need caffeine!
Help support my small business with a cup of coffee.
First Cabin Haneda: Essential Info and FAQs
Have you ever stayed in a Japanese capsule, or other unique type of accommodation? Where was it? Would you recommend it to other travelers?