TOKYO >> Two firms opened a women-only capsule hotel in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward this summer in an effort to meet a need for simple and reasonable accommodation for women.
The seven-story hotel — Nine Hours Woman Kanda — is near JR Kanda Station and offers 70 sleeping pods.
Keisuke Yui, founder of hotel operator nine hours Inc., said his firm usually builds capsule hotels for both male and female customers. But because available land was quite limited at the new location, the focus was narrowed.
“We decided to make this hotel for women because there are not many such facilities, especially capsule hotels,” Yui said.
The hotel, which was developed and will be operated jointly by JR East Urban Development Corp. and nine hours, charges about $43 or more for a stay. It also accepts women who just want to shower ($7) or sleep for a short period ($8.70).
“Now that society is seeing more working women, we thought this kind of 24-hour facility where they can come in anytime would be a good service,” he said.
While many in Japan may have the perception that capsule hotels are for middle-aged men, recent trends apparently differ.
Yui said his firm noticed a need for capsule hotels for women, as nine hours has been seeing female customers at its four other locations.
In addition, more foreign tourists are staying at capsule hotels, with about half of the recent customers at nine hours hotels being international travelers, Yui added.
Due to a surge in international travelers, Tokyo has been facing a shortage of hotels, so the number of capsule hotels — which are easier to build compared to more complex hotels — has been increasing in recent years, according to a report published by the Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Institute last year.
“When I started this business in 1999, we hardly saw any foreign customers … it’s really different,” said Yui, adding that he expects that half of the customers at the new women-only facility will be inbound tourists.
Tokyo already has a few other women-only capsule hotels, such as Ladies 510, which has been operating for 14 years, along with Akihabara Bay Hotel and Nadeshiko Hotel Shibuya, both of which were launched last year.