You may not even want to bother getting a capsule when visiting Grand Sauna Shinsaibashi.

Capsule hotels have evolved greatly in recent years and with an impressive momentum. Not too long ago it was merely the dingy last resort of drunken old guys who missed the last train home, but now there have been leaps in cleanliness and women-friendly facilities.

Their uniqueness is also a constant draw for visitors from abroad, which makes these new generation capsule hotels an all-around great alternative to the high-priced or booked-up hotels found near sightseeing areas. One such establishment can be found right in the heart of Osaka: Grand Sauna Shinsaibashi.

This large hotel is a mere five-minute walk from exit 25 of Namba Station on the Midosuji Line of the subway. Our reporter Masanuki arrived at the front desk after midnight, but there were around 10 people in line in front of him. It stood to reason, as after the last train leaves, it probably becomes the busiest time for a place like this.

There was a diverse group of people in the lineup with different ages, genders, and nationalities. Masanuki wasn’t afraid of not getting a capsule because he had reserved one the day before, but even if he didn’t he probably still could have gotten one of the 369 chambers there starting at 2,900 yen (US$26) per night.

Masanuki paid 3,500 yen ($32) for his capsule in a package that involved first partaking of the hotel’s three types of saunas, outdoor bath, and/or jet baths. Unfortunately, our reporter lacked the stamina to try out all of the saunas in one visit, but the outdoor bath was exquisitely large and comfortable for what you might expect from a capsule hotel.

▼ Right after checking in, you can drop off any luggage in your own private locker.

Afterwards, on his way to his capsule, Masanuki passed through the rest area set up with multiple recliners, mats, TVs, and about 100,000 volumes of manga for your relaxing pleasure.

There’s also a game section…well, if you count novelty slots as an actual “game.”

There are also massages available all through the night in a wide range of lengths and styles.

In fact, you can factor the massage into your capsule fee and save up to 1,000 yen ($9).

And if all this makes you hungry, there’s a 24-hour restaurant on hand to serve you springs rolls, bibimbap, beer, and more.

With all this available, Masanuki wasn’t sure he was ever going to make it to his capsule. That’s when a pro-tip dawned on him. There are two types of rates; a capsule rate that starts at 2,900 yen ($26) and a sauna-rate of 2,100 yen ($19). So, by paying the sauna-rate you can just enjoy the facilities and catch any needed Zs on a recliner in the relaxation area.

▼ That guy in the middle looks like he knows what’s up.

Be careful though. If you check-in after 11 p.m. there is an additional 600 yen ($5.50) added to the sauna-rate. However, it’s still cheaper than the capsule-rate and it covers you for 15 hours, which means you could stay longer than if you would had you gotten a capsule.

Unfortunately, the rest area is only open to men for security reasons, which means that women can’t save money through this workaround.

If it’s any consolation, however, there is a special women’s section protected by an auto-locking door and equipped with showers. The capsules in here are also said to be more spacious with room beside the bed.

▼ The door to the women’s section is both secure and festive.

Exhaustion began to set in on Masanuki and he finally set off for his room. One thing he noticed about the Grand Sauna Shinsaibashi was all the people moving around all throughout the night. The two elevators were constantly busy which ate into what little time he had to experience everything inside this seven-storey building.

Climbing into his capsule and onto his clean futon, Masanuki was a little bummed he didn’t get to rent the VR gear available at the front desk. He was just too tired at that point and settled down to sleep.

Overall Masanuki was very impressed with his stay at the Grand Sauna Shinsaibashi. For less than he would spend at an average business hotel, he could experience far more in the way of amenities. The only problem was there just wasn’t enough time to do it all and still get some sleep.

Factor in the location right in downtown Osaka, and there simply isn’t any reason for an aspiring capsule hotel guest to turn down a stay here…except that you may never make it to your capsule.

Hotel information
Grand Sauna Shinsaibashi / グランドサウナ心斎橋
Osaka-fu, Osaka-shi, Chuo-ku, Nishi-Shinsaibashi 2-8-12
Capsule hours: 3 p.m. – 10 a.m.
Sauna hours: 24 hours (2,100 yen for 15 hours)

Photos ©SoraNews24
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