Small, private booths that provide rest and temporary refuge in the middle of a busy train station in Japan are fascinating the internet, with some considering taking time out of their travel plans just to experience them.
The booths, which are marketed as another form of Japan’s famous single-occupancy “capsules,” were recently featured by local YouTuber Travelgeek, who documents their travel adventures with “no background music” so people can “enjoy the real sounds.”
In their video, the content creator takes viewers to two sleep pods at Ōmiya Station in Saitama, a stop 25 minutes away from Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district.
“The capsule is for those who want to take a nap or work privately inside the station,” they explain in their video’s captions.
The electronic pods appear to offer a variety of features. The first booth Travelgeek tries, which has a sign that says “supported by Nescafé,” includes a Nescafé Dolce Gusto coffee maker, paper cups and columns of coffee capsules. Sugar, stirring sticks and hand sanitizer are also available in the room.
Beyond coffee, the single-occupant pod features a smart lock, a small couch, a table, a desk fan, an exhaust fan, a trash can and power outlets. There is also “free Wi-Fi,” but it is not immediately clear whether it came as a feature of the pod or of the entire train station, as many railway stations in Japan offer wireless connections.
The second pod Travelgeek samples was designed for a small work group, presumably of up to four people. It has two sets of couches, a table at the center, a monitor on the wall and other features similar to the first booth — save for the Nescafé coffee set.
Travelgeek stays for two hours at the Nescafé-supported pod, which costs 330 Japanese yen (approximately $2.30) per 15 minutes. It’s unclear how much they spent for the second booth, which apparently can also be used by individuals, but the YouTuber listed a range of prices in the description between 275 yen and 495 yen (approximately $2 to $3.50) per 15 minutes.
YouTube users expressed delight at the pods, which have become a unique part of Japanese urban culture in recent years.
“I could not imagine a facility like this existing in a major U.S. city like LA or NYC — people would vandalize and destroy it,” one user wrote. “Tokyo is probably one of the most densely populated cities I’ve visited and yet it’s so orderly, clean and civilized.”
Another commented, “Japan is one of those places I think I’d want to travel to to just see ‘ordinary’ stuff like this. Not really tourist attractions or natural wonders, just a bit of everyday life in places like this.”
“When I moved to Japan 10 years ago I couldn’t believe some of the inventions I would see. Now it’s like ‘yeah that’s Japan for you,’” another noted. “Their inventions are amazing. I especially love their village areas. They’re so calming. So clean.”