When Home Is 32.5 Sq.Ft: Tokyo Capsules

While the U.S. has its infamous Single Room Occupancy hotels, Tokyo has its "capsule" hotels - making SROs appear downright spacious by comparison. This article and accompanying slide show looks at life for one resident of Capsule Hotel Shinjuku 510.
January 4, 2010, 7am PST | Irvin Dawid
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Losing one's job or income in one of Japan's wost recessions dramatically reducing one's housing opportunities. For those that can afford it, there are 'capsule' hotels. For others, there are emergency shelters or sleeping at 24-hour Internet cafes and saunas. The capsule hotel depicted in the article has 300 doorless 'bunks' - of which 100 are rented by the month.

"Hotel Shinjuku 510's capsules, no larger than 6 1/2 feet long by 5 feet wide, and not tall enough to stand up in, have become an affordable option for some people with nowhere else to go as Japan endures its worst recession since World War II.

The rent is surprisingly high for such a small space: 59,000 yen a month, or about $640, for an upper bunk. But with no upfront deposit or extra utility charges, and basic amenities like fresh linens and free use of a communal bath and sauna, the cost is far less than renting an apartment in Tokyo," according to the resident whose life is detailed in the article.

View the 11 Slides of 40-year-old Atsushi Nakanishi, 40, who Nakanishi has lived at the Capsule Hotel Shinjuku 510 in Tokyo for six months.

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Published on Friday, January 1, 2010 in The New York Times - Global Business
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