This is my 4th trip to Japan in 3 years and I realised that I’ve been trying out various accommodation for singles every time.
The first time, I travelled solo to Tokyo for a night and I ended up staying overnight at the Oedo Onsen, where there isn’t a proper bed.
The second time, I booked an airbnb room because I had a luggage and I think that staying in capsule or hostels might not be as convenient. Hostels are not really my cup of tea these days. In fact, the last time I stayed in a bunk-sharing hostel was during my grad trip to Europe back in 2012.
The third time, I wasn’t travelling alone but I wanted to experience a night at a female capsule hotel so we stayed there for one night.
This time, I legitly needed a room for 2 nights for myself and I settled for First Cabin Osaka Midousuji-Namba for the following reasons:
- I was travelling with a big luggage and it was going to be the end of my trip. I need an accommodation that gives a private space to me and my luggage. Capsule hotel was not a solution as your only private space was the bed.
- I didn’t want to stay in a hostel as I think I’m too lazy for mingling with new friends. Also, I don’t fancy climbing up and down if I was assigned the bunk bed.
- Hotels in my preferred area was out of budget and the ones within my budget didn’t meet my 4/5 or 8/10 review score expectations
Anyway, just some tips for booking:
- Check prices across different platforms before booking.
Also, check their official website.
If you are going to book through a booking website, use shopback and receive rebates for your booking.
- If it shows “SOLD OUT” 1 month before your trip, check again nearer to the date as most places offer free cancellation and rooms may become available at a later date.
(I originally only booked 1 night as the second night was sold out but one week before the trip, there was availability for the second night and I was able to cancel my booking of the other accommodation and stayed 2 nights at First Cabin)
- There are only 30 to 40 cabins for female in comparison to like x3 for males. In fact, the female cabins were actually converted from male cabins as the toilets still had the male urinal. As a result, you will notice that the female cabins are always sold out before the male cabins.
In case you’re not satisfied with the reviews that you’ve seen from tripadvisor or the various booking websites, here’s my in-depth thoughts about my stay.
FIRST CABIN Midousuji Namba
Address: 〒542-0076 4F Namba Midosuji Building, 4-2-1, Nanmba, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka, JAPAN
As this was like a premium budget accommodation, the pricing was quite steep in comparison to hostels and capsule hotels.
For the first night (Thursday), I paid SGD $66.52 (approx 5400Y) and for the second night (Friday), I paid SGD $81 (approx 6500Y). In comparison, my Tokyo Capsule hotel was only 3400Y. Do note that the prices can increase till 7000 and 8000Y especially during the peak season.
Note: The price I paid was for room only. It does not include breakfast, VOD or massage services.
Given the high price of the accommodation, it is highly justifiable by the damn awesome location. It is right beside Dotonburi (the most bustling part of Osaka’s nightlife). My previous airbnb back in my trip 2 years ago was ‘near’ dotonburi and this already meant like a 12 to 15 minutes walk. This time round, First-Cabin was just three streets from Dotonburi! Apart from that, it is directly accessible from “Exit 13” of the subway. If you’re travelling to/from the airport which stops you at Namba Nankai Station, all you have to do is walk towards the subway station (orange/pink/blue) line and look for the lift at Exit 13. The lift brings you right up to First-Cabin on Level 4.
Note: If you are arriving from JR-Namba Station or OCAT, the walking distance will be longer.
That being said, the cheapest option from Kansai Airport to Namba is to take the Nankai-kuko (Green) Line which only cost 920Y (travel duration is about 20 mins more than the express train which cost 1430Y with reserved seating).
After reading the reviews online, I was a mentally prepared for the cigarette smell. I did smell it the moment I walk in the cabins area but it didn’t bother me much as time went by. As this was a non-smoking place, people cannot smoke inside but there’s still a smoking room which could possibly share the same aircon vents.
As the cabins area had no windows, the air could be perceived to be somewhat stale but it wasn’t too much of a concern for me as there was a humidifier in the room which I can’t figure out how to refill the water. I kept it on for the first night only but it was not too much of an issue.
The temperature inside was really room temperature, not cold but not too warm to the extent that I will sweat.
The room was decent in size. The bed was super-single in size and there was a television in every cabin. There’s even a walking space (I guess about 6o to 80cm), a bedside table and a mirror. There are also hangers and hooks in the room. It can be considered a luxury as if you were in a capsule or hostel, you wouldn’t even have a private walking space!
If you feel claustrophobic, there is also a lounge area that you can chill at with manga comics. I guess if you’re travelling with a friend, you can sit and talk comfortably at the lounge area. Also, if you do have friends of the other gender, you can also hang out at an area on the 3rd floor but it was a smoking area so I didn’t venture there.
This was the main problem for me, together with many other reviews that I’ve read. The cabins do not have any real door, just a foldable blind and it is not concealed at all! There’s this gap at the top of your cabin (about 10cm) which allows air to ventilate and noise to travel. Sad to say, I was the one contributing to the noises, especially for my second night when I had to pack. Unzipping of luggage, rustling of plastic bags from purchases and dirty clothing plus sniffing nose.. I was one of the culprits behind the noise. I felt so guilty throughout the entire packing process and as much as I try to minimize the noise, I’m sure someone will still be disturbed. At night while you are sleeping, it is not uncommon to hear sniffling nose and coughing which can come from any cabin. Since the place is so quiet, any slightest sound can be amplified.
Conclusion – this place is definitely not for light sleepers and.. it is not that suitable for people on long vacations/huge luggage or with many shopping purchases.
As mentioned, there are no locks to your cabin. Anyone can pull open the blinds at any time.
To give myself more security, I parked my huge luggage at the entrance of the ‘door’ creating an obstacle for any intruder.
A key is provided for one locked drawer under your bed but.. pulling it open and close creates noise which will make me feel guilty. For the first night, I locked my valuables (laptop and wallet) before I went to shower but.. that was it. I was bochap the second night which.. is not exactly a good advice for all but I chose to believe that Japan is generally a safe country.
There are toilets and make up area situated at the same floor (4F) of your cabin but the bathing area was on the 3F where you will have to walk down. The water dispenser is also situated at the bathing area so it can be a little troublesome if you get thirsty at night. Anyway, I was given the most inside cabin of the entire place so walking did seem a bit of a chore as I had to turn left right here and there but I was thankful for the corner room which was supposedly more private.
If you are a female and very mindful of your modesty and birthday body, please note that THERE ARE NO PRIVATE SHOWER CUBICLES IN THE FEMALE TOILET.
I was misled by this photo which was shown at hotels.com website and I have yet to clarify this information with them yet. I’m not sure if the male toilets have these private cubicles but nope there isn’t any in the female cabins!!
Note: Having private shower cubicles may not be common but they exist! The capsule hotel I stayed back in Tokyo had private showers. It might sound like a small deal but I realised that not many people are comfortable with appearing stark naked among others. I was a little disappointed with the lack of private showers.
However, there is one single stand up shower in the female toilet which I used for both nights. You kind of face the wall while you bathe and you don’t have to worry about your left and right neighbours, unlike the sit-down ones.
Apart from the shower facilities, there was a hot tub and a cold tub (not sure if anyone enters it or if it was just there to give cool splashes) and a suana. On my last night, I YOLO-ed and entered both the hot tub and the suana. Yes I might be uncomfortable being naked but.. the dip in the hot tub was good for my skin and my feet became smoother for the night. I assume that the heat helps to burn off all the dry and dead skin..
The dressing room/make-up area is perfect! They provide everything like hair dryers, hair straighteners, lotion, emulsion, cotton pad, cotton bud etc.
I did not like the bed at all. It was bigger than the ones at capsule hotels but it was too hard for my liking or perhaps it did not have any spring. I woke up multiple times every night before my alarm rang. The first few nights of my Japan stay where I stayed at hotels, I could sleep right through to my alarm ringing the next morning but it was quite uncomfortable here. I had no problem falling sleep but I don’t know why I kept waking up.. Apart from the toilet disappointment, this was the next biggest disappointment (which was kind of the same as what most people reveiwed too).
To be honest, because of the bed, I might not be coming back to this place if I ever need to stay for 2 or more nights. One night is fine but anything more than that.. your sleep will be disrupted =/
Apart from the comfort, sound issues and no private showers, I generally enjoyed the convenience and accessibility this place had. Likewise with most Japanese establishments, the front desk was friendly and helpful. Also, I wasn’t able to get a luggage stand for my bag (which was provided in small quantities when you enter) and when I asked the staff for one, she took a long while and came back with a basket apologizing that she couldn’t find me any. Also, the extra blankets/pillows were snapped up very quickly each day and I never managed to get any.
Anyway, if you’re wondering how much luggage I was travelling with, here you go:
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