”Design for foreign visitors” changes Shibuya’s hotel affairs “Conversion Hostel” is very hot… but what is it?

 “Where am I? What is this place?!”— By the end of the decade, you may feel like this in Shibuya. It is said that Shibuya will have changed into completely new, unrecognizable town.

Tokyo is undergoing development in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “Shibuya Stream” – a huge shopping skyscraper with 35 floors above ground and 4 floors underground will complete its development in this autumn, and another skyscraper will scheduled to be opened in a path along Shibuya River.

Today, we would like to thinking about Shibuya’s present and future trough checking some unique facilities.


■More tourists, more hotels.

The number of foreign visitors to Japan is above 24 million – it is 1.7 times more than the population of Tokyo (13 million). The number of foreign tourist and foreign hotel guests are rapidly increased after 2017, in particular.



*The figures for Visitor Arrivals are preliminary figures estimated by Japan National Tourism Organization.
**The figures for Hotel Guests are preliminary figures estimated by Japan Tourism Agency.


When it comes to this, lack of hotels might be a big problem. But you shouldn’t worry about that. Around 2013 to 2014 was the worst situation, but since 2015, it gradually recover from that. Tokyo is experiencing even greater upturn after 2014.

Source: Report on Public Health Administration and Services/ Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

Thousands of hotel rooms are being added to here Shibuya as well, and “Conversion Hostel” is in the Spotlight now.


■Conversion is “Reimagining” of Space

“Conversion” means to remodel old building such as office and commercial facilities, so “Conversion Hostel” is a hostel which has been renovated from old buildings. “Hostel” is a low-budget, sociable accommodation so their space should be designed to meet these conditions.

Additionally, as an article below (only available in Japanese) features, some of these hotels are converted from School.

Conversion is exactly a “Reimagining of Space”.

The Remodeling Business Journal


■The ongoing evolution of Capsule Hostel

Among conversion hostels, the number of “Capsule Hostel (pod hotel)” has been increasing. “Capsule Hotels” reminds me of simple inn for salarymen who worked overtime, missed their last train home — And most are men-only.

How is the situation changed?

Here’s spacious coworking space of “The Millennials Shibuya” -– seems like comfortable café.

Guest can choose staying area from “men’s/women’s only area” or “unisex area”. It fits with the times. Units called “Smart-pod” feature high ceilings and reclining beds, making for a pleasant way to wake up. Some units have projectors that can project the videos using the door as the projection screen. You’ve got yourself your own little movie theater by connecting the projector to your laptop or smart phone, choose your favorite movie. You may feel “Living in the Future”.

Now, there are also women’s only capsule hotels –- “NADESHIKO HOTEL SHIBUYA” is one of them. It consists of cocoon-shaped, high sound insulated sleeping cabins called “COCOON”, provides a traditional Japanese garment “yukata”.

*Nadeshiko means Japanese women who have Japanese traditional beauty and kindness.


■Visitors who spending nights “not in an hotel” and “never sleep”

To save money, some visitors decide to stay overnight not in a hotel but in airport lobbies, express night buses, and so on. The number of them is increased in recent year. For details, see the article below (only available in Japanese).

The Nikkei

On the other side, there are visitors who want to spending night out in Shibuya. Shibuya is known as one of the “Sleepless Town” so you can easily find visitors shopping around midnight. Shibuya provides many spots for those people as well.

HOTEL KOE tokyo” has adjoining apparel shop which is operated until 23PM. Of course, you can visit there even if you are not staying the hotel. There is a cashless and self-service “Smart Register” and so 21PM to 23 PM will be unmanned business hours. Actually, the capsule hotel “The Millennials Shibuya” is 10 seconds walk from here. This area is very popular for many café and boutiques.



“Mega Don Quijote Shibuya”, the biggest discount goods store in Tokyo open 24 hours. It offers variety selections of Japanese souvenirs so very popular for foreign visitors. The following website gives you more details about “MEGA DONKI”.



■Where there is women, there is a cutting-edge technology.

Less is known regarding that there is 24-hour Internet café which foreigner available in Shibuya. You are required to show your passport/foreigner registration by law, but even women can use comfortably.

 “Gran Cyber café BAGUS Shibuya Bunkamura-dori” is “cutting-edge internet café” which located within walking distance of “MEGA DONKI”. Of course the café has plenty of manga and games, but this café even has VR games (\300 for rent VR headset). There is also area for women’s only so women can use there comfortably even at midnight. They said that they don’t want you to expect the staff to be fluent in English, but they have menu board so you don’t need to worry about registration.

Neo-futuristic lobby of “Gran Cyber café BAGUS Shibuya Bunkamura-dori”


Hailey’5 café Shibuya” is another “cutting-edge internet café” in Shibuya. All the rooms are soundproofed and have automatic lock, and social space is also available, making comfort experience almost like that of a normal hotel… but please notice that this is café, NOT a hotel. Because the café is quiet and no security concerns, some business men use there as co-working space, but their offerings designed to appeal to women so “most of our customers are women”, according to its manager – It’s obvious at glance.

Bright and fashionable reception counter and social space


They have unlimited soft-drinks and Ice-creams. You can have shower and food if you incur additional fee. “Original Pudding” – additives-free and limited to the first 6 customers a day – is very popular items on its menu.

Seasonal Ice-cream flavors are bottomless


Hand-made “Original Pudding” has a lot of repeat customers

You can go out while you are staying here, so it may be a good idea to use the café as activity base. But in that case, Please Keep valuables in your possession even there are no security concerns.


■Things I found while walking Shibuya

I found 2 things when I making myself go out for a walk through Shibuya.

1) Shibuya changes itself before the born of new culture

Shibuya was known as a prime source of cultural trends in 1980 to 1990, but recent years, it is said that “Shibuya can no longer make new culture”. However in reality, it may be just an incapable of us keep up with simultaneously and frequently occurring changes. By 2020, new facilities will be connected so user’s traffic line will also change. Some people may feel Shibuya changed suddenly, some may not recognize a border between cities such as “Shibuya” and “Daikanyama”.

2) Designs for foreign visitors are refreshing for Japanese people

There are many ingenious space designs for foreign visitors, but these are also refreshable and comfortable for Japanese people. Even I – who work in Shibuya – feel like I’m in other country. I especially savour extraordinary feeling of Conversion Hostel with its unique space design and spend time with international people. The place can be described as “School Trip for Adults” for Japanese people.

Shibuya is not only “Shibuya” but also “foreign country”. Shibuya continues changing.

(Article by: Nanae Kan)

Fields Research Institute (FRI) conducts research in entertainment.
This article was written by a member of FRI, through the original coverage of his/her interests observed in their daily lives.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Print This Post