The First Class Experience on Ground


Published: Mon 20 Dec 2021, 4:13 PM

Heard of pod hotels? Chances that you may have, but have you stayed in one? Japan is brimming with these ultimate overnight stay places that are convenient and secure.


Rhonita Patnaik

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Height of Japanese practicality and efficiency, First Cabin is a one-of-a-kind business hotel in Japan modelled on pod hotels offering comfort and luxurious space. Although the concept originates from the decade old capsule hotel, the brand has upgraded to be one of the most sought-after compact and luxury hotel chain in the country, with seven branches and looking at opening at Kansai region in Osaka.

Launched in 2006, the hi-end brand is represents an image that many have in their minds when it comes to what is also known as pod hotels – efficient use of space, technical ingenuity and a futuristic vibe.

Built on the model of the first class cabin of an airplane, Saori Nishijima, Manager of First Cabin HD, explains that the structure is based on the Japanese architecture of sustainability and movability. “Our founder was inspired by a similar concept located in the Heathrow Airport in London. Also an architect by profession, he incorporated the sustainable culture of embracing nature and imbibing a personality suited to the heritage of japan.”

Adding, Nishijima explains that the founder wanted to create something new without affecting the outer structure of the building where he was creating the First Cabin, he kept intact the body and created something practical within. This is the exact concept of First Cabin. Stylish, luxurious, compact and mobile, adds Nishijima. “This is line with the sustainable culture of Japan.”


As the name suggests, the brand depicts high living. But this is just not for the high flyers. Nishijima opines that the cabins are for everyone. “Whoever wants to experience luxury is welcome here. We are affordable, but at the same time, opulent. We have been around for 15 years. What started as a business hotel has today bloomed into a synonymous with comfort and leisure.”

At First Cabin, not a single cubicle is stacked, thus ensuring privacy and individual space to every guest staying at the hotel. Besides, the property also houses business centres and lounges to unwind at the end of the day.

Features of the cabin

Who doesn’t like to fly first class? And those of us who don’t, we wish to experience it once in our lifetime. Head to Japan’s First Cabin to get acclimatised to the savoir-faire nature of luxe – on the ground.

Modelled on effective use of space just like the first-class cabin in flights, guests inside the booths can enjoy a variety of amenities including sauna and public bath – a feature not found anywhere else.

Offering four options – First Class cabin, Business Class Cabin, Premium Economy Class Cabin and Premium Class, the stay is equipped with bed, TV, table, comfortable lighting, free WiFi and charging points. The cabins were launched to cater to the business class and C suite executives, now the chain has become very popular with tourists. In fact, 60 per cent of the residents are tourists looking for a snug night out in a hotel. From long stays (which many don’t offer) to just a few hours, guests can use from the multiple options of cabins depending on their budget and comfort.

Post-pandemic measures

The First Cabin is taking a lot of precautionary measures to ensure the safety of its guests. With countermeasures in place such as wearing of masks, gloves, acrylic boards at the reception, key cards, regular disinfections, the brand ensures the health and well-being of its staff and guests.

The chain has also undergone rebranding a month ago that takes a holistic approach to health, wellness and time. Japan is reputed to be a country of hard working people with high productivity. This has to be recognized. As part of its efforts, First Cabin, on November 1, 2021, launched its ‘Stay Smart’ campaign.

Heightened demand

With facilities that equal to a first class cabin on a flight, First Cabin is renowned for its affordable rates, luxe ambience, independent space (that we cannot stress enough) and access. The popularity is such that the brand is looking to launch next in Osaka and other prefectures in the near future.

Speaking about global expansion, Nishijima confirms that plans are in sight to launch First Cabins at international airports across the globe to give passengers a taste of first-class luxury on the ground.

“We are looking at New York, Singapore and Taipei at the moment.”

Experiencing such a hotel comes once in a lifetime if you are a traveler. Don’t forget to add this to your itinerary next time you go to Japan.

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