Faced with a late night and early next-day departure from Tokyo one time, I decided (as I often do) that it would be easier to stay in town rather than go home then get up early and come back in again for my bus. Not needing luxury I looked for somewhere cheap and central, and literally just round the corner from Ebisu station, newly reopened and rebranded Do C ticked both boxes.
Straight away as you step inside there's a distinct, stylish look: it's a minimal design, easy on the eye, with plain wooden walls and doors and panels, simple, clear stenciled lettering for directions, and bare concrete floors that still have what look like builders' marks painted on them. Then in your locker you have a neat little mesh basket with good, fluffy towels and branded 'roomwear', comfortable-looking silvery grey pajamas.
There are four floors for men and three for women, so I'll just go ahead and assume that the womens' are the same as the mens': all but one are floors of capsules, with a locker room that has some space for larger bags and cases, though it's a bit pokey for the actual number of guests. The other floor is home to the sauna, and there are some separate showers, and big trough sinks with big mirrors above.
My favourite thing was the sauna: the scent of the wood was nice, and I enjoyed that in authentic Finnish style I could fill the room with steam by ladling water onto hot coals. There's no bath, either hot or cold, but to cool down between steams I could sit under my choice of showers, variously cool, cold, and very cold.
By reception there's a little lounge area where you can eat snacks and make use of the free Wi-Fi, and there's a handy USB socket in your capsule for charging your devices. Other than that, the capsules are typically no-frills, with a small shelf and light, adequately comfortable futon mattress and bead pillow, and big protrusion from the ceiling where the TV used to be.
Ebisu is a really lively area, so there's no shortage of places to eat and drink: watch a band and have a beer at What the Dickens British pub, sip some wine or watch stand-up comedy at Vega Wine Bar, go for cheap'n'cheerful salaryman eats on Yokocho, have a mellow afternoon coffee at Cafe Park. By way of sightseeing there's traditional Japanese art at the Yamatane Museum, photography exhibitions at the Museum of Photography (the clue's in the name, I suppose), or a free view of Tokyo from the equally well-named Top of Ebisu. And on top of the station there's Lumine, several floors of shopping and restaurants.
It's possible to stay overnight, use capsules to rest during the daytime, or come in only for the sauna. According to the website, overnight stays start at JPY4900, day use at JPY1500 (check out by 9:00pm), sauna only at JPY1000, though I got a lower rate for my night on a booking website, so you may be able to too.
I enjoyed the sauna so much I'm thinking of popping in now and then just for that!
It really is just round the corner from the west exit of Ebisu station, not a minute's walk away.
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I came to Japan from Manchester, England in summer 2003, and have travelled a lot since then, around Japan and in Asia. When I`m not working I write satire at www.iothern.blogspot.com and perform stand-up comedy in and around Tokyo. Check my youtube channel `CunningPunster` for a taste.