Where to work when you are in Japan
A ‘home away from home’ is often not hard to find; every other website claims to offer you the nicest of hotel rooms at the sharpest of prices. However, what if you have some work to do, and you need a quiet place to sit down and think (and perhaps have a coffee or two)? In that case, let us take you along the nicest places to do some quiet work in Japan you’ll have no trouble finding such a place!
Whether you came to Japan for business, you’re a freelancer working on your new novel or updating your website, these shared workspaces offer everything you need. They have interiors more comfy than your everyday office, fast internet and possibilities for printing and meeting rooms. Why not try one of these ‘public offices’?
The Terminal Harajuku
Nicely designed office in the Harajuku area. Equipped with meeting rooms, a rooftop for smokers and Macs for visitors. Read more...
Photo courtesy of jamo.jp
Creative Lounge MOV Shibuya
This rental office is very conveniently located inside the Hikari-e building, connected to Shibuya Station. If there is anything you might need MOV doesn’t provide, you can find it in this enormous department store/office/theatre/restaurant building. But, such a situation might not occur because MOV really has everything one might need for a productive day of work and the exchanging of ideas. Read more...
Meguro HUB Tokyo caters especially for those who are starting up a new business and who wish to use the flexibility and relatively low cost of a monthly rental office. The meeting rooms are comparably cheap, and HUB strongly encourages interaction between developers and other creative souls. Note: if you see a flashy sign saying ‘HUB’ and some drunk people stumbling out of the door, you’re probably at the wrong place, so be careful. Read more...
This homely space does not feel like a regular office at all: it’s more like a comfy university library. Long tables with bright lighting and power sockets everywhere and walls covered with books. Co-Ba is cheaper than the other alternatives, which makes it easy accessible for starters and freelancers (and even actual university students) as well. Read more...
Photo courtesy of bgshibuya.blog.fc2.com
You can also rent a small router that brings you Wi-Fi everywhere you go. With portable internet, you can stay connected even behind a steaming bowl of ramen soup, on top of a mountain or at the beach with a cocktail in hand. It’s almost as good as not working at all.
Offers various different routers. Depending on your usage and whether you will visit the more rural areas of Japan (such as the tops of mountains), you can choose which one suits your needs best. Prices are around 3000 yen for 4 days. Read more...
Here you can also order your potable Wi-Fi online. They ship to destinations all over Japan, so you can have it delivered to your hotel and be connected upon check in, or pick it up at the airport. Prices range from around 1000 yen a day for hi-speed internet to 420 yen a day for low-speed internet. Read more...
There are numerous options if you don’t need printers or meeting rooms and if you’ll settle for just a chair, a table and a hot cup of caffeine. Coming from Europe, I always have to get used to the Japanese ‘coffee’ (which in my opinion is often just brown-coloured water). But if you can conquer the coffee, you can enjoy a day of unlimited access to fresh water, the bathroom, and Wi-Fi!
Beware that Japan is a disaster when you’re looking for Wi-Fi connection. When you don’t depend on the internet for your work you can of course sit down wherever, but for those who, like me, are looking for a fast connection with the other side of the globe it requires a life-long search for the right spots. Luckily for you, I’ve done the work for you and you can just scroll down for the insider’s tips ↓
There are many bars and cafes in the hip Shibuya neighbourhood in Tokyo that cater to the traveller or the Japanese who’ve used up their monthly mb’s. Not only can you use unlimited internet there, the cafes usually serve better coffee than the regular chains, and have other interesting choices on the menu like ‘kinako milk’, ‘pumpkin lattes’ or chilled tea cocktails. A few worth trying: And People, Muse or FAB cafe.
If you get weirded out by all the Japanese drinks and snacks, this is a safe haven to recharge with a standard Starbucks cup of coffee. In such case, you’ll be fine as long as you stay away from the ‘matcha latte frappuccino’ (which is actually delicious if you’re up for it). There are Starbucks’ on virtually every street corner in Japan. Since they offer an internet connection even if you’re not with a Japanese telecom provider, the café is always full with foreigners trying to reach their home lands. Read more...
Then there are of course the ubiquitous internet cafes and manga kissas. A manga kissa is kind of like a library, but with computers, comfy chairs, unlimited hot and cold drinks and showers (really, they have showers). Maybe not the perfect place for a few hours of concentration on your work, but if there’s nothing else around, it’s warm inside (or cool in summer), they have a fast internet connection, and did I mention the unlimited drinks? Also, prices are much cheaper than those of regular rental offices. In a manga kissa you pay per hour, depending on the (type of) seat you choose. They usually have lounge chairs and small, closed booths with or without chairs (for that moment of privacy when you want to watch a certain type of movie or read a certain kind of comic). The booths are often just large enough to stretch out horizontally, which is what a lot of lost travellers or young kids without a permanent place to stay do, hence the presence of showers inside the kissa. They also sell food, toothbrushes, makeup pads etc etc. Here are two of the larger manga kissa chains, spread over the country: - Gera Gera
Photo courtesy of unmissablejapan.com