So you’ve finally made it to Tokyo, and you’re looking for a place to work remotely in peace. Maybe you’re all set with a home office, but maybe you live in a one room studio apartment or you’re stuck in a tiny hotel room.
Whatever your reason, what are your options for places where you can work remotely?
A co-working space is probably most people’s first thought. They charge an hourly, daily, or monthly fee and provide free wifi, electrical outlets, and generally some level of amenities, such as free snacks or drinks. Some co-working spaces come with “phone booths” — semi-private or private enclosures where you can take calls and not disturb others. You can be guaranteed a fairly quiet area for you to work and not worry about being kicked out early.
While a quick search will bring up many options, those wanting search in Japanese might try looking for “コワーキングスペース”, and if you want to narrow it down further to places that don’t require a monthly fee you can add “ドロップイン”.
My recommendation: AWS Startup Loft — the opening hours are limited to weekdays, but access is free if you register as a member
Get a spot to work for hours for the price of a cup of coffee! Plenty of cafes have tables that come equipped with electrical outlets and wifi (for large chains, usually these details will be displayed at the entrance), and of course there’s delicious food and drink for a fee.
Depending where you go, it could work out cheaper than a co-working space, however it can get noisy and staff may ask you to order something or leave during busy hours.
My recommendation: Cafe de Crie — A chain found all over Japan, the larger stores have plenty of seating, wifi, electrical outlets and affordably priced tasty food.
Family restaurants typically offer affordable food and unlimited self-serve drinks (ドリンクバー), making them a popular option with students. Despite being “family” restaurants, most stores feature single-person counter or booth style seats to make it easier for you to visit on your own.
Electrical outlets are less common in these restaurants, and they can also be quite lively, so they’re better as a place to work for a couple of hours rather than somewhere to park the whole day.
Offering wifi, electrical outlets, and varying levels of privacy, net cafes have everything you need to start working. Service varies from store to store, but amenities can include drinks, food, manga, showers, private rooms, women-only areas, movies — with all these distractions you might have a hard time concentrating on work!
As a first timer, you’ll generally need to pay a one-time membership fee to join the cafe first. Net cafes can have a seedy reputation, so check out the reviews on the place before you enter.
Working at a library guarantees you peace and quiet. If you’re planning for a full day of flow time with no calls and no meetings, public libraries can provide you with wifi, electrical outlets and silence — and all for free!
Not all libraries offer study spaces or accommodate you bringing your laptop. This Japanese website can help you identify whether your nearby library suits your needs.
My recommendation: Hibiya Library & Museum — A beautiful building that allows for self study, and has a cafe and restaurant where you could work if you feel hungry
Especially for off peak hours, like 9-5 weekdays, karaoke booths can be a seriously cost-effective option! You have access to electrical outlets, a private room all to yourself, you can order food and drinks delivered straight to you, and you can even sing a few songs if you feel like it. Thanks to the recent uptake of remote work, some karaoke chains even offer remote work packages, which you can find by searching for the chain name and “テレワーク”.
The downside is that your neighbour might decide to practice their screamo - karaoke isn’t the quietest place. But on the other hand, it’s an environment where you don’t need to worry about disturbing others when taking calls or talking in meetings!
Work Station Booths
You might have seen these at the station, or maybe in your co-working space. They look like a phone booth, but offer power, wifi, soundproofing, a seat, a desk, and privacy. Once you’re inside there’s very little to distract you, so you can really focus on your work.
With prices starting at 250 yen per 15 minutes, this is quite a pricey option but could work in a pinch.
A place you might not have thought of, but Japan’s “super sento” can be a comfortable and relaxing place to get work done. Super sentos are typically multi-story buildings with services like indoor and outdoor baths, saunas, restaurants, massage chairs, and places to sit and relax. If you want a hot bath before starting your day’s work, this could be the ideal option for you.
My recommendation: RakuSpa Kanda — there’s a fixed fee for 10 hours and in that time you can take a good bath, enjoy a nice meal and make use of the co-working space.