Our top 8 nomad-friendly working spaces in Tokyo
With over 30 million people living in the city, the Tokyo / Yokohama megalopolis can feel overwhelming at first. Many nomads we met shared that it took them a week or two to understand how to move around, but most importantly to find a place to settle and get things done. On top of that, depending on where your AirBnB or share house is located, it might sometimes take you over an hour just to reach your favorite cafe. Lastly, we think one of the objectives of a lot of nomads is also meeting new people, discovering new cultures and confronting their ideas to novel ways of thinking: these places are designed for that.
So for those of you who want to avoid the green mermaid brand, here is our handpicked list of spaces to work from, whether for an hour or a week!
Coworking & Community spaces
Where: Meguro Station
It would be hard for us not to start this list with our home for the past year and half. Impact HUB combines everything you’re looking for in a coworking space: an active community, a relaxed atmosphere, and a really good coffee spot.
Though initially dedicated to social entrepreneurs, they are open to digital nomads, and if you’re lucky enough you might be around for their regular community activities, whether it’s a barbecue or dinner & mingling in their kitchen space. Masa and his coffee place Fitzroy round up a cozy atmosphere, not so remote from Tokyo’s main hubs.
Where: Akasaka-Mitsuke Station
Opened a little less than 2 years ago, Yahoo Lodge stayed on the whole Tokyo tech community’s lips for months, and for good reason: a 1,300 sqm coworking space, conveniently located, hosted by Yahoo. And, wait for it… all this for free. Last time we checked, you only needed to show your ID to be able to use the space, and you could even enjoy discounted lunches prepared on site. Obviously, with that many perks to show for, the place is usually crowded, and you want to show up at opening time (9am) to secure a good spot. As they don’t propose any real networking events, meeting new people there won’t be that easy, but if you’re familiar with the local tech scene it’s very likely you’ll bump into someone you already know.
Where: Roppongi Station
Latest addition to the coworking space scene, Blink has an ambitious plan in the rather high-end Roppongi neighborhood: they aim at creating a foreigner-friendly atmosphere, building a diverse community, and proposing regular events and tech-related workshops.
We have yet to use the space since it opened a few days ago, but judging by the peek we had during the final phase of the fit-out, it is on the right track to deliver on its promise!
Where: Sugamo & Otsuka Stations
The first striking point about Ryozan Park are the locations: Otsuka and Sugamo are definitely not the most central places in Tokyo. As a nomad though, it’s a good chance to discover Tokyo’s more laid-back neighborhoods, and to drop by the two most famous — and Michelin-starred — Ramen shops in the city. Compared to other spaces in this list (except for Yahoo Lodge), they offer very competitive prices, and you may have a chance to connect with a couple of good contacts: Nori, Ryozan Park’s founder, or Steve, who’s running an 8-week startup program for students. Last but not least, and similarly to our next pick Tokyo Chapter, their Sugamo location offers the full nomad experience: co-living, free access to their coworking space, and full range of activities to make the most of your Tokyo stay.
Where: Roppongi Station
What happens when you refurbish a massive building, fill it with nicely arranged antiques collected from all over the world, and gather nomads around cozy couches? You get Tokyo Chapter. Entering in the space is a very unique experience, right between a Wong Kar Wai movie and Indiana Jones’ hidden attic. The space is probably the first one in Tokyo openly branded as nomad-friendly, and they thrive to deliver on that vision. The lounge space is filled with a good mix of culture, and the setup encourages discussions and long evenings around beers (and maybe even cigars). Their regular events about design, art or entrepreneurship makes this unique space a definite must-see.
Where: Hanzomon Station
Rounding up our list is another newly open space, Place2B. Interestingly, its founder was initially part of the Impact HUB Tokyo early adventure, so you can expect a similar vibe with a close-knit community — as well as a vintage Super Famicom loaded with Mario Kart, and a mini-golf area.
Though it might be less a “drop-in” kind of place, and more suitable for mid or long-term stays, it’s the ideal location if you want to connect with the French Tech Tokyo network, or meet long-time local entrepreneurs.
Salarymen sitting around with their laptop for an hour in a coffee between two meetings is a common scene in Tokyo. And as a result, you have A LOT of options for the quick “coffee + internet + power” combo. Very few places manage to create a true nomad / freelancer feel though, and here are a couple we really like.
Where: Shibuya Station
Looking to make things? FabCafe combines a FabLab-like area, a large coffee space, and overall, a good place to meet fellow freelancers (as usual, you’ll spot them with those stickers-ridden laptops). Originally started in Tokyo, FabCafe expanded to 10 different locations around the world, including Taipei or Strasbourg, and upon entering their Tokyo shop you can understand why it’s a successful recipe (and sometimes smell burnt PVC, too). You can comfortably stick around all day, though we recommend to order a drink or snack once in a while. But considering other drop-in flex offices will set you back 1,500¥/day on average, it’s still a pretty good deal.
Where: Harajuku Station
Last but certainly not least, you might quickly get addicted to this little gem in the hipster / fashion / cosplay Harajuku neighborhood. Definitely not a coworking space, you can still sit at that large wooden table in the middle of the cafe, and that’s where magic sometimes happen: whether it’s travelers coming all the way from South Africa, or developers from a nearby tech company trying to get some fresh air, the crowd is diverse and with minimum social skills you’ll surely connect with interesting folks. Oh, and yeah, they’re selling clothes upstairs, and building bikes in the second room.
And many, many more!
A map to find the nearest working space / cafe around you. Fabien, who built that map, used to live in Tokyo and spent a lot of time exhasutively listing cool spaces in the city. Don’t forget to add your picks on the map!
Yuko, who’s curating this Instagram account, is a Design freelancer who made it her mission to discover new nomad-friendly cafes in the city. You’ll find a mandatory internet / power check, and a few comments about the place — good way to brush up your 日本語 too!
We forgot one of your favorite spots? Share it with us!