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Tokyo 'book and bed' hostel enjoys new popularity as telework haven

A man is seen relaxing in a bed situated inside a bookshelf at Book and Bed Tokyo in the capital's Shinjuku Ward on Nov. 18, 2021. (Mainichi/Kentaro Ikushima)

TOKYO -- Presenting ample opportunities for leisurely reading in the breaks between work, Book and Bed Tokyo's Shinjuku branch, with its rows and rows of bookshelves with beds nestled in them, has become a prized spot for the capital's teleworkers.

    The accommodation facility, envisaged as a book store people can stay at overnight, crams into its shelves around 2,500 books from a wide range of genres and styles including novels, manga, photobooks and philosophical texts. Although the books aren't for sale, visitors can read as much as they like. But the hostel doesn't just offer beds for teleworkers; the center of the space also boasts a social area used by many people.

    Book and Bed Tokyo has a total of 55 beds separated from the reading area by curtains. They make up the majority of the accommodation available in the space, which has shared bathing and toilet facilities that are split by gender. Single and double rooms offering views of Shinjuku's Kabukicho neighborhood at night are also available.

    Although foreign travelers who made up about 70% of its guests cannot visit at present due to COVID-19, the space has become sought out by remote workers and people refraining from trips who want to change their surroundings from home to somewhere pleasant. Under such circumstances, the business says that it actually has a more varied customer base than before.

    Now with the state of emergency lifted, its rooms are almost entirely full on weekends, and the business has reportedly recovered to the point that usage rates for weekdays are twice as much as seen last year.

    Part of what's keeping usage rates up is the many young people looking for Insta-worthy pictures of out-of-the-ordinary spaces. Sofa usage costs 700 yen (about $6.20) while beds start from 960 yen (some $8.50) per hour each, and overnight stays from 3,000 yen (around $26.60).

    (Japanese original by Kentaro Ikushima, Photo Group)

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