There's no getting around the fact that cafés make a great remote work space—they're relatively quiet and caffeine is a great way to recharge your battery. But popular chains are often crowded, and seating can be quite difficult to find. Here are some alternatives to the usual suspects.
Streamer Coffee Company is a small chain of coffee shops in Japan that pride themselves on their immaculate-looking free pour lattes. They have several locations around Tokyo—including Shibuya and Harajuku—so they're easy to get to, and each branch has a distinct layout.
City Bakery is another small chain dotted around Tokyo. This one has a more relaxed atmosphere and can make a good place for an informal meeting or working solo.
Bookstores can also be a great venue if you want to get a little work done. Plus you can shop once you clock out!
Tsutaya is a large bookstore chain in Japan, with branches all around Tokyo. Although some of them are quite small, there are others that are the perfect spot to grab a coffee, relax and read or listen to music. Two of the larger shops in Tokyo are their beautiful, award-winning Daikanyama T-Site and their Roppongi site, which is stylish and has a laid-back lounge.
A smaller, less well-known book shop is B&B in Shimokitazawa. We can only recommend this if you would like to get some casual work done, however, as the name stands for Book & Beer! This might be a good place to brainstorm, or jot down some writing for a journal or book. Perhaps a nice, cold beer will help get the creative juices flowing!
In a digital age, the thought of going to a library might seem a little retro. But they're fantastic for remote work!
There are public libraries all over the place in Japan, but Academy Hills is a cut above them. It has two libraries and cafés available for members, and conference spaces that can be rented. Located on the 37th and 49th floors, respectively, both libraries offer beautiful views of Tokyo when you feel like procrastinating. Membership and rental both come at a price, but the services and amenities make it worthwhile.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Library has been trying to reach out to foreign visitors with books and materials available in several languages. The library has tons of books, magazines and other periodical ranging on a wide variety of subjects. It also has 300 seats with power outlets for personal laptops. It's an ideal place for those who like to work in a quiet setting, or those who like to do a little bit of old-fashioned, offline research.
Public & Dedicated Work Spaces
Last but not least, Tokyo abounds with dedicated work spaces that are available for public use.
For creatives who like to get their hands dirty, FabCafe is a perfect space to get an art project done. Located near Shibuya Station, FabCafe has several different machines available to rent. They've got sewing machines, laser-cutters (including a specialty one for food models), 3D scanners, UV printers and more! You can drop in and use the machines for a short amount of time, or reserve in advance if you'd like to use anything for an extended period. There are even several kits to get you started.
For work in an office-style space, why not head to Co-ba Shibuya? A one-day use costs ￥2,000 (about US$18), but there are several plans available for monthly uses. They also have larger spaces available for 3-hour rentals for ¥45,000 (about US$407), which are perfect for large work events like parties or workshops.
Coworker.com is a great resource for finding office spaces similar to Co-ba. It has information about each venue, as well as user reviews, in English for work spaces all over Japan and around the world.