Does anyone have practical experience of coworking in Kyoto, Japan?

#1

I’m looking to take a trip to Japan and am considering a month in Osaka.

There are a few co-working spaces appearing online:

There are also some very old articles out there from 2012.

But most of the information online seems very dated and as a non-Japanese speaker, it’s tricky to figure out what’s current, without emailing each of them via Facebook and trying to narrow down the list.

Anyone have any recent experiences or recommendations?

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#2

I used a coworking space in Osaka last year but I forget the name of it, sorry. I didn’t find it that great anyway. It has the feeling of working in a public library which made me think why didn’t I just go to to a library and use the space for free! It seemed more of a space for students to use for study.

If spaces only have information in Japanese, I’d think they are unlikely to have English speaking staff available which could be an issue. When if you figure out the info on the site using a translator, what are you doing to do when you get there and have to speak to people in person.

Btw are you looking in Osaka or Kyoto? Most of your links seem to be for Kyoto.

#3

Oh, rubbish. That’s what happen when you try to plan and research around about 3 different cities at once. I’d actually found some workable options in Osaka but Kyoto was the one I was struggling with!

The Terminal’ just confirmed to say that they are still operating, so that’s one option in Kyoto now. Although I’m struggling to find decent Kyoto accommodation options via AirBnb that fit my budget and aren’t miles away from co-working, so I might yet end up switching back to looking around Osaka.

I’m more concerned about good wifi and a proper desk than I am about super energetic networking and community, since I won’t be travelling alone. i’d heard the same elsewhere about the language barrier but I was hoping that with pocket wifi in tow for Google Translate, there’ll be a way to hack through it.

#4

If you don’t need all the functionality of a coworking space, you might get by with using cafes. Japan has a very strong working in cafes culture. It’s common for people to sit at a table for hours working, studying, sleeping. A lot of the cafes are very quiet and secure. Seriously, people will walk in, put their wallet or phone on a table to secure it then go order! I’d never do that myself, only takes one bad one for it to become and issue.

The only issues I had with cafes were finding somewhere with good ergonomics for working long periods and ones with power outlets. If you’re a non-smoker and smoking bothers you, might be worth doing a check for that. A lot of places don’t have any barrier between smoking and non-smoking sections although most upmarket cafes now are non-smoking or just have a smoking booth.

You might get by with google translate although if you aren’t actually coworking, all you are really getting for your day’s fees is a work space and bad coffee :slight_smile:

Another option in Japan is using internet/manga cafes. You get your own private booth with a desk and computer chair usually. Some of them have convoluted sign in processes but you can usually by-pass that if you let them know you are using your own laptop. The places are usually dark and cave-like though, lighting in your booth but dark everywhere else. You do usually get unlimited soft drinks, bad machine coffee and sometimes even snacks for the price.

I’d go Osaka over Kyoto, but that’s my personal preference. Most tourists overlook Osaka, except for the big ticket attractions (eg. Universal Studios) in favour of the traditional style of Kyoto but I find Kyoto a bit boring. How many temples do you want to look at? Osaka has a much better energy, I find. Also, awesome food. It’s also cheaper because it doesn’t have the tourist appeal.

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#5

I know you’re looking for coworking places, but I’d like to add to kathrynoh’s cafe suggestion. But for Internet access, I almost always had to use a pocket wifi device or have one as back up. Some cafe’s had slow wifi, or required a Japanese phone number to register, or didn’t have wifi at all.

Like kaythrynoh mentioned, in Kyoto, I checked out a internet/manga cafe once with private booths but they allowed smoking, so I couldn’t stay to work. But, if there are non-smoking ones they do seem like good places to really focus.

I don’t have any Osaka recommendations because I only stayed there for two days and didn’t work. But, in Kyoto I went to Mos Cafe (the link goes to Google Maps) multiple times and found that the 2nd floor is a good place to work. However, I did have to used my AirBnB’s pocket wifi for Internet access.

(Unlike kathrynoh, I would choose Kyoto over Osaka but that’s not too relevant here haha :wink: )

#6

Thanks guys! I’d been researching a bunch of stuff over the last few weeks and ended up opting for Osaka in the end for a longer stay, with 2 weeks in Tokyo.

As you say, it’s tricky and expensive to find co-working spaces, but I was a little bit worried about the ergonomics of cafe spaces and since I end up needing to make quite a lot of Skype calls, wasn’t so sure about how well that would work.

Anyway, a little bit of home-working from an AirBnb in Tokyo (avoiding co-working costs) and then grabbing a co-working spot in Osaka looks like it should work out quite nicely. Kyoto would have been lovely but I can’t quite justify the high prices. Looks like Osaka might be a nice compromise.

Thanks again for the tips! It was definitely useful :slight_smile:

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