Japan has a lot to offer when it comes to unusual and peculiar experiences when you’re a Westerner craving for some cultural shock. Obviously, it starts with your taste buds.
But beyond the amazing Japanese gastronomy, history and culture, Japan –and especially Tokyo- is running wild when it comes to fascinating concepts. For Japanese people are fond of themed cafes, restaurants and hotels. And the themes are as diversified as there are peculiar people in the country: cats, parrots, Hello Kitty, Moomins, Pikachu, Alice in Wonderland, butlers and maids, etc. It’ll take hours to list the various themes you can encounter in cafes in Japan.
BOOK AND BED TOKYO
Recently, a new kind of accommodation in Tokyo caught my attention: Book and Bed. Where you will spend your night in an actual bookshelf! You probably heard already about those Capsule Hotels where you’re supposed to sleep in a tiny box, well here is the same, but in a bookshelf!
The place is cosy and well furnished, the beds are well integrated into the bookshelves with a curtain that will provide you some privacy when the other bookworms are seeking for Literature gems. It’s well known that book lovers love to hang out in slippers and pyjamas while drinking tea and slouching on a couch, well, at Book and Bed everything’s thought to make you feel comfortable: private slippers, earbuds, locker with clothes hangers, ultra-design bedside lamp, giant couch with blankets,… This reader’s cave of wonders is a piece of heaven, because, as it’s advertised on the Book and Bed website, any serial reader knows the feeling of telling yourself “okay, just one more chapter” before falling sound asleep, your mouth wide open and the book’s pages glues on your cheek. At Book and Bed, you can. The place is designed for reading, reading, reading, and incidentally sleeping and sipping tea or coffee by the bay window.
Don’t be mistaken though, Book and Bed is still a hostel, with dorms, common showers and toilets. Facilities are basic yet well designed and very comfortable. The staff is welcoming, caring and English speaking, which makes you feel at ease right away. You’ll even find a bar on the last floor, some vending machines and coffee/tea makers on each floor to keep your stomach happy on a happy book night.
The place was created by two renowned architects: Makoto Tanijiri and Ai Yoshida from the Suppose Design Office Studio . They made this place serene and warm with the light wooden furniture and those comfy marine blue couch. Take a look at the ceiling lamps made out of books, what a brilliant idea for a place I could call home in the future! And as for the books, there are more or less 2000 books there, mainly in Japanese, but also in English and Chinese. Shibuya Publishing & Booksellers was in charge of that selection in order to promote the benefits of reading.
Novels, magazines, art books, touristic guides, mangas, comics… You’ll definitely find something to leaf through even if you don’t speak Japanese.
IN THE HEART OF IKEBUKURO
As for the neighbourhood, Ikebukuro is a very lively and animated neighbourhood. You’ll find there everything that makes every tourist fall in love with Tokyo: unusual pubs and cafes, exquisite food, huge department stores, and wonderful tiny alleys where you’ll love to get lost either on day or night.
At Book and Bed, you’ll even find a brochure about 50 things to do in Ikebukuro, from patting owls, eating ramen like there’s no tomorrow, or shopping action figures from your favourite manga or anime.
You’ll find some of them listed here: 50 Things to do in Ikebukuro.
Moreover, Ikebukuro’s icon is an owl, and that’s the reason why you’ll find owls everywhere: sculpture, graffiti, stickers, signs… Let yourself roam in the streets for an owl’s hunt. In fact, here’s a reason why some nicknamed this neighbourhood Ikefukuro: Fukuro meaning “owl” in Japanese.
Note that there’s a book fair every day in the square in front of the Metropolitan Theatre, in which every bookworm will be delighted to wander even though most books are in Japanese. Yep, it just feels so nice to smell that peculiar odour of good old books.
In conclusion, if your heart is pounding like mine and your eyes glittering just to think about spending a night reading in a dedicated space; if you’re dreaming of Japan and its quirky culture, well, there’s not doubt that Book and Book is definitely made for you.
And you know what’s wicked? The brand opened two other Book and Bed in Japan, in Kyoto and Fukuoka. Makes you wanna jump on a plane, right?
Hey, Have a Book Night!
LET’S GO THERE!
Book and Bed – 1-17-7, Lumiere buillding 7th & 8th floors, Nishi Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku Tokyo, Japan