Finding a full-time job in Japan is already difficult, but imagine if you were to start a business? The first thing you'd need to do is networking and co-working spaces are a great place to start. To help guide you, we’ve listed the top 10 co-working spaces in Tokyo for you down below. But first, some of you may be wondering, what is a co-working space?
A co-working space is a shared office space where people gather to work or do some networking. The co-working organizations will lease out office spaces that could be rented for companies and individuals and the time period could range from hourly to monthly depending on the plan/membership that you signed up for. These office spaces are usually equipped with the necessary equipment that you need to get your job done, like tables, seats, printers, free and fast wifi. Also, depending on the places some offer free drinks to general visitors as well.
Even before the pandemic occurred, co-working spaces had been popular in Japan because of how hassle-free they are. Compared to the high cost of renting and managing an office space by yourself, startups especially, prefer co-working spaces since they come with quite a lot of benefits which we’ll be looking at in more detail down below.
To help you get a better understanding of this article here are some of the terms that will often be used.
- Hot desk
It is a communal workplace that every member can use. Some members prefer it because it is flexible, meaning members can choose when and where they want to work.
- Private office
It is a dedicated office that could be used personally or by a group of people (number may vary according to the company).
- Dedicated desk/Fixed desk
It is a dedicated workplace for personal or a small group of people (usually consists of 2-3 people) to use.
Benefits of co-working spaces
- Collaboration/Networking opportunities
Co-working spaces are spaces where people from different kinds of fields gathered to work. As a result, there are a lot of opportunities to meet people who are working in different fields. Co-working spaces also often hold events that their members and outsiders participate in. For example, Blink, one of the co-working spaces that we recommend, recently held an event called The Art, Advertising, & U.S.A which discussed the mistakes people often made when launching startups in the art world. After all, who knows? You could meet someone through these events and they could turn out to be a valuable business partner in the future.
- Cost efficiency
As a number of the members of co-working spaces are startups and freelancers, cost efficiency is one of the big reasons why they prefer co-working spaces. It cost way less to pay the membership fee than to rent out a new place for your working space, especially in Tokyo. Depending on the equipment or utilities that are provided, the average price of co-working space can range from ¥9000-¥35,000 per month, while the average office rent price in Tokyo costs about ¥22,200 per month, and in most cases, you will need to set up the equipment (copiers, internet, utilities, etc) yourself.
- Scalability and Flexibility
Another reason why startups and sometimes large enterprise companies prefer co-working space is because it is very scalable and flexible. They are different from a fixed space that you would get when you rent an office space in Tokyo in that you can adjust the scale of your working space at co-working spaces. For example, startup companies could start by renting out a small place as their office and could easily increase or decrease the office space depending on how well their business is doing. And if the companies decided to move their office, they could just cancel their membership since most co-working spaces agreements are very flexible.
- Exposure to new workplaces
This goes in hand with networking opportunities. As you meet more people, you’ll naturally exchange your opinions and you might get inspiration or a solution to the problem that you might have.
People who are looking for inspiration could try 1 co-working space for a day and could move on to another co-working space that offers a different vibe. Some co-working spaces also offer different spaces with different vibes that may get your creative side tinkering.
Demerits of co-working spaces
- Equipment problems
Depending on the price that you are paying for, there may be cases where the equipment or utilities provided are not working properly. There are also cases where you may find it difficult to find the workers in charge of the co-working space to help you with the equipment problems. So, be sure to check the reviews or at least visit there for a day before you decide to become a member.
- Security problems
Working in a shared space often means sharing your wired or wireless network which could pose a threat to your company’s valuable information such as customers’ profiles, classified product information, etc. In some cases, hackers may also try to use your website as a place to do some data mining which could slow down your website and make customers feel frustrated. Thus, you should consider having some security measures to protect your valuable data.
- Lack of privacy
Another demerit of sharing a workspace is the lack of privacy. For all you know, your rival company may be working in the same space that you’re working in and could listen to your conversations with your business partners or your customers. If you left your laptop open, they could also pass by and take a look at what projects you’re working on. The only advice that we could think of is to be more vigilant, for example, you can book a meeting room or choose a more private place to discuss confidential pieces of information with your coworkers.
Yet another problem of co-working spaces is that there tend to be quite a lot of distractions. Keeping in mind that not everyone comes to the co-working space to work, it is natural for these spaces to be quite noisy. In some cases, women may be victims of sexual assault at these spaces which is why the number of women-only co-working spaces has started to increase since 2018.
As mentioned above, some people may be visiting there to do some networking, which involves a lot of discussions or, in other words, a lot of noise. So, if you’re looking for a quiet space away from your kids or family members, you might need to consider looking for other quieter alternatives.
Now without further ado, here is our top 10 list of co-working spaces in Tokyo!
Top places for international working space
We have chosen the top co-working spaces that support international culture and are foreigner-friendly for people who have just arrived in Japan or are not proficient in Japanese yet.
It is a 7-minute walk away from the Roppongi station and is surrounded by a community that embraces the international culture. For general users, the cafe lounge table, and the Hotdesk members, the space is usually open from 9 AM to 6 PM.
Blink prides itself on being an international working space that helps nurture new entrepreneurs and create new business opportunities through their platform. This place would be suitable for people who wanted to feel motivated in office-like working spaces.
COVID-19 prevention measures: Aside from the basic measures such as mandatory face-mask, daily furniture sanitation, and daily temperature check, Blink has taken other measures to fight against coronavirus. They have installed an automatic body temperature check at their entrance as well as providing touchless hand sanitizers on each floor and placing desk dividers in the shared-desk areas. In addition to that, they also claimed to have installed professional UV lamps that are able to kill any airborne germs. Social distancing is practiced in the shared areas, but there aren’t any clarifications on how many people are allowed to be in the shared space at the same time. However, it seems that they have taken the proper measures as they had claimed that none of their members or staff had been infected since the beginning of the outbreak.
Blink offers 4 kinds of membership plans:
- Cafe lounge table (¥20,000/month)
Offer the opportunity to meet professional workers and extend your knowledge and personal network.
- Hotdesk (¥40,000/month)
Suggest for remote workers/ entrepreneurs and allow you to book meeting rooms for meetings with clients.
- Dedicated workstation (¥60,000/month)
Just as the name suggests, you can have a dedicated space for you to store your equipment and belongings. You will also have 24-hour access to your dedicated space. This package is recommended for startups and small agencies.
- Private office (¥80,000/month)
Offer a landline, a better internet connection, as well as larger private offices with 24-hour access. This package is ideal for small and larger companies who may be thinking of expanding their businesses.
Membership isn’t necessary, and if you’re planning to drop by for a visit, you will pay an hourly rate. However, most facilities are only available if you become a member so if you’re planning to use this place often, it would be better to apply for membership.
Blink categorizes their spaces into the basement floor, the 1st (divided into two sections - front and back) floor, 2nd, 3rd, 4th floor, and the rooftop terrace. The basement, 2nd, and 3rd floor are where the fixed desk, private offices, and meeting rooms are located. The 1st front floor is the event space and cafe lounge while the 1st floor back section is where the phone booths and shared offices are located. There are a kitchen and workshop space available on the 4th floor. And finally, you can enjoy the view from the rooftop terrace if you want a little fresh air and sunshine while you work.
The facilities available for general users and the cafe lounge table members consist of only the bare minimum such as tables, chairs, WIFI, and power outlets. General users would have to pay an additional ¥400/2hr if they want access to the cafe lounge.
If you would like a better view of the Blink, here is a 360° tour video of their space.
Location: 1-6-5 Jinnan Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 150-0041
It is only a 6-minute walk from the Shibuya Metro Station and is also surrounded by lots of dining options in their neighborhood, so it’s easy to grab a bite if you’re hungry. The Hive Jinnan located in Japan is usually open every day from 8 AM - 6 PM.
Located in several different countries across the Asia Pacific, the Hive Jinnan encourages dynamism and supports creativity and success. They pride themselves on their T.E.A.M. principles which are to be Together, to go the Extra Mile, to be Accountable and Mindful. It was designed to be similar to a cafe and has a very cozy vibe that will make you feel right at home. They also often hold events such as art exhibitions, film festivals, etc, to create a platform for people to converse. As such, this place would be suitable for creative young entrepreneurs who want more cozy home-like working spaces.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t any clear information on what measures they’re taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, when participating in an art exhibition or events that they hold offline, they do require the participants to register to COCOA which is a COVID-19 contact-tracing app. Thus, we are assuming that they are following the safety protocols implemented in their country.
They offer 4 different types of membership plans:
- Flexible membership (¥16,000/month)
It is broken down into how many hours/days that you would like to spend there as well as other benefits that you would be able to use such as printing and meeting rooms.
- Dedicated Desk membership (¥ 60,000/month)
This is a dedicated desk membership that is categorized by solo users, pairs, and trios of users - each with different usage hours for the meeting room.
- Private Office Membership (¥ 90,000/month)
It’s a team package divided into a 2, 3, 4, and 5+ person team. Similar to the dedicated desk membership, it also limits the meeting rooms’ usage hours depending on the membership plan that you purchased
- Special Rates & Virtual Office
As the name suggests, these plans are offered at a special reduced rate to young entrepreneurs, startups, and early-stage companies, particularly to those who are new to Japan. On the other hand for people who are working virtually, you can utilize their secretarial services and pay at a discounted price.
A daily pass is available from ¥2000, and a monthly pass is available for ¥30,000. The monthly pass also comes with most of the provided facilities such as Wifi, printers, meeting rooms, mailing address, and registered company address, so membership isn’t necessary.
It's an 8-minute walk from Meguro station and they also provide a parking space.
Impact Hub Tokyo places a lot of focus on entrepreneurs and tries to create an environment suitable to nurture the growth of their members. They achieved this through offering consultations and creating programs that provide the members with information that they would need to grow their business. They did not discriminate between age, culture, backgrounds, and welcomed people who are willing to improve their entrepreneurship skills. What’s even more interesting about this place is that it is a former printing factory. And although they keep the outer appearance as it is, they have modified the interior of the place with a mix of old and new technology which makes the interior design unique. Thus it would be suitable for people of all ages who are interested in growing as entrepreneurs and enjoy a unique office design.
It is usually open from 9 AM - 10 PM on weekdays and 10 AM - 8 PM on weekends and holidays. However, an important thing to note is that general users are not accepted so you must apply for a membership, although you can apply for the “open house” first to take a look at the place before making your decision.
There is currently no information about their measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their co-working space on their website. However, we are assuming that they are following the safety protocol set by their local government.
They offered 5 membership plans:
- Basic (¥27,000/month),
- Fixed Desk (¥50,000/month),
- Team Desk, and Fixed Room (contact staff for more information)
Basic plans only allow members to enter during business hours only while the other plans are granted 24/7 access. The Basic plans are also given 6 hours of meeting room usage/ month, while Unlimited and Fixed Desk plans are given 16 hours/ month. Although there isn’t much information about the Fixed Desk plan, we assume that it is an individual plan as they also have the Team Desk and Fixed Room plan, which seems to be catered to groups. Unlike the other 3 plans, most information about the Team Desk and Fixed room is only obtainable by contacting the workers in charge.
Office equipment such as Wifi, whiteboard and stationaries, corporate registration systems such as corporate registration and mailbox, kitchen and AV equipment are provided.
It's around 8 minutes walk from Roppongi Station, Nogizaka station, and Akasaka station and is usually open from Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 AM - 7 PM.
Ninetytwo13 is built with jazz characteristics and reminds us of the interior of an old and rustic hotel. It is an ideal place for a retro-themed photoshoot and doesn’t worry too much about not being able to speak Japanese since the workers are bilingual. We would say that their facilities are built more to cater to artisans rather than the usual business entrepreneurs as seen by the large space for exhibitions and photoshoots. Hence, we believe that this place would be ideal for artistic people who need lots of room for art exhibitions or photoshoots.
They have 2 membership plans:
- Fixed Desk (rent: ¥36,000/month, utilities: ¥16,000/month)
This membership plan seemed to be catered to only personal usage, which means small groups can’t use this plan.
- Private Office (rent: ¥160,000/month)
You can also drop in for a visit by paying the daily pass for ¥2000.
What makes them a little different from the other co-working spaces that we’ve discussed so far is that utility bills are also included in the Fixed Desk plan. Additionally, for the private office, they allow you to freely customize your office interior which is quite interesting. All members have access to various utilities such as printers, meeting rooms, internet, lounge. Other utilities such as the gym, laundry room, and concierge service are also provided.
Top places suitable for startup mothers
We believe that these co-working spaces would be suitable for startup mothers as they provide access to preschool or temporary child care that would allow the mothers the time they needed to work on their projects.
Ryozan Park is a co-working space located in 2 different locations. One of the spaces is located in Sugamo while the other is located in Otsuka, however, you can easily commute to the other buildings by riding a 2 min train on the Yamanote line. You could reach this place by walking for around 2 minutes from JR Sugamo station and 4 minutes from Mita line Sugamo station. They are open from Monday-Friday, and “Core” and “Annex” co-working spaces are open from 6AM-12AM, while “Grand” will open from 7AM-8PM.
Since it has a lot of different co-working space for their members to choose from, we believe that people who value artistic interior designs or people who like to experience changes in their working environment would be ideal for this place, since they arrive at a different workspace by just moving to the other floors on the buildings.
There isn't much information available about how they’re handling the prevention measures of COVID-19 on their website, but they are closing their event rental space and gym until the pandemic is under control.
The co-working space in Sugamo is separated into 3 different spaces, Annex, lounge, and Grand. Membership plans are offered for people who wish to use Annex and Grand, however, the lounge is only available to members. These spaces are also located in 3 different buildings with Annex on the TOHO Annes, Lounge on the White Terrace, and Grand on the Grand TOHO building.
- Grand (¥19,800/month) has a fully equipped kitchen that is suitable for chefs to practice or create dishes based on their ideas and a co-working space. This place has a wood-themed interior design and is quite different from the normal office space interior. It is scheduled to open soon but the specific date wasn’t mentioned on their website.
- Annex (¥15,000/month), on the other hand, has a more modern look with lots of sunlight seeping into the room and has a calm atmosphere for people to focus on their work.
- Different from the other 2, the lounge (access included in the Annex & Grand membership fee) is a place dedicated for members to brainstorm or relax. It has a European lodge style, complete with a fireplace, and even has a piano for you to play with.
The building in Otsuka, named the T&T building, only has 1 co-working space which is called “Core” which also comes with membership plans (¥15,000/month). It is the most spacious out of the available co-working spaces in Ryozan Park and it is suitable for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and even students. It also has a quiet “green room” where you can get away from the commotion and focus on your work.
Additionally, Parents of Ryozan Park Preschoolers are able to use this space for free, which would help the female entrepreneurs a lot as the preschool is only 1 floor above the Core.
Aside from co-working spaces, Ryozan Park also offers private offices in both Sugamo and Otsuka buildings.
- Focus (private office in Otsuka), ¥70,000 ~ ¥125,000 (4.9m ² – 11.4m ²) + 2 months deposit. It is a private office in Otsuka and members will have 24-hour access to it. The interior has a similar design to a cafe which is quite cozy.
- Grand (private office in Sugamo), ¥115,000/month (8.23 m ² ~) plus 1-month deposit. It has a more modern office design and offers gym membership as well as 24-hour access to its members
However, if you just want to come for a visit, you can try the limited trial days which are available on weekdays for ¥1,500.
Since they have a larger space, they are able to provide a wide variety of furniture to help you get comfortable such as bean bags, standing desks, and even rooftop gardens. Other facilities such as projectors, whiteboards, printers are also available. In addition, they also provide free tea and coffees for their customers.
This place is a 5-minute walk from Marunouchi South exit of JR Tokyo station. On weekdays, they are open from 10 AM - 10 PM, and on the weekends and holidays, they are open from 10 AM - 6 PM.
Just as the name suggests, Startup Hub Tokyo is a facility that encourages and supports people who are interested in starting a business. They offer entrepreneurship consultation as well as organize events that would teach the members more information about entrepreneurship and also allows networking. Therefore, we recommend this place to people who’d like to receive free consultations and obtain more training through events.
Startup Hub Tokyo also offers temporary childcare for mothers who need to have a consultation or join an event. This would allow the mothers to participate in the consultations and events without having any worries.
As of February 2021, one of their staff had been infected at their Tokyo branch. They had immediately disinfected the places where the staff was working and continued to carry out all the prevention measures including taking users’ and staff’s body temperatures, regular disinfection of booths, ventilation, and making sure that staff and users wear masks when interacting.
As the membership plans and provided facilities weren’t listed online, please contact Startup Hub directly for more information.
Top places for overseas ventures
Both of these spaces are suitable for people who are thinking of branching their business overseas. You would have the opportunities to meet with professional workers who are knowledgeable in overseas ventures and would like the opportunity to receive training from them.
It’s a short 4-minute walk from the Shinjuku station and is open for drop-ins on weekdays from 10AM-7PM, but it is open from 9AM-9PM on weekdays and 9AM-6PM on weekends for members.
Digima base is a platform that offers you the opportunities to expand your business overseas by providing the information you might need to know about expanding overseas as well as providing the space for you to encounter your prospective business partners. Hence, we recommend this place to people who’d like to do networking for business expansion in a well-lit environment.
Aside from taking people’s body temperature, disinfecting and ventilating the co-working spaces, and mandatory face-mask, Digima base has decided to ask several questions in advance as a precaution:
- Any history of traveling to China within 14 days
- Any contact with people who had traveled to China within 14 days
- Any symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat, strong fatigue or suffocation
People who fall under any of the 3 categories above are not allowed to use their spaces.
Digima base offered different kinds of plans depending on what type of users you are. They divide the users into 3 categories,
- personal users, (¥19,800/month)
- 2-3 people users, (¥39,000-¥129,000/month)
- private room users (4-8 people) (¥130,000-¥300,000/month)
Unlike the personal user type, there are a lot of plans available for the other 2 user types. Additionally, despite its name, the membership plans available for the 2-3 users category are available for up to 6 people. And, as the name suggests, the private room users will have an individual office to themselves while the other 2 user types will share the open space area.
If you are curious about how the place looks and feels, you can drop by for a visit and pay ¥1000 to stay there for 2 hours and if you’re planning to stay above 3 hours you’ll just have to pay an additional ¥1000.
There are 2 open spaces provided in Digima base. Open space A, where you can freely communicate with your friends or coworkers, and open space B, where it has a calmer atmosphere that allows you to focus more on your work. It also has a phone box area for people who may need a private area to discuss more confidential information and a cafe area where you can get free drinks.
This place is a 1-minute walk from Otemachi station and is usually open on weekdays from 9 AM - 9 PM.
Global Business Hub Tokyo is a platform that supports the growth of foreign companies and domestic startup companies. Through their collaboration with EGG Japan, they are able to provide networking opportunities with business partners that are otherwise hard to reach. They also introduce their members to experts and train their members through events and seminars. Thus, we believe this place is ideal for people who would like to meet professionals and business experts that might be hard to meet with under normal situations.
Their working spaces are divided into BD office, Field, Meeting Zone, and Terrace lounge. BD office consists of 52 office spaces that can accommodate 2 to 20 people and is accessible 24/7. The field is an open space area that can be used for individual works or meetings. The Meeting zone consists of 14 meeting rooms that can accommodate 4- 20 people. Basic facilities such as Wifi, desk, locker, and etc are provided, however, additional facilities such as whiteboards and projectors seem to be limited to certain rooms.
Similar to other co-working spaces, Global Business Hub Tokyo has also implemented several measures to fight against COVID-19. They require that every customer keep a 2m distance from other customers in the facility. Although they do not seem to check customers’ body temperatures, they require that every customer disinfect their hands using the disinfectant solution that they’ve installed at the reception and also require them to wear face-masks. They also regularly disinfect their facilities and will ban people who are suffering from a cold to enter their co-working spaces.
For further information about membership plans, please contact the staff of Global Business Hub Tokyo.
Top large co-working space providers for large-scale companies
In most cases, where large-scale companies would usually rent a co-working space for their employees, we believe that it would most likely go to large-scale co-working space providers rather than the smaller local co-working spaces, thus we have chosen 2 of which we personally think are the best.
WeWork is a worldwide co-working space provider with 859 offices spread out across 38 countries around the world. WeWork is available in a lot of different locations in Japan such as Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, and many more. In general, they operate by leasing buildings spaces and then transforming them into a place fit for a startup office. They then sub-lease desks, offices, and sometimes entire floors to companies and individuals. Since their working space often has a unique interior design, we believe that this place would be suitable for people/companies that appreciate unique working spaces.
It is usually open on weekdays from 9AM-6PM. Basic facilities such as Wifi, printers are usually covered, and the other additional facilities differ according to the place you’re renting
They provide 3 membership plans - Private office, Private Access, and All Access (±¥39,000/month). As the prices of the other 2 plans were not provided on their website, please contact the staff for more information.
WeWork has several safety measures in place against COVID-19. One of their prevention measures is to enhance their cleaning measures by disinfecting their co-working spaces and using single-use cutlery for their pantries. They have also implemented new capacity guidelines and reduced seat occupancy for booths and lounges. In addition, they’ve also partnered with Arup, a leading global engineering consulting firm, to improve indoor air quality in their co-working spaces.
Regus is one of the world’s largest working space providers with around 3000 business centers spanned out across 120 countries. Unlike their rival company WeWork who offers a monthly membership fee, clients are allowed to rent offices or co-working spaces by the day or even hour. You can also move your office desk to another Regus’ business center for free of charge. Likewise, it is also available in several different locations throughout Japan. Thus, this place would be suitable for people who may need to move a lot and need office-like working spaces for flexible time periods.
Although they do offer 3 membership plans which are Lounge, Office, and Co-working, the prices vary depending on the locations of the centers, cities, as well as current demands and facilities you wish to have in your office/co-working space.
They are usually open 24/7 and provide basic facilities and pantries, but the additional facilities may differ according to location.
Some of the COVID-19 prevention measures taken by Regus include implementing hygiene and physical distancing measures on all of their locations. They’ve established a meeting room safety protocol to ensure that the customers are always two meters apart from each other even when they are in the same room/table. Frequent disinfecting happens and face-masks are necessary at all of their locations.
This marks the end of our top 10 co-working spaces list. We hope that you enjoy reading it.