If there’s anything I’ve learned through my travels in Japan it’s that much of Tokyo is more complicated than it may first appear. The culture is so unique, and it exudes itself deeply into the people of the area but also into the businesses. There’s things in Tokyo you just can’t find anywhere else, there’s nothing like it. An example of this is the seemingly simple Manga Cafe.
From an outsiders perspective the Manga Cafe probably doesn’t seem that complicated. It’s a place where you can hang out, have some refreshments, read some Japanese comic books and maybe browse the internet if you feel like it. But, to those of us in the know there’s much more to the function of these quaint little places than you might think.
The Manga Cafe comes from the concept of the Japanese tea room. In fact they are also called Manga Kissa, and the term Kissa comes from kissaten meaning tea room. The tea room traditionally is a place for its users to unwind for a while, and refresh before heading back about their business. This is no different than how a Manga Cafe
The Manga in the Manga Cafe is only one small part of the equation that is a Manga Cafe. It functions as temporary lodging, a short-term office, a place to spend the night when you’ve missed the last train, a restaurant, or a place for socialization for many.
Those who visit a Manga Cafe pay for the time they plan on staying, by the hour. Most are open 24 hours a day and make for a very convenient and cheap way to spend the night. There’s multiple options available to suit your needs and many of us traveling through Tokyo make use of these temporary lodgings as they offer a place to relax for a hot meal and beverage without having to break the bank on a hotel room.
Besides the Manga, you’ll find videogames, internet, smoking areas, sleeping areas, a dedicated staff, and much more to accommodate you. Some even go further than that, offering tanning beds, music, nail salons, and movies. Because of how much these places offer, they are quite popular throughout the Tokyo area. You can find a Manga Cafe pretty much anywhere throughout Tokyo, but are exceedingly popular near train stations where you’ll often find their staff outside inviting you to come in.
Most Manga Cafes charge a flat rate per hour, going up to 12 and even 24 hours for certain cafes. Generally it’s in the 400 yen range per each hour spent in the Cafe, sometimes offering a discount for the longer you stay and other factors such as if it’s a weekday or if there is a special promotion running. Mathematically you can easily see this is much cheaper than your general hotel and this price is all inclusive for everything, except for food but that is generally cheap as well. It’s pretty difficult to beat a price point like this in any city around the world that still offers so much.
This concept is incredibly popular throughout Tokyo and, unsurprisingly, the concept is beginning to spread elsewhere in larger cities across Europe. If you find yourself on the streets of Tokyo at night feeling tired and travel-weary be on the lookout for your nearest Manga Cafe. Chances are, it’s not far away.
I hope you enjoyed this article and found it informative. If you haven’t already, check out the last article here.