Tokyo’s Quirkiest Co-Working Spaces: Creativity and Community in the City’s Most Unique Shared Offices
Tokyo's Quirkiest Co-Working Spaces: Creativity and Community in the City's Most Unique Shared Offices - The Capsule Office - Work in a Retro Sci-Fi Setting
Step into the future when you walk through the doors of The Capsule, one of Tokyo's most unique co-working spaces. Inspired by 1970s sci-fi films and anime classics, this office lets you live out your retrofuturist dreams.
The moment you enter The Capsule, you're transported decades into the past. Everything from the furniture to the wall art screams mid-century modern meets space age. It's easy to imagine you're onboard a spaceship or have stumbled into a secret laboratory.
One of the most iconic parts of The Capsule is the rows of custom-built workstations. These minimalist white pods look like sleeping chambers on an intergalactic starship. Step inside your own private cocoon to work distraction-free for hours on end. When you need to refuel, grab an effervescent beverage from the neon-lit cafe before heading back to your pod.
In addition to the pods, The Capsule contains semi-private work carrels decked out in atomic age decor. Vintage science equipment like signal generators and analog synthesizers inject educational inspiration into the environment. While you probably won't use a cryotron for work, these gadgets spark creativity.
Of course, The Capsule isn't all about solo work. This innovative office encourages collaboration through both its facilities and events. Engineers, programmers, and designers frequently gather in the spacious common area to problem solve together. Special lectures and workshops on technology, design, and the arts are hosted in the multi-media room several times per month.
According to members, being surrounded by retrofuturism is more than just novel, it's also productive. The Capsule's creative director explains that the space is optimized for innovation. The visual connection to science fiction's greatest visionaries pushes people's imaginations further. Working in a setting modeled after legendary thinkers breeds big ideas.
What else is in this post?
- Tokyo's Quirkiest Co-Working Spaces: Creativity and Community in the City's Most Unique Shared Offices - The Capsule Office - Work in a Retro Sci-Fi Setting
- Tokyo's Quirkiest Co-Working Spaces: Creativity and Community in the City's Most Unique Shared Offices - Cats and Laptops - Where Feline Friends Roam Freely
- Tokyo's Quirkiest Co-Working Spaces: Creativity and Community in the City's Most Unique Shared Offices - Studio Ghibli Theme - Animated Magic in the Workspace
- Tokyo's Quirkiest Co-Working Spaces: Creativity and Community in the City's Most Unique Shared Offices - Motion Picture Meets Startup - Inside a Former Film Studio
- Tokyo's Quirkiest Co-Working Spaces: Creativity and Community in the City's Most Unique Shared Offices - Cafe by Day, Office by Night - The Best of Both Worlds
- Tokyo's Quirkiest Co-Working Spaces: Creativity and Community in the City's Most Unique Shared Offices - Commune with Nature - Biophilic Design in the City
- Tokyo's Quirkiest Co-Working Spaces: Creativity and Community in the City's Most Unique Shared Offices - Mingle with Makers - 3D Printers and Laser Cutters Available
- Tokyo's Quirkiest Co-Working Spaces: Creativity and Community in the City's Most Unique Shared Offices - nap Pods and Ball Pits - Playtime for Adults
Tokyo's Quirkiest Co-Working Spaces: Creativity and Community in the City's Most Unique Shared Offices - Cats and Laptops - Where Feline Friends Roam Freely
For cat lovers, what could be better than having adorable felines to pet while you work? At Nekoselect, a cozy café by day transforms into a cat-filled co-working space at night. This quirky office lets you cuddle kitties as you take conference calls or pound away at your keyboard.
Nekoselect houses over a dozen permanent feline residents who roam freely throughout the space. Visitors can play with the sociable cats as they lounge on couches, tables, and even computer monitors. Despite the presence of so many pets, Nekoselect manages to maintain a professional atmosphere. The cats seem to understand when it's work time and are content just to observe or sleep nearby as you focus.
Of course, you'll still run into the occasional cat traffic jam as a furry friend saunters across your desk. One member laughed as she recalled a Zoom call interrupted by a curious tabby determined to walk in front of the camera. At Nekoselect, you have to be prepared for feline antics.
While potential distractions abound, cat lovers insist the animals make working here an absolute joy. As office manager Satomi Ito puts it, "Having purring cats in your lap reduces stress and sparks creativity." She loves watching new members squeal with delight when a kitten nestles onto their shoulder for the first time.
Regular Yuki Tanaka gushes, "This is the best office ever! I look forward to coming to work every day thanks to the cats." He admits he sometimes feigns working diligently just so cats will climb up looking to play or cuddle. "Procrastinating was never so adorable," Tanaka laughs.
Nekoselect founder Hideki Saito, a lifelong cat enthusiast, gets great satisfaction from enabling people to enjoy feline companionship while building their careers. "I wanted to create a space where singles or couples who can't have pets at home can still get their 'cat fix,'" shares Saito.
Watching members form bonds with the cats makes all the challenges of running an animal-filled office worthwhile. According to Saito, there are definitely tricky aspects of managing a cat co-working space. Keeping the facilities clean is a full time job, and not every cat gets along perfectly. However, the joy on members' faces convinces him it's all worth it.
While Nekoselect offers amazing opportunities for cat cuddling, Saito reminds visitors to be respectful. "The cats are not play things; they are our family." He urges guests not to disturb sleeping cats or force interaction. "Let the kitties approach you!" says Saito. With this gentle reminder, human and feline coworkers continue enjoying each other's company late into the evenings.
Tokyo's Quirkiest Co-Working Spaces: Creativity and Community in the City's Most Unique Shared Offices - Studio Ghibli Theme - Animated Magic in the Workspace
Step into the magical world of Studio Ghibli at this one-of-a-kind Tokyo co-working space. Everything from the decor to the activities channels the whimsy and wonder of legendary anime studio Studio Ghibli.
As soon as you walk through the doors, the childlike fantasy of Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro envelops you. Gorgeous hand-painted murals depicting classic Ghibli scenes adorn the walls. Plush dolls of beloved characters like the susuwatari from Spirited Away perch on shelves, ready for cuddles. Even the snacks come straight out of the movies, with treats like Howl's bacon-egg breakfast sets.
According to co-founder Hayao Saito, "We wanted to design a space that promotes imagination and sparks joy in the workplace." The incredible attention to detail transports members right into a Ghibli film. Saito smiles as he recalls members gasping in delight the first time they explored the elaborately themed conference rooms modeled after iconic movie locations.
Daily fun activities also bring the Ghibli magic to life. Members frequently re-enact their favorite scenes, belt out karaoke from Ghibli soundtracks, or craft Totoro socks during workshop sessions. Special highlights include potion making classes based on Kiki's Delivery Service and garden days focused on cultivating plants straight from the movies.
Member Keiko Tanaka gushes, "I've loved Studio Ghibli since I was a little kid, so working here is a dream come true. When I'm stressed about a project, I just look over at the soot sprites, and it brings back that childlike sense of joy and wonder. It really inspires creativity."
According to Saito, that sense of inspiration and imagination defines the workspace's ethos. "We know we've succeeded when we see a member spontaneously break out into a Totoro dance or hear someone humming the melody from Castle in the Sky," shares Saito. Witnessing members rediscover their inner child convinces him that embracing whimsy breeds workplace positivity.
Of course, Saito acknowledges maintaining such an elaborate theme has challenges. Keeping decor looking pristine requires daily upkeep. Members also tire of activities eventually, necessitating constantly creating new, exciting experiences. However, Saito insists the smiles on members' faces make all the hard work worthwhile.
Tokyo's Quirkiest Co-Working Spaces: Creativity and Community in the City's Most Unique Shared Offices - Motion Picture Meets Startup - Inside a Former Film Studio
Step into the glitz and glamour of classic cinema at this coworking space housed inside a former film studio. Everything from the Art Deco architecture to the vintage movie props transports you back to Hollywood's golden age.
According to founder Daisuke Hayashi, the concept for Neo Studios was born out of a passion for the magic of moviemaking combined with the challenges of launching a startup. "I wanted to give entrepreneurs affordable workspace that inspired creativity like the iconic studios of the past," shares Hayashi.
Staying true to its cinematic roots, Neo Studios retains many touches paying homage to the building's history as a bustling lot during the heyday of Japanese cinema. Visitors are greeted by an elaborate 1930s era movie theater lobby, complete with neon marquees announcing the latest silent pictures. Sepia-toned photographs of famous actors line the graceful curving staircases leading to the second floor offices.
Once upstairs, the startup atmosphere merges seamlessly with Old Hollywood glamor. Companies can rent private bungalows named after iconic starlets like "The Monroe" or "The Bacall." Shared spaces evoke the feel of behind-the-scenes studio lots with vintage director's chairs and clapboard signs. Companies working in film-related fields can even access production facilities like professional recording booths.
Throughout the offices, Hayashi has carefully curated an extensive collection of cinema artifacts to inspire entrepreneurs. Antique film cameras, clapper boards, and spotlights decorate shelves and walls. In common areas, members lounge on art deco banquettes salvaged from historic movie palaces. Even the nap rooms contain antique projectors and props from academy award winning classics.
According to Hayashi, surrounding startups with touches of cinematic nostalgia fosters creative thinking. "Movies have a way of sparking the imagination, which is exactly the environment entrepreneurs need," explains Hayashi. Member Midori Sasaki agrees that the constant visual reminders of moviemaking history help her approach projects differently. "Sometimes when I'm stuck, I'll go sit in the lobby by the old movie posters and it's like a lightbulb switches on," shares Sasaki.
Tokyo's Quirkiest Co-Working Spaces: Creativity and Community in the City's Most Unique Shared Offices - Cafe by Day, Office by Night - The Best of Both Worlds
For those seeking a balance between work and play, some of Tokyo's quirkiest coworking spaces moonlight as bustling cafes. By day, these offices fill with the rich aroma of fresh-brewed coffee as baristas craft lattes. Then, as darkness falls, the clink of cups is replaced by the click-clack of keyboards as remote workers log on. For members, having access to both relaxing cafes and functional workspaces maximizes flexibility.
A standout dual-purpose venue is The Barn. This rustic-chic space channels a cozy library by day, with bookshelves crammed with dog-eared paperbacks. Members snuggle into leather armchairs with their laptops, coding and compiling. The smell of freshly baked goods draws them to the kitchen, where they refuel on homemade cookies before returning to work. As evening arrives, cafe customers trade places with office dwellers without The Barn missing a beat.
Owner Satomi Tanaka chose the around-the-clock model after craving comfortable spots both to work and unwind. According to Tanaka, “Having everything under one roof is incredibly convenient. When I need a break from writing, I simply migrate from my desk to the lounge.” She frequently holds meetings over coffee instead of in stale conference rooms. The laidback cafe vibe fosters creativity.
For Sasuke Miyazaki, accessing business essentials at all hours is key. “If I suddenly need to print documents at 7 p.m., the resources are right here,” explains Miyazaki. Likewise, pulling all-nighters is no problem thanks to unlimited coffee and seamless wifi. Miyazaki keeps clothes and toiletries on-site to power through big deadlines without wasting commuting time.
While the model is efficient, Tanaka acknowledges drawbacks likekeeping kitchens inspection-ready and preventing rowdiness as evenings wear on. Achieving yin-yang harmony between cafes’ relaxed moods and coworking’s focus takes effort. “We are continually tweaking operations to allow synergy between the two spaces,” shares Tanaka. Still, providing hangout havens and productive enclaves under one roof remains her ultimate vision.
Tokyo's Quirkiest Co-Working Spaces: Creativity and Community in the City's Most Unique Shared Offices - Commune with Nature - Biophilic Design in the City
In today's world of constant hustle, the chance to immerse in nature can seem out of reach, especially for urbanites. That's why forward-thinking coworking spaces are increasingly incorporating the outdoors through biophilic design. These nature-inspired elements help reduce stress while boosting creativity.
Step into the jungle at Rainforest Workx, where indoor trees, skylights, and water features transform concrete walls into serene oases. As founder Kaori Tanaka explains, "It's scientifically proven that natural environments lower anxiety, which is exactly the type of calm, focused mood we want to cultivate." Research shows gazing at an aquarium or touching a leafy plant triggers relaxation responses, helping you stay centered despite looming deadlines.
Tanaka insists biophilic design isn't just about aesthetics - it's a vital form of wellness infrastructure. Access to greenery doesn't just look pretty, it provides measurable mental health benefits. According to Tanaka, studies demonstrate workers are 15% more productive when surrounded by abundant foliage and sunlight. They also exhibit fewer physical symptoms of chronic stress, like headaches or eye strain.
Members enthusiastically confirm the perks of biophilic elements. Ayumi Sato gushes, "Being surrounded by plants magically transforms the vibe of the space." She frequently works from a bungalow with garden views when tackling intense projects. "Watching the koi pond helps calm my nerves when I'm on an important sales call," shares Sato. For creative roles like graphic design, the organic inspiration ignites innovation. "My best logo designs happen when I'm sitting near the indoor stream," says Sato.
Others value how biophilic design facilitates connection. PR professional Daiki Ito explains, "In tech fields, people tend to isolate themselves. But having shared green spaces encourages us to collaborate." He notes coworkers often bond over garden maintenance like repotting plants, facilitating relationships.
Tokyo's Quirkiest Co-Working Spaces: Creativity and Community in the City's Most Unique Shared Offices - Mingle with Makers - 3D Printers and Laser Cutters Available
At FabCafe, entrepreneurs and innovators blend work with next-generation manufacturing tech. This coworking space contains a full prototyping workshop equipped with 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC machines, and more. Members incorporate these cutting-edge tools into their product development and collaboration.
According to FabCafe founder Hiroshi Yamada, providing access to digital fabrication tools empowers creators to bring ideas to life. Yamada, an engineer, watched friends abandon passion projects like art robots or IoT devices due to lack of resources. “I started FabCafe so every maker could affordably access professional-grade equipment,” shares Yamada.
Now, engineers chat over coffee as 3D printers hum away crafting custom components behind them. Product designers fine-tune CAD models between meetings then walk downstairs to hit “print.” Entrepreneurs gather for lively Hackathon nights fueled by pizza and rapid prototyping. Yamada beams watching members hold freshly laser-cut initial prototypes. “This hands-on creation builds community,” observes Yamada. Fellow members confirm collaborating directly with materials unlocks innovation.
Architect Akiko Sato used the laser cutter to craft an intricate scale model of her building design. “Having an instant physical manifestation of my digital model allowed me to spot potential issues and refine details. My final design improved exponentially thanks to that tactile prototyping stage,” explains Sato.
For Madoka Kobayashi, an e-textiles designer, access to advanced tools expanded her horizons exponentially. “I went from hand-stitching a few interactive garments per year to mass producing collections thanks to industrial cutters and sewing equipment,” says Kobayashi. Her wearable tech graced runways instead of Etsy due to scalable production. Kobayashi now mentors others on transforming maker projects into manufacturable products.
According to Yamada, the on-site community itself serves as the most valuable asset. “Having machinists and engineers on staff means members get personalized coaching that unlocks their tools’ full potential.” Instead of struggling through complex software alone, they perfect techniques in hands-on seminars.
Yamada observes that the maker mindset itself — embracing creativity, critical thinking and interdisciplinary collaboration — catalyzes innovation. Coworkers from diverse backgrounds unite to hack new solutions. “We had a mobile app developer and construction project manager team up to envision a new augmented reality home design app,” Yamada shares.
Of course, running a high-tech fabrication studio poses immense challenges. Managing sound levels, materials costs, safety risks requires round-the-clock vigilance. However, Yamada insists the rewards outweigh the work. “Watching a member find investors thanks to a 3D-printed prototype makes every sleepless night and equipment malfunction worthwhile,” Yamada says.
Tokyo's Quirkiest Co-Working Spaces: Creativity and Community in the City's Most Unique Shared Offices - nap Pods and Ball Pits - Playtime for Adults
In the never-ending hustle of startup life, remembering to take a break can seem impossible. However, some creative Tokyo offices are incorporating playtime into the workday through fun features like nap pods and ball pits. Unplugging your brain while on the clock might seem counterintuitive, but it actually boosts productivity.
According to sports psychologist Dr. Ryo Tanaka, short bursts of play stimulate the brain much like exercise invigorates the body. Activities that tap into imagination and humor create an ideal mental break because they fully divert focus from work. “Letting your mind reset completely helps you return to tasks refreshed and inspired in a way that checking emails can’t,” explains Dr. Tanaka.
Ball pits aren’t just for Chuck E. Cheese anymore at creative agency Oyasumi Kamu. This office contains a massive adult-sized pit filled with multicolored plastic orbs that seems straight out of a preschool. However, workers insist diving into the pool of balls for 15 minutes leaves them ready to ideate solutions or code algorithms better than ever. The sheer silliness of flailing around in a sea of neon brings out their inner child and unleashes creativity.
Coworker Saki Nakamura laughs, “My most brilliant marketing ideas happen when I’m submerged up to my neck in that ball pit!” She explains that the nostalgia rush of revisiting childhood play spaces clears her mind completely. “I always emerge energized with a totally fresh perspective,” says Nakamura.
For other offices, nap pods offer the perfect way to recharge brains during busy workdays. These hi-tech capsule-like beds block out light and noise to create the ideal quick snooze environment. Members can drift off for a power nap that scientific research proves boosts alertness and focus.
Haruki Suzuki, an account manager at napping pod-equipped Dreams Inc, calculates he’s three times more productive on afternoons he uses the sleeper pods. “Even just 15 minutes of quality sleep totally reboots my brain so I avoid that post-lunch energy crash,” shares Suzuki. He finds waking up cocooned in the cozy pod far more refreshing than mainlining coffee to stay alert.
While playful office perks require financial investment and space, owners insist the benefits outweigh the costs. Oyasumi Kamu founder Keiko Sato loves watching employees regress to childhood as they romp in balls. “Seeing that pure joy on their faces when they emerge from the pit makes the cleaning and safety precautions completely worthwhile,” declares Sato.
Likewise, Masashi Nakamura installed napping pods at Dreams Inc after his groggy employees kept dozing off at their desks. “Providing a proper place to rest increased alertness and motivation exponentially,” explains Nakamura. For him, the pods symbolize truly caring for his team’s needs, not just their output.