Three of Tokyo’s most useful stations offer individual-size offices free of charge.
Japan’s capsule hotels are world-famous. Individual-sized sleeping compartments that you rent by the night, they can be found outside many of Tokyo’s larger train stations. However, inside some of those stations are banks of newly installed capsule offices.
Currently available inside East Japan Railway’s Tokyo, Shinjuku, and Shinagawa Stations, the offices are called “Station Work,” and we stopped by Shinjuku to try one out.
Equipped with free Wi-Fi, a desk, a monitor, and both conventional and USB power outlets, Station Work offices are handy for when you need to bang out a quick email, put the finishing touches on a PC-dependent project, or top off the battery on one of your mobile devices. Amazingly, Station Work is also free, and can be used for up to 30 minutes per single session.
To start, you’ll need to register an account (also free) on the Station Work website here. Tap the “create new account” button (boxed in red in the screenshot below), then enter your email address, choose a screen name and password.
Once you’re signed in, you select the station you wish to use by tapping it on the map, which then brings up a map of the station interior. Select the capsule office you want to use and an open time slot (the service is available between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.), tap “OK” to confirm, and your reservation is done.
All Station Work offices are located inside the station ticket gates, and once we arrived at ours we tapped the touchscreen on the outside of the booth we’d reserved.
This brought up a QR code, which we scanned with our smartphone’s camera to unlock the door and head in.
The seat is surprisingly comfortable, and on top of the desk is a monitor with HDMI and USB inputs. There’s also some pretty impressive sound insulation, both to keep distracting outside noises from coming in and also to prevent your own voice from leaking out if you’re talking on the phone.
As mentioned above, Station Work outlets are currently installed in Tokyo, Shinjuku, and Shinagawa Stations. While those three stations were likely chosen because they’re in the middle of three of Tokyo’s major business neighborhoods, they’re also three of the most useful stations for travelers and sightseers, what with Tokyo and Shinagawa being stops on the Shinkansen bullet train network and Shinjuku offering an unparalleled number of train and subway lines for making your way around the city. As such, Station Work isn’t just handy for on-the-go businesspeople and freelancers, but visitors to Japan too, so if you’re planning to be in Tokyo between now and the end of Station Work’s test run on February 20, these capsule offices are a great place from which to keep in touch with people back home or plan the next stop on your journey through Japan.