Few things in life are as pleasurable as curling up with a good book in the comfort of your bed.
So when it was announced that a unique bookshelf themed hostel by the name of Book and Bed 泊まれる本屋 had opened in Ikebukuro 池袋, Tokyo in late 2015, I knew I had to add it to my bucket list.
Home to 1,700 books and growing – all of them published by Shibuya Publishing & Booksellers, Book and Bed was inspired by the founding company, R-Store‘s vision to let guests combine the best of both worlds: a place that’s comfortable to sleep, as well as more interesting than your run of the mill bed. And judging by their unique set up, they certainly achieved that!
Booking is easy enough; just make sure that you book from the right city (there are 3). The hostel will send you a detailed guide on what to expect a couple of days before your check-in date.
While the Tokyo branch initially occupied just the seventh floor on Lumiere Building, it has since expanded to the eighth floor as well.
Guests will be greeted by a bar come check-in counter on the eighth floor, and hostel staff will brief you on the house rules: return all blankets and towels to the respective baskets when you check out, and no use of hair dryers between 12pm to 7am. You can also purchase amenity sets, drinks (alcoholic and non alcoholic) and snacks using your credit card or IC.
Space wise, Book and Bed is… cosy. Don’t expect sprawling spaces for yourself and your luggage, save for the common area. I had a little difficulty sliding mine under the shelf, what with my bunk being located in the corner with a metal ladder in front of it to boot.
So every time I wanted to prepare my clothes and necessities for the next day, I would have to make sure I had gotten everything out of my luggage before stowing it away, otherwise it would be a real hassle of taking it out all over again. And me being me, I forgot quite a few times during my stay… *GROAN*.
If you’re not used to comparatively tiny living spaces, spring for the standard bookshelf or bunk space; you get extra wiggle room to hang your outfits and place your day bag at your foot. A standard bed comes with a personal deposit box for your valuables, a small fan and a pretty reading light, along with your blankets and covers. You also get the wifi password (printed on a torn page book) and a pair of earplugs. Looks like they took those reviews about noise levels seriously.
While I had my initial reservations about hostel accommodation (having lived in one for almost half a decade), Book and Bed’s washrooms were absolutely spotless and – thank goodness – odourless.
The common area is relatively quiet in the daytime, seeing as most guests are either off exploring or checked out; most appear to stay for 1 night.
It does get busier past midnight, as guests wander over from their beds to browse or hang out through the night. The feeling is akin to visiting your neighbourhood library, but in your PJs. Oh, snacks are allowed too.
To keep potential spillage to a minimum, Book and Bed provides these awesome wooden boxes with holes cut out for your cups. Genius!
While both levels have common areas, 8F where I stayed had a much larger one, possibly because there were fewer beds. Seats are also equipped with charging stations so you can virtually camp there the whole night without worrying about running out of juice.
Books wise, it’s true that Book and Bed’s library is catered more toward the local crowd, what with majority of the books being in Japanese. Those in English tended to gear toward travel related topics…or were hooked to the ceiling as decoration to create the illusion of books floating around you.
Hardcore bibliophiles might balk at the idea of using books as decoration, or even tearing pages out of books to use as signs. Personally, I found the latter a bit hard to read, as the stamped ink wasn’t particularly decipherable from the text.
I did find a couple of interesting reads, though, such as a collection of quotes by sushi master Jiro Ono, a photo book by a long distance couple, and a collection of Japanese horror tales translated into English. Of course, Haruki Murakami’s works are also there.
Overall, Book and Bed is a pretty neat concept that combines the love of travelling with reading. While I wouldn’t stay for more than 1 night due to my need for space, I have to say that it’s worth booking a night if you’re into unique accommodation, or books, or both!
Read about the rest of my Tokyo trip here:
(Accurate as of June 2017)
Address: Lumiere Buillding 7F/8F
Nearest Train Station: Ikebukuro (Exit C8)
Opening Hours: 1pm – 5pm Daily
Check-in Time: 4pm – 11pm Daily
Check-out Time: 11am Daily
Bookshelf and Bunk Rates:
Standard: ¥4,500 (Monday to Thursday), ¥5,500 (Friday to Sunday and eve of Public Holiday)
Compact: ¥3,500 (Monday to Thursday), ¥4,500 (Friday to Sunday and eve of Public Holiday)
Hourly Visitation Rate (no bed): ¥500/ hour, ¥1,500 for unlimited time
Extra Charges: ¥540 for amenity set; separate charges for food and drinks purchased from BNBT
Credit Card: Yes, only VISA, MasterCard and SAISON
IC: Yes, Suica and PASMO