You’ve settled into your new home in Japan and your Japanese language lessons have started, so it’s time to get down to business and start studying hard. But where’s the best place to get started? If you’re in a share house or homestay you might want to get out and about for a change of scenery to help you concentrate. We’ve put together our list of favourite study spots in Japan.
First up is cafes. As in most countries, they often have free wifi, can help you keep your coffee intake up and don’t tend to mind you setting yourself up in one spot for a while.
A favourite for many, this chain is good for reliability. They can found in most of the major cities in Japan and you know what you’re getting. They’re also often a good size so you don’t feel bad for taking up space studying.
- Mister Donut
Another one available all over Japan. Mister Donut might be a bit of a dangerous location to study given all the delicious donuts on offer but what you may not have realised, it has all you can drink coffee. This means you can set up camp for the day to study hard, with all that sugar and coffee you’ll be sure to cover a few hundred kanji in a day! Beware though, they don’t all have wifi so make sure you pack your pocket wifi!
- Suzu Cafe
A lovely cafe for studying in the day and it turns into a bar at night for when you need to relax.
- Awesome store
You might know this as a shop but the Harajuku location also has a cafe so you can do a bit of shopping and then stop for a drink and a bit of studying before heading home.
This is a great cafe/bar with a bit of a twist, it’s lined with 20000 books too. This makes it the perfect independent coffee shop for studying.
- Flugen Tokyo
Originally found in Norway, they’ve brought a lot of there style to this lovely independent coffee shop. Perfect for studying in style. It also turns into a cocktail bar in the evening if you’d like a little reward after a hard day’s work.
- Daikanyama T-Site
Another great bookstore cum cafe. This large site has a wide range of facilities but most importantly a bookstore and a coffee shop to help your studies.
This one might seem like a bit more of an unusual one but family restaurants can be good for study too. There are some with long opening hours, like most places they’ll have free wifi and there’s often drink bars.
- Royal Host
Another good chain that is somewhere between a cafe and a restaurant. They have an expansive range of food but also let you visit just for coffee or a snack. The coffee has free refills so you can stay a while without it costing too much and when you get hungry you can have a proper meal.
A similar setup to Royal Host, another chain with plenty of locations around the country. They also have an all you can drink, soft drinks bar to keep your energy up as you study.
The popular US chain also has a presence in Japan! That said, the menu is quite different, and tends to specialise in various set meals of Asian cuisine rather than the burgers you may be used to.
A popular family restaurant easily identifiable by its white and blue stripe signs, Jonathan’s offers different lunch sets for cheap – a different one for every day of the work week, giving you the option between a Western cuisine set or a Japanese one.
This might seem obvious but a lot of people, even students forget about libraries as the best study spots. With wifi, peace and quiet and a wealth of resources, they’re the perfect place to practice your Japanese.
Each city is likely to have a larger library that you can access much in the same way you’re likely to use them in your home country. As well as larger central libraries, most prefectures will have several smaller public libraries. To withdraw books you’ll need to register and that also means you’ll need to be a resident in the area or work or study in the area. This can be a little trickier if you’re still relatively early in your studies but many larger prefecture websites will have a page in English that explains the process.
One of Tokyo’s best library is Central Library Hibiya. It’s exceptionally large and has a cafe on site if you need to top up your coffee intake.
If you don’t want to study on your laptop, want to practice your writing, flick through some flashcards or even practice your conversation skills then there are some beautiful outdoor spots to help take the stress out of studying.
Some of our top spots around the cities in Japan:
Sumidagawa river – There are plenty of benches and tables all along the river. Watch the boats go by to help you relax.
Philosopher’s walk – A beautiful spot most of the year and with plenty of benches along the route, it’s an excellent place to follow in the footsteps of Kyoto’s great thinkers.
Tennoji – With a park, a zoo, and an art gallery, there’s a lot to do in Tennoji. It has a lot of open spots and places to sit. A perfect place to practice your flashcards and people watch when you need a distraction.
Momochi Seaside Park – This might seem a bit of an odd choice but this beautiful beach in Fukuoka is often surprisingly quiet. With the soft sand underfoot and the sea lapping against the shore, why not take a blanket down there and study at the seaside for the day.
Obviously, there are plenty of parks and green spaces in all the cities in Japan, why not explore them and find your own favourite study spot.
So now you know where to head to get your head down and your homework done and sometimes with an unhealthy amount of coffee running through you. Try to mix it up, exploring a city by coffee shops and outdoor spots can be a great way to get settled in as well.
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