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. Of course your school and your home are the most obvious places to study, but where do you go if you want a change of scenery? We’ve put together a list of our favourite study spots in Japan.
If you live in a sizeable city, chances are you’ll have a few cafe options to choose from if you’re looking for somewhere to study. There’s a good chance there will be free wifi, although power outlets are a different matter as not all cafes offer the chance to charge your phone or laptop. Just make sure to order at least one item, or more if you plan on staying for a longer time.
Large chain cafes like Tullys, Starbucks and Doutor are good, reliable options that can be found all over the country in major cities. They should offer free wifi and plenty of space, so you won’t feel too bad for taking up the space for studying.
There are many cafes in Tokyo and these are just a very tiny handful of options for you to study at.
- 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 and cafe. This large site has a wide range of facilities and is extremely quiet. Get in early though, as it’s very popular! This site is part of the popular Tsutaya bookstore chain, which has locations all over the country.
- Streamer Coffee Company – this chain is a popular one amongst coffee lovers and their cafe shops are always set up in a cosy way with comfortable seating. They don’t necessarily have the largest amount of space, but if you get there early you should be able to get yourself a seat. You can find locations around Tokyo and Osaka.
- 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.
- Bundan – 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.
- Brooklyn Roasting Company – offers plenty of space to study or work, good coffee, power sockets and free wifi. They are located in Namba, Shinsaibashi and Kitahama.
- Lingua World Cafe – a casual cafe that’s also vegan-friendly, offering Western-style food. Quiet, offers free wifi and a cosy atmosphere.
- Saturdays NYC – An American brand with a flagship store in Osaka, this cafe offers long tables and free wifi.
- Rec Coffee Yakuin – a well-known coffee shop that takes its coffee fairly seriously. This cafe is unique in that it opens until very late, which is perfect for the night owls.
- Manly Cafe – this cafe is inspired by the surf beaches of Manly, a suburb in Sydney, Australia. It’s a small space and quite popular, so we would recommend going outside of busy times, particularly weekend mornings.
- Fika Coffee – a quaint little shop with a cosy feel. Snack on a handmade sweet treat as a reward for your hard work!
This one might seem like a bit more of an unusual one, but it’s pretty normal to see students studying at family restaurants (casual restaurants with affordable food). They usually have long opening hours and free wifi. Again, remember to order from their menu as a courtesy for using their space.
- Royal Host – a 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.
- Gusto – a similar setup to Royal Host. 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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