Sleeping in a box: Manga Café as accommodation

I don’t understand, yet accepted long ago, why Tokyo’s trains and subways shut at midnight. I heard somewhere that it was because of a disagreement (or agreement?) between taxi companies and the rail companies but perhaps this is a rumour. Hitoshi isn’t sure. If you know the real reason, please comment below!

Senso-ji Temple - New Year's Eve

Senso-ji Temple – New Year’s Eve, Tokyo

Staying at an Internet Café aka Manga Kissa

I wanted to try sleeping at an internet café so Hitoshi found one before we went out for the night. Why, you ask? I had already tried a capsule hotel and Hitoshi said that Manga Cafes were their replacement. I am not a gamer nor a manga reader so I wouldn’t have any other reason to visit a Manga Kissa. I suppose I was looking for a bargain! It also seemed silly to find a hotel when we already had a place to stay.

While revealing the events of the night would be sidetracking, some of you may be curious. We went to Womb to see Richie Hawtin and then ate obligatory after midnight ramen before heading to our bed for the night.

The café Hitoshi chose was well signed from the street and up a flight of stairs in a tall, skinny building, typical of Tokyo.

Once we paid, we found our assigned cubicle for two. It was in a large room off a hallway leading to similar rooms. The space was filled with rows of little open-topped boxes. The overhead lights were dim, the décor was black and maroon and it was surprisingly quiet, at first.

Our “room” had three walls about 1.5 metres high and a door. We left our shoes outside.

Inside, the squishy mattress on the floor reminded me of a thicker version from a fitness centre for doing sit-ups on. We were also given a blanket.

We could lie down with our legs almost stretched out under the narrow shelf that held a massive computer screen. As soon as I lay down, I knew that this was not going to be the most comfortable evening. We hadn’t planned on gaming all night like our neighbor so I pleaded with Hitoshi to work his magic in turning off the computer screen. Unfortunately, he couldn’t figure it out and I was too tired to be useless with the remote. We were bathed in an artificial glow while I tried to settle. As soon as I closed my eyes, any noise in the room was magnified and I wished I had brought my earplugs.

Some people live in internet cafés. We saw the evidence hanging on the outside walls or neatly stacked outside a cubicle. This is another topic.

Our café had areas only for women, showers, free drinks and soup, and toiletries for sale. There was a “midnight pack” but we arrived later and got the “6-hour pack” until the first train started. The rates ranged from Y1,000 to Y1,500.

I find it hard to sleep anywhere but my own bed but it was warm, dry and cheaper than a cab home and I would do it again.

bullet train departures board at track

waiting for the first bullet train (shinkansen) to Osaka

Have you stayed overnight at a manga café? Are you interested in staying at one?

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