Popular Japanese CD/bookstore and video rental chain Tsutaya seems to be tapping into a recent trend to appeal to bookworms and those searching for affordable lodging at the same time. You may recall that a bookstore-themed hostel became a big hit with foreign tourists, and soon expanded to a Kyoto location and another one in Tokyo allowing lodgers to sleep among bookshelves and enjoy craft beer. And as those who have traveled on a budget in Japan likely know, internet and manga cafes make for an enticing combination of competitive rates and reading material.

Tsutaya seems to understand the appeal, as they've now opened up a suped-up version of their stores they are calling the Tsutaya Book Apartment, a 24-hour "work and relax space" that offers an amenity stocked and entertainment filled space for travelers to cozy up for hours at a time. Part of Tsutaya's motivation in opening up the Book Apartment are the results of a survey the company conducted, which showed that travelers weary of the hustle-and-bustle of Tokyo's fast pace often wanted an oasis where they could relax and recuperate for hours at a time. The multi-floor Book Apartment does that and more, and even welcomes visitors to lie down their head should they miss their last train.

The check-in area is stocked with books, magazines, stationery, as well as snacks and beverages that can be enjoyed inside our outside the facility. The basement also offers a sake bar--also stocked with reading material--for those who enjoy a nightcap with their reading.

You can also cozy up with some coffee while you read or work, as the building's third floor houses a Starbucks. One floor above is a designated "working place", where customers can make use of their laptops, tablets, and other devices to catch up on work, or simply browse the net and chat with your friends back home during their travels.

While the Book Apartment doesn't supply bedding, the fifth and sixth floors are designated "relaxing spaces", which feature a dorm-style shared living room private booths suitable for dozing off should guests need to (you can take off your shoes here), and the fifth floor also offers shower rooms. The sixth floor is women's only, and offers both private booths and open lounging areas.

Individual areas such as the co-working area and the relaxing spaces (as well as booths) can be accessed for 500 yen an hour, with an initial 100 charge for first-timers. The showers are also 500 yen. However, the Book Apartment seems to be targeting long-term visitors, as they offer plans of of six hours for 2,800 yen and 12 hours for 5,500 yen, both including a free shower. It's not certain how much English language reading material they will have on hand, but given the popularity of such lodging with overseas guests, it's reasonable to expect a small selection.

The Tsutaya Book Apartment may have a different level of appeal depending on your traveling situation, but keep it in mind as one more option for lodging in Japan. They do require a form of ID to check-in, however, so be prepared.

You can find access information on the Shinjuku Tsutaya Book Apartment homepage.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.