By Masaya Tomizuka
Rental study rooms catering to people wishing to concentrate on study or work at a place outside their companies or homes are offering diversified and high-quality services.
One example is Academyhills Hirakawacho Library, a membership facility opened by Mori Building Co. in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, this month. The facility measures 678 square meters and includes 68 individual working booths, meeting space and reading space equipped with domestic and foreign newspapers and magazines, and a variety of books.
One notable feature is the rooftop hot water footbath available to members. On the assumption that members will include entrepreneurs and lawyers, the library expects the footbath to be a good place for nurturing relationships among its members.
The membership entrance fee is 10,500 yen ($164)), plus payment of a 31,500 yen (S$494) monthly charge for 30 hours' use of an individual booth.
Hotel Villa Fontaine, a business hotel chain operated by a company affiliated with Sumitomo Realty & Development Co., started a 1,000 yen-an-hour "daytime business plan" at its four hotels in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, last month. The plan allows only one person to use the room. Connection to the Internet is free and there is a two-hour minimum. Users can work in a quiet environment and rest on a bed when tired.
Academy Lounge Ikebukuro, opened this month by stationery maker King Jim Co., created a studious environment by dividing the floor into two zones--a business section, where users can use calculators and personal computers, and a quiet area. The lounge has adopted a monthly membership system. For example, a weekday night plan costing 8,190 yen (S$128) a month allows members to use the lounge between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.
These study rooms are popular among exam-takers and businesspeople who are working to obtain certifications. Such establishments have made inroads in large cities, partly due to the increasing trend of vacant office space.
These services appear to have much potential for business, given that many people can do their jobs in any location using highly functional mobile or computer terminals thanks to the development of advanced communications technology.
-The Yomiuri Shinbun/Asia News Network