For today’s favourites, I’m going to write about one of my favourite places in Tokyo – the Hibiya Library and Museum in Chiyoda City, Tokyo.
Besides just being an incredibly spiffy and shiny building situated in a stunning park in one of the swankiest parts of Tokyo, the Hibiya library has one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen inside a library – a restaurant!
The restaurant has a “mellow ambiance”, and is actually licensed, meaning you can have a glass of wine or beer with your meal. What I find really interesting is that you can bring library books into both the cafe and restaurant without having to check them out. So, people can drop by the library and have a cup of coffee while reading a magazine, without having to sign up for a library card or check out material. This is particularly nice if you’re from out of town! You simply drop the books in a return box when you’re done with them.
Another feature I found quite interesting was the fee-for-use study room.
While there are free seats available around the library, and all users can use the wi-fi, this special area provides a silent workspace, with a power outlet and cable LAN for each user. The rate for use is quite reasonable, coming in at about 3.50CAD for 2 hours. I can see the appeal for this kind of quiet space in a crowded city like Tokyo, where people often live in very small quarters, particularly students. Still, I’d never seen a fee-for-use study space before.
The last thing I’ll mention about the Hibiya Library is its crazy hours of operation. 10AM – 10PM FIVE DAYS A WEEK. AND they’re open Saturdays and Sundays. I can only dream of having these kinds of opening hours…
So there you have it, just a little introduction to a lovely place to do some research or recharge the next time you’re in Tokyo!