Japan is home to a variety of quirky experiences, often found nowhere else in the world. The Book and Bed Hostel is one such concept, bringing together the best aspects of a library and hotel to create a space that book worms could get well and truely lost in! If your idea of a perfect holiday allows you to be completely immersed in a good book, this may just be the place for you.
Having opened their first location in Tokyo last year, Suppose Design Office have masterfully created the concept’s next wonderland of stories and dreams in Kyoto. Beds and bookshelves are one in the same, with cosy nooks for reading hidden amongst the words. This is not a full service hotel experience- it is essentially a reading room with spots to sleep if you so wish. Beds are basic and semi-private; a curtain is all that separates you from others and facilities such as bathrooms are shared.
The experience is one decidedly centered around reading, with their website explicitly stating that “there are no comfortable mattresses, fluffy pillows nor lightweight and warm down duvets” to indulge the kind of rest that can come without a book. They argue instead that “dozing off obliviously during your treasured pass time (of reading) is the finest moment of sleep”. Sleep is considered a wonderful bi-product that complements the experience of completely immersing yourself in reading. This really is a place that specifically caters to the blissful indulgences of bibliophiles everywhere.
With up to 5000 books to choose from, the selection is a carefully curated collection of both English and Japanese texts. With the help of local Shibuya Publishing & Booksellers, the stories are Kyoto themed, providing visitors the perfect context for exploring the city. They also allow day visitors, so if you’re just interested in a break from your day to browse and snooze, that is possible too!
It is interesting that as cities get larger, it becomes possible to support such specific venues targeted such a specific interest group. The Japanese have been pioneers in this respect, with the rise of fetish-esque venues from maid, pet and cuddle-cafes popping up more and more often. I suppose that as basic needs and comforts become less accessible in a modernising world, it only makes sense that these kinds of venues will appear, to try and fill the gaps.
We also blogged recently about the popular 24hr Eslite Bookshop that has become a go-to venue in Japan. Venues are evidently re-inventing their programs and offerings to capture the growing numbers of those interested in less mainstream activities (like going out to read a book at 2am in the morning). Populous areas can now provide the critical mass necessary to sustain such niche business opportunities. As reading is actually a relatively common interest, it will be fascinating to see what more obscure pass-times will be catered for next.