Book and Bed, Tokyo

Part bookstore, part hostel, this just might be the best place to catch some rest in the world’s largest city.

Imagine the beauty of falling asleep with not one book—but 5,000.

Book and Bed, a no-frills Tokyo hostel, first opened in 2015. Owned by R-Store and designed by the acclaimed Suppose Design, the hostelry now has four locations, with a fifth opening in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo this spring.

For less than $50 per night, visiting bibliophiles can sleep in simple larch-wood bunks tucked into a massive central bookshelf. Each cubby has its own Edison-bulb reading light, electrical outlet, a safe, and a curtain to close when you just can’t finish that last sentence. The hostel offers thousands of titles, from Manga to Murakami, including English translations of classic Japanese literature. [Read your way around the world with these 12 books.]

Guests enjoy free Wi-Fi, super-clean bathrooms, basic toiletries, and rentable towels. While you can’t buy the books, you can purchase Book and Bed’s popular striped pajamas, complete with a book-sized front pocket. And if you do find a title you can’t live without, chances are there’s a copy at trendy Shibuya Publishing & Booksellers (Book and Bed’s official library curator).

Ninth-century illuminated manuscripts and the earliest known architectural plan drawn on parchment are just some of the literary treasures at the resplendent 1,200-year-old Baroque-style Convent of St Gall in Switzerland.
Ninth-century illuminated manuscripts and the earliest known architectural plan drawn on parchment are just some of the literary treasures at the resplendent 1,200-year-old Baroque-style Convent of St Gall in Switzerland.
Photograph by Heeb/laif/Redux

Claustrophobics who can’t handle tiny bunking should stop by the lounge during afternoon hours. The TV-less common room is perfect for consulting helpful city guides, letting kids peruse the children’s section, or snagging some Internet-time.

Book a bunk at the Ikebukuro location for top-notch neighborhood ramen shops and a visit to Sky Circus observatory, Fukuoka for beaches and ancient castle ruins, or Asakusa for unbeatable proximity to Sensō-ji Buddhist temple and Suzukien’s addictive matcha gelato. Or opt for Kyoto to see cherry blossom allées, cushy moss gardens, and the city’s 17 UNESCO sites … that is if you can get your nose out of that book.

Freelance writer Cait Etherton studies for her M.F.A. in Poetry and Creative Nonfiction at Virginia Commonwealth University. Follow her travels on Twitter.

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