Moving In At Internet Cafes? KaraNet24, Shibuya

Mine Serizawa

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Internet “café” is actually a gross misnomer for this nine-story building in Shibuya, and not only because the Nescafe-in-a-paper-cup from the vending machines is predictably vile, but because it’s an understatement in every possible way of size, function, and cultural experience value. Yes, really. These establishments strike me as a weirdly compacted sample of Tokyo living, open as they are twenty-four hours a day in one of the most restless parts of town, and where tourists, youth, and businesspeople crash between the last and first trains, where the city’s “homeless, runaways, and divorced husbands” take refuge, and everyone can take unlimited advantage of some of those things celebrated as Japanese trademarks: karaoke, manga, electronics, the sensation of mild delirium.

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Of course, you could just check your email or whatever website you can’t live without (see below) in a small private cabin, smoking or non-smoking according to your preference and with a comfortable swivel chair or a tatami-style situation that calls for strong blood flow through your thighs, or else shameless sprawling. That’ll cost you 180yen/30minutes, or 800, 1,200, or 1,500yen for 3-, 8-, and 12-hour internet bundle packs, respectively.


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Hang on, “bundle pack”? This should be your first indication that these internet cafes are not just meant for sending reassuring ten-second updates to the people back home (or begging for money for a return ticket)–as they tend to be in other cities.

Visitors to Tokyo, or even longer-term residents, however, might be wary of using them for anything more, because…well, I’m not really sure. Perhaps it seems dangerous, or dirty, or suspect, or even in violation of house rules. In fact, extended stays for gaming, working, napping, or whatever it is you’re doing in there are not only tolerated, but encouraged. As the showers on the 9th floor might indicate. Or the free blankets and the towels for-rent at the reception. Or the special rates that kick in between 11pm and 5am–the 1,280yen flatrate for a karaoke room in those hours, for example.

Just to be certain that passing out in my karaoke or ‘net cubicle instead of marathon singing for six straight hours or catching up on a decade of correspondence wouldn’t get me thrown out, I subtly* ran the idea by the staff at the front desk.

Who recommended checking into one of the rooms with the tatami floors, because it would be more ideal for sleeping, obviously. Ta-da.



*”Can I sleep here?”

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I figure, then, that it’s entirely possible to spend a night in Shibuya with entertainment included for a minimum of 1,280yen in a karaoke room, or for 1,500yen in one of the internet booths. But before you throw a house-warming party, you might want to run yourself through a mental/physical preparedness test. Safety is of little concern, but the size factor will definitely matter. The hallways at KaraNet24 were very quiet, the rooms would pass an unseemly-odor- and stain-test, were private and fairly comfortable–and very small. For coma sleepers like myself it would hardly matter; in any case, the main thing is to be aware of what you’re getting yourself into.

Tip: KaraNet24 also has locations in Shinjuku and Ikebukoro; some more of the most ubiquitous internet cafe chains include Manboo!, EZcafé, Gran Cyber Café Bagus, and Media Café Popeye

Name: KaraNet24
Address: 2-28-5 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Location(s): Shibuya,
Access: 4-minute walk from Shibuya Station (JR, Keio, Tokyu, Tokyu Metro)
Web: http://www.utahiro.com/
Link in Japanese
Phone: 03-3770-7747 03-3770-7747
Business hours: 24 hours a day, daily
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14 Responses to “Moving In At Internet Cafes? KaraNet24, Shibuya”

  1. It’s true, they encourage sleeping! I love these places…sometimes after a long week of work and a long night of partying, there is no way I can stay reasonable AND awake until first train…so these places serve as an excellent retreat. It’s not something I’ve done frequently (say, once) but it’s really nice to know that they exist and are a cheap refuge if needed. The one I stayed at in Roppongi had cushioned floors in the booths, like a mini 4-5″ thick mattress…made it very comfortable. 🙂 I was able to wake up in time for first train feeling semi-refreshed and capable of walking around the streets during sunrise and enjoying a nice breakfast without feeling like an undead party zombie.

  2. Jessica Robins-eads

    It’s true, they encourage sleeping! I love these places…sometimes after a long week of work and a long night of partying, there is no way I can stay reasonable AND awake until first train…so these places serve as an excellent retreat. It’s not something I’ve done frequently (say, once) but it’s really nice to know that they exist and are a cheap refuge if needed. The one I stayed at in Roppongi had cushioned floors in the booths, like a mini 4-5″ thick mattress…made it very comfortable. 🙂 I was able to wake up in time for first train feeling semi-refreshed and capable of walking around the streets during sunrise and enjoying a nice breakfast without feeling like an undead party zombie.

  3. Yea these places are a life saver if you’re planning to spend a few nights out on the cheap. Warm, clean, internet access, free refreshments and most importantly showers for anyone planning a hectic few days in the big city! Much nicer than some of the dingy cubicle inns… the last cubicle accom I went to smelled like bleach and had porn all over the walls :S

  4. Yea these places are a life saver if you’re planning to spend a few nights out on the cheap. Warm, clean, internet access, free refreshments and most importantly showers for anyone planning a hectic few days in the big city! Much nicer than some of the dingy cubicle inns… the last cubicle accom I went to smelled like bleach and had porn all over the walls :S

  5. Haruki's Cooking

    Spending four nights in Tokyo this August on an absolute shoestring, would it be feasible to spend all four in one of these places? I’ve not read about anyone doing more than one night… Just wondering is there a reason for that?

    • CheapoGreg

      It’s possible. We have a reader who stayed for a month in a capsule hotel! You have to understand that they’re cheap for a reason – they are cramped, sometimes smelly and there are rarely any windows. But, I’ve met plenty of people who spend multiple nights on a trip in a manga cafe. If you’re worried, work your way down to it 🙂 Stay somewhere nice and comfortable while you get your bearings, then head to a manga cafe. In August you should budget for two showers a day – most manga cafes have showers and towels for an extra charge.

      • Haruki's Cooking

        Cheers man, I’ll rough it so, will be grand!

  6. Joanne Chong

    Hi. I’m going to tokyo with my sixty five year old mom and 19 months old daughter, I was wondering if we could stay at the Internet cafe for a night since we arrive pretty late at nightand I’m hoping to be able to go to tsukiji Market the next day. Do the Internet cafes allow toddlers?

    • yojimbodual

      once, my girlfriend/ 6 month old daughter/me tried staying at a café for a few hours. but, they were worried she would cry and bother other guests and we had to leave. ended up at a karaoke bar which was actually very fun. had the baby make her noises into the microphone. but I wouldn’t bank on an internet café.

      • CheapoGreg

        Yes, internet cafes are definitely not for infants. I wouldn’t take children there either as they’re a bit unsavoury to be honest. I would really only recommend them for single adults or couples.


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