So you read our list of reasons not to get an office in Japan, but you decided to get one anyway. Perhaps it’s because you’re on a self-sponsored work visa, and you need to provide a fixed office address without having to pay an extremely pricey rent. Or maybe you need that clear home/office separation and your own private space. Now what? A serviced office might be the best option for you. What’s that? This handy guide to Tokyo serviced offices will do the explaining.
Why Consider A Serviced Office?
Tokyo serviced offices are fully furnished office spaces; as such, they work on a pay-as-you-use basis. These offices can be quite small, having a capacity of about 1-5 people. Unlike co-working spaces, these are actual offices with doors, and not just shared desks. Here are the main reasons that make serviced offices ideal for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups:
They save you the trouble of spending on utilities, furniture and equipment, making it easy to immediately set up your business. Not only do you no longer have to look for utilities providers or take a small truck to IKEA, you also don’t have to worry about maintenance costs. Usually, the only additional costs you have to pay are telephone and Internet bills, as well as fees for the use of conference rooms. This makes monthly payments higher than those of typical offices, but considering what’s included in your rent, you’re already getting a good deal.
Unlike typical office spaces, which are leased for about 5 years, serviced offices offer short-term leases for (depending on provider) 1, 3, 6, or 12 months. Serviced offices are thus extremely advantageous in Tokyo, where the office rental market often demands an advanced payment of a year’s worth of rent, and, at times, an additional payment called key money, which is a non-refundable “deposit” equivalent to 6 months of rent. Flexibility makes serviced offices great for short-term projects and those who eventually want to relocate. It also gives companies more freedom to expand or downsize.
Serviced Office Providers in Tokyo
“Great! So where do I sign up, and how?” you ask. You could start with any of these options, all of which have English-speaking staff. Most providers (except for the extremely cheap ones) have shared lounge/kitchen spaces, which are great for the occasional coffee break or some socialization. Working in a one or two person office can be lonely, after all.
While signing up for a lease can be burdensome, it’s not really any more of a bother than other contracts in Japan. You’ll need a certificate of company registration (toukibo touhon, 登記簿謄本) and the company’s certificate of seal impression (inkan shoumeisho, 印鑑証明書), both of which you can get from a nearby Ministry of Justice office.
Compass is an international provider of serviced offices, co-working spaces, and virtual offices that originates in Hong Kong.
Compass has two locations in Tokyo: one right in front of Meguro Station, which has offices from 52,000 yen plus tax a month, and another, with private offices from 72,000 yen plus tax a month, atop Kamiyacho Station in Toranomon.
The Meguro location is spread over multiple floors with office sizes ranging from 1 person offices up to an office that can accommodate about 10 people. Another feature of the Meguro location is the “Habitat” co-working space which for a little extra provides facilities such as a kitchen, cafe seating, a pool table and a gym.
|Pricing info:||From 52,000yen/month + tax|
Another super cheap option for a shoe box sized serviced office is Biz Circle. Biz Circle has offices in fashionable locations such as Shinjuku and Aoyama as well as offices in extremely unfashionable locations like Umibe in Koto ward and Nagahara in Ota ward. If you are just looking for a fixed office for visa purposes then the remote location might not be an issue. Biz Circle has offices in Shinjuku measuring a staggeringly small 1.7 square meters for 30,000yen/month while a 3.3 square meter office in Umibe will set you back 28,350yen/month.
|Pricing info:||From 28,350 yen/month (1 person office)|
|Locations:||Shinjuku, Komagome, Minami-Aoyama, Aobadai, Nishi-ogi Minami, Umibe, Nagahara|
In addition to those listed above are the two well known international brands – Regus and Servcorp. The main advantage of each is that they are used to dealing with international clientele.
Regus has locations all over Tokyo, covering the main business districts such as Otemachi, Shinjuku, Akasaka, Ginza, Roppongi, and Marunouchi. Although they’re cagey about their prices, a friend of Tokyo Cheapo rented a 2 person office at their Aoyama Place Canada location for 180,000yen/month. In addition to rent there may be extra fees for use of the kitchen, internet and telephone that may add an extra 20,000 or more per person.
Servcorp’s offices have receptionists to take your calls, as well as access to AV equipment and meeting rooms. Their offices are also located in major districts such as Shinagawa and Omotesando.
Watch this next
New Video: A Beginner's Guide to Akihabara
Ready to experience Japan's Otaku ground zero? Anime, gaming, maid cafes, get your bearings amongst the weird and wonderful.