In the simplest terms, Musashino Place is a library. In reality, though, it is so much more. Musashino Place is a gem of a building located across from the Musashi Sakai station of the Chuo Line.

I call it a gem of a building because it has been hailed by newspapers for its unique “open” architectural style. That “open” feel probably stems from the fact that the few walls they actually have are only made out of glass, and the outside of the building is covered in enormous, oval windows that overlook a park, a small boutique street, a Zen Temple, and a side street, respectively.  Regardless of the floor, it fosters a safe, comforting feeling for people of all ages. The dark, fluffy sofa chairs next to each gigantic window are always occupied by elderly people or teenagers doing homework, aspiring writers, or folks that are people watching.

Musashino Place has four floors and three basements, totally seven different themed locations, so an easily distracted worker can never get bored; each floor has a unique purpose and distinctive color scheme. My favorite is the lime green children’s floor (the second floor).

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Simply put, Musashino Place is an ideal place to relax, study, or meet with friends or students. I’ve taught one-on-one English lessons here before (when I don’t feel like meeting at the usual Starbucks and paying for delicious, but expensive, coffee), and I often meet up with classmates to work on a project at Musashino Place.

A quick breakdown of the floors is as follows.

4F – Not an ideal study place, but can work. The fourth floor is the “business” floor, devoted to a series of large conference rooms and an outdoor terrace that is gorgeous in the summer.

3F – The Third floor is the most “lively” of the study places and lets clubs or people rent out small rooms to meet in. Last time I was there, I awkwardly watched a calligraphy lesson in one room and an old ladies flower arrangement group judging each other’s creations in the next. If you’re teaching English to a group, it is easy to rent out one of these rooms (I find it awkward to meet at the usual Starbucks if there is more than one student).

2F – The Second floor is arguably my second favorite floor. It is filled with children’s and young adults books. I occasionally see other foreigners camped out on this floor at one of the small, wooden desks with a stack of children’s picture books and an electronic dictionary. There are also comfortable sofa chairs seated facing the window; I often see elderly people gazing out the enormous, open window at the giant round park outside of Musashino Place.

Photo by Grace Buchele Mineta

1F – The first floor is a typical first floor. They have nearly every current periodical (including some in English or other languages), a nice – but slightly pricey – café that serves delicious cakes, and several desks scattered around.

B1 – The first basement is where all the “other” books are kept. It is pretty straightforward and very quiet.

B2 – The second basement is one of the most famous aspects of Musashino Place: a recording studio (for teens or young adults). Most of the Japanese people I’ve met were, at one time, a musician. Or they wanted to be a musician. Or their best friend was a musician and they went to their live performances in small bars or on the side of the street near Shinjuku.

In any case, Musashino Place is famous because it gives a  soundproof studio for kids to practice.

They ask that you be quiet while on the basement floors | Photo by Grace Buchele Mineta

Outside of the practice rooms are the typical collection of wooden desks to study at. The catch is that only people 18 years or younger are allowed on this floor. No one ever checks – especially if you are foreign.

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B3 – is a parking garage. It is usually full, though.

Musashino Place makes a great study spot, it is easy to meet for English lessons (if you are teaching English on the side), and can work as an impromptu, cheap date spot (in a pinch). Most of all, it is a safe building that you can relax in for an afternoon.

Photo by Grace Buchele Mineta
Name:Musashino Place (武蔵野プレイス)
Location:Kyonancho 2-3-18, Musashino City, Tokyo
1 Minute walk from the South Exit of Musashisakai Station on the Chuo Line
Web:Official site
Business hours:9:30AM – 10:00PM.
Closed every Wednesday, every third Friday, and national holidays.
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