With people teleworking during the pandemic, the demand for quiet office spaces has grown, giving birth to unique working environments on Ferris Wheels and inside sento bathhouses.
Now, we’ve found another unique place to park your butt and your laptop, and this time it’s onboard a retro Japanese train.
Our reporter Masanuki Sunakoma was keen to get some work done on the train, so he headed out to Miyazakidai Station on the Tokyu Denentoshi Line, where the office space is located.
Just under the overpass in front of the station is the Denbus Train and Bus Museum, and this is where the shared office space was waiting to greet Masanuki, inside Building B.
To use the Denbus workspace, however, Masanuki needed to complete a four-step process that involved downloading the Suup app, registering his details, checking in via the app, and then checking out again once he’d finished using the office.
It was a bit of a hassle to fiddle around with the app but it turned out to be worth it, because it allows the area to be unstaffed, which is good for both these socially distanced times, and for keeping costs low.
▼ It costs just 200 yen per hour or 1,000 yen per day to use the office space.
After holding the app over the automatic ticket gates, Masanuki felt as if he were entering a train station, and looking to his right, he saw a signboard with pseudo departure times, and then there it was — the beautiful train.
Stepping aboard the carriage, our reporter found himself surrounded by gorgeous wood panels, warm round lights, and plush green seating that immediately took him back to a bygone era.
▼ It reminded him of the train scene with Sen and No Face from the Studio Ghibli film "Spirited Away."
Masanuki was surprised to find he had the whole carriage to himself, although he figured this was probably due to it being a Saturday.
The train that’s now a shared office is the “Moha 510”, which was manufactured in 1931 and active on the Tokyu Lines for about 60 years until its retirement in 1989.
The museum that houses the carriage was closed from February 2020 to May 2021 due to the pandemic, and the new unstaffed office space setup was created during this time, opening to the public in August 2020.
Each workspace is equipped with an electrical outlet and there’s Wi-Fi access throughout the train. As an added bonus, those using the space are able to get a 30-percent discount on takeout drinks at the nearby branch of the Tully’s Coffee chain.
And of course, those using the space are free to gaze at all the fascinating historic details on the train, which includes old rail maps and the staff cabin.
Masanuki sat down and tried to work, but…he found it hard to tear his eyes away from his surroundings. It was an unusual setting with a good setup – the seat was firm yet comfortable, the desks were well made, and if it were close to his place, he’d be using it every day.
The 200-yen hourly fee doesn’t just get you a spot on the stationary train, as you also get to use the camp-like outdoor area set up inside the building.
And there’s a break corner where you can eat, a driving simulator for kids, and a copy area for printing as well.
When you’re ready to clock out and go home for the day, simply hold the app over the automatic ticket gates again, which will scan the QR code and check you out.
It’s a fantastic place for rail enthusiasts to soak up the atmosphere of an old-time train journey while working for the day, and it’s a great place to surprise your colleagues during video call meetings too.
TSO DENBUS workspace (Train and Bus Museum Building B) / TSO DENBUSワークスペース（電車とバスの博物館Ｂ棟）
Address: Kanagawa-ken, Kawasaki-shi, Miyamae-ku, Miyazaki 2-10-12
Open: 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Closed Thursdays.
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