An old building in Jimbocho Book Town has been converted into a multi-use share space. Osaka-based construction company, Keyman Inc., took a 50-year old building with a GFA of 288m2 and carried out earthquake retrofitting and upgrades. And they didn’t do it alone – they worked with Souzou Kei Fudosan for consulting and Aki Watanabe Architects for design.

To create some community involvement and hype around the project, they opened the ground floor space up for various exhibitors for two months late last year, before construction kicked off. There were 30+ exhibits over this span and 1,200 people attended. They also surveyed neighbors to find out what would be an ideal restaurant to have once renovations were complete.

The 2nd floor has an unstaffed co-working space. Since there are a number of universities and specialist colleges nearby, students receive a discounted rate.

One challenge was that the 5-story building is a walk up and has no space to install elevators. This would limit the viability of office space on higher floors, so co-living was the choice for floors 3 to 5. Jimbocho and Kanda surrounds have plenty of co-working spaces but Jimbocho itself had almost no share houses.

Nine private rooms and a communal living space were created, with monthly rents ranging from 93,000 ~ 95,000 Yen (US$640 ~ 650). The space is operated by Borderless House, a student and foreigner-friendly share house operator. The sharehouse is already fully booked and half of the tenants are foreigners.

Keyman Inc. Press Release, June 16, 2023.
Kenbiya, July 24, 2023.