And if you’re a traveler or a local with a full load of laundry to do, there’s no more relaxing way to get it done.

Back when I was a bachelor, I spent several years living in an apartment that was so small it had no place for a washing machine. Fortunately, there was a laundromat about five minutes away by foot, but unfortunately, it wasn’t exactly a comfortable place to kill time. Aside from a couple of washing machines and dryers, there was a bench and a small wire-frame table that usually had two or three month-old tabloids or manga anthologies to flip through, provided someone hadn’t taken them home to ogle the swimsuit model photos spreads at home. There was no heating or air-conditioning, making the place sweltering in mid-summer and freezing in winter.

Now, however, a couple of laundromats in Tokyo are looking to make a trip to a public laundry facility not just less unpleasant, but actually enjoyable, by also running stylish cafes on the premises.

Okulab, the company behind Baluko Laundry Place, manages a half-dozen laundromats in Tokyo. The newest branch, pictured here, just opened up last week in the posh Mitaka neighborhood (the same part of town where you’ll find the Studio Ghibli anime museum).

In addition to self-use washing machines, Baluko also offers staff-performed laundry and dry-cleaning services. As you kill time, you can sip a cup of drip coffee or another hot drink served in the cafe, or munch on muffins or hot dogs.

Meanwhile, across town at Kissa Laundry in the Ryogoku neighborhood, the interior appointments are even swankier.

Like Baluko, Kissa Laundry also serves coffee, tea, and light fare such as toast.

▼ But, like, fancy toast

And while laundromats are generally called “coin laundries” in Japan, you don’t need to feed any 100-yen pieces into Kissa Laundry’s machines. Instead, you ask an employee for a machine to use, adding a human touch to the process.

Both laundromats also have free Wi-Fi, so that mobile professionals can get some work done as they wait, or cultured types can browse the Internet for intellectually stimulating reading material to improve their minds as they clean their clothes.

So whether you’re swamped with work that needs to get done or simply want to relax, there’s now a way to do either one without ignoring your full hamper of dirty T-shirts.

Laundromat information
Baluko Laundry Place (Mitaka branch) / バルコランドリープレース(三鷹店)
Address: Tokyo-to, Mitaka-shi, Shimorenjaku 3-33-8
Open 24 hours (cafe open 9 a.m.-9 p.m.)

Kissa Laundry / 喫茶ランドリー
Address: Tokyo-to, Sumida-ku, Chitose 2-6-9 Imaken Building
Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Sources: PR Times (1, 2)
Top image: PR Times
Insert images: PR Times (1, 2)
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