A place for otaku to nurture their “manga brain”.

Tokyo’s Jimbocho neighbourhood is known as the place to go for secondhand books. With well over a hundred used book stores in the area, Jimbocho is a dream destination for bookworms, and now it’s a dream destination for manga lovers too.

That’s because two “Manga Art Rooms” opened up on the 12th floor of Book Hotel Jimbocho on 1 September, and they’ve quickly become so popular it’s been difficult to secure a reservation.

▼ The Manga Art Rooms have kicked off with a tie-up collaboration with manga series Dandadan.

Our reporter Masanuki Sunakoma was unable to book a stay in a Manga Art Room due to their immense popularity, so he decided to try the next best thing — a sauna visit at the hotel during the daytime.

Before he hopped in the sauna, he asked staff if they would be able to let him peek into the special manga rooms, and they kindly obliged, first showing him the “Black Cave“…

▼ …and the White Cave.

▼ The “black” and “white” caves are a nod to the black-and-white world of manga.

According to the hotel’s blurb in Japanese, these two Manga Art Rooms, or “caves”, are designed to make guests feel as if they’re “drowning in works all night long”. In English, they have this to say:

“Welcome to the world of the Manga Brain.
In our hotel,
‘reality’ is strictly forbidden.
We want you to spend the entire night
absorbed in the world of the works.

It all starts with the room sauna ‘KUHAKU(blank space)’.
Everything interfering with your imagination
will be reset here.
Give your body, mind, time, and everything else.

Let’s go and fall in.
Into the deep, deep abyss of Manga.

Enter the blissful ‘MangaBrain’ experience,
where you can think of nothing but manga.”

That certainly is a poetic description for the Manga Art Rooms, which are currently adorned in art prints and large panels from Dandadan, making you feel as if you’re spending the night in a private manga museum.

There are also plenty of manga and DVDs in the room to keep you entertained throughout your stay.

The current Dandadan collaboration runs until 30 November, and guests who stay in the room during this period will be gifted with one free bookmark and one free coaster of their choosing.

Alas, Masanuki was unable to drown himself in manga in one of the special rooms, so he had to make do with drowning his sorrows in the sauna instead. Taking note of the hotel’s “‘reality’ is strictly forbidden” policy, he got in touch with his manga brain and opened the door to the sweat box.

As he took a seat to start his sweat session, Masanuki recalled the words of the hotel:

“It all starts with the room sauna ‘KUHAKU(blank space)’.
Everything interfering with your imagination
will be reset here.”

The dark walls really helped Masanuki to clear his mind and feel as if he were existing in blank space. He closed his eyes and shut out reality, allowing his manga brain to take over and whisk him away to a black-and-white environment where he was a celebrated hero and everything was finally right with the world.

Strangely, at the end of the sauna session, Masanuki felt more refreshed than ever before. Perhaps this shutting out of reality really does have the power to help you destress and let go of your worries, and when you think about it, that’s something manga essentially does for us as well.

Private sauna time comes included with overnight stays, which are priced between 15,000 yen (US$104.84) and 18,000 yen per person on weekdays, with each room accommodating up to five people. Masanuki highly recommends it to those who want to enjoy a “blissful manga brain experience”, and it’s not far from the Manga Art Hotel, which offers a similar escape from reality, only with cosy capsules instead of rooms.

Hotel Information

Book Hotel Jimbocho / Book Hotel 神保町
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Kanda Jimbocho 2-5-13

Images © SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]