A Must Read for Book Lovers! The 5 Best-Stocked Book Shops in Tokyo
Large bookstores can be really convenient for getting some useful information for your travels or for when you want to pick up a book to read in your native language while in transit. This article introduces five well-stocked book stores in the capital city of Tokyo that also act as centers for the spreading of Japanese culture.
1. GINZA TSUTAYA BOOKS
GINZA TSUTAYA BOOKS is located on the 6th floor of Ginza Six, the largest commercial building in the Ginza area. This book shop is based around the concept phrase "Live Close to Art" and boasts a collection 60,000 books from around the globe, most of which are about art. This store is not just home to books but also offers the opportunity to get close to Japanese culture. It houses a Japanese katana exhibition, maki-e (a type of lacquer painting sprinkled with gold, silver, tin and other colored powder), a stationary section that sells stationary imbued with traditional Japanese craftsmanship, and an event space surrounded by 6m tall book shelves with a Japanese turret motif reminiscent of traditional architecture. In the adjoining cafe you can read books before you buy them and have the opportunity to peruse some art magazines that you would be hard pressed to find whether in Japan or abroad.
2. DAIKANYAMA T-SITE
DAIKANYAMA T-SITE opened in December 2011 on the site of the mansion of the Mito-Tokugawa family. This store is home to a curated selection of Japanese and Western books, including vintage books, and contains the largest selection of magazines in the Tokyo area. In "Magazine Street" you can find magazines from all over the world divided into their own specialist genre based sections such as "Culture and Literature", "Art", "Architecture", "Cars," and "Cuisine." This charming space will stimulate the senses of visitors and pique their intellectual curiosity. In the same building you can also find a shopping area containing a bike store, a toy store, and restaurants, allowing visitors to enjoy other types of shopping, leisurely strolls, and a bite to eat.
3. Kinokuniya Shinjuku Main Store
Kinokuniya was established in 1927 on Shinjuku Street. The current main branch in Shinjuku is a fully comprehensive book store that boasts a floor space of approximately 4,960 sq.m., the largest in the country. It is fully stocked with approximately 1.2 million books. The main building stretches from the basement floor to the 8th floor and the annex houses manga and DVDs, with each floor separated by genre. Western books are sold on the 1st floor. They also offer tax exemption services. The first floor also houses a Japanese tea shop "Kinochaya," so how about relaxing with some Japanese tea and traditional sweets when you are finished shopping? It is connected to Shinjuku Station directly via an underground tunnel, so getting there is a breeze.
4. Maruzen - Marunouchi Main Branch
Maruzen is a large book store that takes up the 1st through 4th floors of the Marunouchi OAZO retail building, which is itself located at the North Exit of Tokyo Station. The Western book section takes up over half of the 4th floor and is replete with a collection of over 120,000 books. One selling point of this section is the specially curated selection of books containing basic information about Japan culture, the crafts, and travel tips. The store is also home to a number of other facilities for your enjoyment, such as an exhibition space that was designed around the concept of a "Book Museum", a section selling stationary and other goods and trinkets, as well as a cafe where you can taste the original Hayashi Rice (a type of Western-style beef stew accompanied with rice).
5. Junkudo Book Store Ikebukuro
If you are going to Ikebukuro, you will want to pay this store a visit. From the basement level to the 9th floor, this whole tower is occupied by the book store, with manga, magazines, and specialist books completing this rich collection of products. There is also a large Western book section, perfect for finding that perfect novel to accompany you on your travels. Chairs and tables have been installed throughout the store, meaning you can carefully scrutinize each book. There is also a cafe-style space where you can read your books immediately after buying them. You will feel so relaxed in this space that you won't want to leave!
There are more than just books to enjoy at Tokyo's bookstores, so make sure to stop by if you have the chance.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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