If you are a traveler who reads a book while waiting for your flight or someone who simply wants to learn about the literature of the country you’re going to, you’ll love what Japan has in store for you. Japanese bookstores sell not only books but also all types of media, stationery, crafts, manuscripts, guides, and even woodblock-printed books.
Is your bookworm heart ready? From sophisticated literary hideaways to second-hand bookstores, here are eight must-visit bookshops in Tokyo:
One of the highly visited bookstores in Tokyo is Kinokuniya, known for its best sellers and spacious interior. Its main store has eight floors filled with books, comics, stationery, magazines, and audio-visual materials. You can also find manga and DVDs in a separate building and foreign language books on the south side branch.
7 17, 3-chōme, Shinjuku Shinjuku City, Tōkyō-to, 163-8636, Japan
10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Hailed as one of “The 20 Most Beautiful Bookstores in the World”, Daikanyama T-Site is more than just a bookstore in Tokyo. Its design is associated with the theme of “A Library in the Woods.” The structure connects three building wings, with six book departments. The bookshop features both Japanese and Western titles. Aside from books, Daikanyama T-Site has movies and music departments as well as a section for vintage publications. The complex also houses a café space, a specialty store for battery-power assisted bicycles, and a play area for kids.
Daikanyama T-Site, 17-5, Sarugaku-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
7:00 AM – 2:00 AM
Founded in 1869, Maruzen Bookstore has varied types of books displayed on the shelves, such as memoirs, novels, travel guides, children’s books, and non-fiction books on business, fashion, art, and self-help. Manga fans will enjoy the section featuring English translations of popular manga. Guests can also find the Maruzen Café on the third floor, a collection of fountain pens in the basement, and a fine arts and crafts in a gallery. At the World Antiquarian Book Plaza annexed to the bookstore, you will be impressed with the antiquarian books from around the world.
2 Chome-3-10 Nihonbashi, Chuo City, Tokyo 103-0027, Japan
9:30 AM – 8:30 PM
Kitazawa Bookstore is one of the most popular bookstores in Tokyo because of its magnificent rows of used academic books. A secondhand English-language bookstore, Kitazawa Bookstore keeps several paperback novels and books on religion, philosophy, folklore, religion, and international relations. The bookshop’s titles come from the nearby universities, but the books are well maintained and in good condition. There’s also a small selection of German and French books scattered between the packed shelves. Kitazawa opened in 1902, and now houses used books on English and American literature and humanities.
Kitazawa Building 2F, 2-5, Kanda, Jinbocho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Weekdays: 11 AM – 6:30 PM; 12 PM – 5:30 PM on Saturday (closed on Sundays and holidays)
Infinity Books and Event Space
Thousands of English books are displayed at this secondhand bookstore in Tokyo. Infinity Books and Event Space is open to exchanging pre-loved books. Foreign magazines like Forbes, Playboy, and National Geographic are available here. The space also hosts poetry, live readings, music, and charity events. You will come across a section that promotes Japanese literature, displaying English translations of Japanese writers.
1-2-4 Azumabashi, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
11 AM -11 PM. (until 9 PM on Sundays and closed on Mondays)
The Isseido Booksellers
Among the most comprehensive bookstores in Tokyo is the Isseido Booksellers. This old bookstore features second-hand and antique books on foreign languages, fine arts, sociology, and archaeology. Books in the English language and other foreign languages can also be found here. You may also appreciate the collections of manuscripts and woodblock-printed books.
7 1, 1-chōme, Kanda Jinbōchō Chiyoda City, Tōkyō-to, 101-0051, Japan
Monday to Saturday: 10:00 AM to 6:30 PM
Yaesu Book Center
Another major bookstore in Tokyo is Yaesu Book Center, home to titles on politics, science, economics, philosophy, information technology, and business. Guests can also find language books and translations here. There is also a café inside the bookstore where bookworms can unwind with a book and a cup of coffee.
2 Chome-5-1 Yaesu, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-8456, Japan
Monday to Saturday: 10 AM – 9 PM
Sunday: 10 AM – 8 PM
Known as the largest bookstore in Tokyo, Junkudo Ikebukuro is home to various magazines, bestsellers, children’s books, and classics. Books in the English language are displayed on an entire floor. Book lovers will also appreciate the chairs available on every floor for reading. Guests can also drink coffee and eat meals at the café inside the building.
2 Chome-15-5 Minamiikebukuro, Toshima City, Tokyo 171-0022, Japan
10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
*Featured image from Kitazawa Books on Instagram