Are you on the hunt for some good reading material but wondering where to find something in your native language in the middle of Tokyo? Have you ever stepped into a Japanese bookstore and been overwhelmed by the selection of all Japanese books? Thankfully, for all of us who may not read Japanese, there are quite a few places where books can be found in a variety of other languages. Here are a few of the best options to get English books in Tokyo. You can also find English books on Amazon Japan.
If you are wondering how to borrow books from a Japanese library, please read our article “How to borrow books from a public library in Tokyo”.
If you’ve been living in Tokyo for a while, but haven’t visited one of the many Kinokuniyas that offer a foreign language book section, then you’re in for a treat. There are several branches in Tokyo that have a large selection of books in English as well as a smaller catalogue in a few other languages. You will find everything from best-selling novels to the latest children’s books from abroad and everything in between. Some are even large enough that they include coffee shops where you can sit and browse a good read while enjoying a tasty beverage while you read. You can find stores on Kinokuniya’s website.
Shinjuku Main Store and Annex
Address: 3-17-7 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Books Kinokuniya Tokyo Foreign Language Bookstore (Shinjuku Takashimaya)
Address: Takashimaya Times Square South Building 6th floor, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Address: Seibu Shibuya 1F, 21-1 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Tsutaya Daikanyama has the theme of A Library in the Woods. Not only that they have great range of books but they also have movies, music, vintage magazines (30,000 issues), travel desk, stationery, salon lounge and cafe. It’s definitely worth a visit if you love books.
Address: 17-5 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Tsutaya Roppongi has great range of books and about 45,000 magazines from Japan and other countries. It also has a cafe on the 1st floor.
Address: Roppongi Hills Roppongi Keyaki zaka Dori, 6-11-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Aoyama Book Center is located near Omotesando station. They have books about culture, Japanese art, photography, design, illustration, architecture and advertising etc.
Address: Roppongi Denki Building 1F, 6-1-20 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Maruzen Marunouchi is situated near Tokyo Station and their 4 floors are filled with books.
Address: Marunouchi Oozo 1F-4F, 1-4 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Kitazawa Bookstore offers foreign second hand books and rare historical books. This store was founded in 1902, situated in Jimbocho where you can find a lot of second hand bookstores. They stock about 12,000 books and mostly they are in English.
Address: 2-5 Kanda-Jimbocho Chiyodaku Tokyo
Ohya Shobo offers Japanese history, geography, literature, fine arts, foreign language text books, science, medicine, illustrated books, comics by Hokusai etc. Antique books, maps and Ukiyo-e prints are from Edo period. It’s worth a visit if you are interested in Japanese antique books or the culture around Edo era.
Address: 1-1 Kandajinbocho, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo
BOOK OFF offers second hand books at very reasonable prices. Some Book Off stores offer other goods for instance, CDs, DVDs, Video Games, Smart Phones, PC, Electronics etc. Below are major Book Off stores in Tokyo, you can also check more stores on the list of their shops in English.
Cow Books is located 7 minutes away from Nakameguro station, the books focus on 1960s – 80s social movements. Other books focus on progressive politics, protest, the Best Generation, and first editions of forgotten modern authors.
Address: 1-14-11 Aobadai, Meguro-ku Tokyo
Lastly, for a slightly different take on how to get access to those reading materials, may we offer up the idea of an e-reader as a method for getting your daily dose for the written word. Whether you like e-ink or fully digital screens, Sony or Kindle or anything in between, e-readers may not ever replace books, but they are surely a convenient way to get whatever type of literature you want to get your hands on in a convenient, portable form. There is no end of content, e-books, or whatever subscription you have in mind. Best of all, e-books come in every language that’s ever been written.
And, an e-reader easily fits in any bag, briefcase, or even a pocket, so it can be pulled out on the train or bus, or even when you’re just sitting on a park bench in Yoyogi enjoying some later afternoon sun. Can you say convenient?
If you’re craving a good read in Tokyo, these suggestions should get you started on where to look. If these fail you, you can also consider places like Amazon Japan or other online shopping sites if you need something specialized that can’t be found in one of the above bookstores.
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