The cluster of universities surrounding Jimbocho spiked the demand for books in the area, and Tokyo’s Book Town is now home to nearly 200 bookstores. Check out the events, stores and things to see in this book lover’s paradise.
Takizawa Bakin was an Edo Era novelist, best known for his Nansō Satomi Hakkenden (Chronicles of Eight Dogs). The story was written over a period of 28 years and filled 106 volumes. The remains of the well that serviced his home in Chuo Ward over two hundred years ago still stands there today, and is now designated a Historic Site.
Sanseido’s flagship bookstore proudly stands in Jimbocho and is a landmark of the area. The shop also carries lifestyle goods for anyone who likes to curl up with a good read. Find English language books on the fifth floor. Open from 10 AM to 8 PM daily.
@Wonder specializes in used and secondhand books. Their spacious second floor cafe has become a favorite place to relax, read or get some work done. Open from 11 AM to 7 PM daily and 6 PM on Sundays.
The Paper Press Cafe is located inside Toyodo Books, a stylish, modern bookstore stocking everything from maps and magazines to novels and textbooks, including English language books. Their cafe is the perfect place to get to work on your latest purchases, and coffee comes with free refills.
Komiyama Book Store is known for its large selection of artistic, historical and cultural books. So it’s no wonder the place is home to its own private gallery on the upper floors. Art exhibits are regularly rotated to keep things fresh, and many items on display are also for sale. Check out their “book garage sale” called Komikare held every weekend. Open from 11 AM to 6:30 PM daily.
The Chiyoda Public Library is a large building to the west of Jimbocho Station. Every month or so a special bookshop is set up on the 9th floor, selling different old books. Non-residents are welcome to browse and use the desks but you’ll need a library card if you want to borrow. Open from 10 AM to 10 PM daily and closed on Sundays.
When the Anegawas decided to create a cat themed literary oasis in their struggling bookshop, they had no idea how popular it would become. Known as Nyankodo (Little Meow Shop), the kitty themed shop within a shop, even has its own resident feline mascot, Rikuo. A must for any cat lovers making their way through Jimbocho.
The city’s largest book fair takes place in Jimbocho in late October or early November each year. There are musical performances, snack vendors, charity auctions, meet and greets with authors and most importantly, plenty of books. Nearly every shop sets out a stall selling an endless supply of used, rare or vintage books. The Kanda Used Book Festival is one of the largest secondhand book fairs in the world.