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November 30, 2016

Tokyo Book Tour

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In this digital age, people are rediscovering the joy of visiting a physical bookstore. Tokyo might have more bookstores than any city in the world, and this time we look at some of the best ones.

Highlights

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Subun-so Bookstore Established in 1914, this used-book store sells Western books in several languages. The first floor is mainly academic texts, and upstairs sells rare books from the 17th to early 20th century. It has many valuable books you won't find in a regular store such as first editions of famous Western European authors and Meiji Period books aimed at foreign buyers.

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Chekccori A book store and café specializing in South Korea that opened in 2015. Its main focus is new publications from South Korea. The café serves traditional Korean tea, sweets, and alcohol in the evenings. Author discussions and talks are held for readers.

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Uchiyama Bookstore Opened in Shanghai in 1917, it specializes in Chinese books, and books about China written in Japanese. It also has books about the rest of Asia. Founder Kanzo Uchiyama was a friend of Chinese literary star Lu Xun.

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Photobooks Diner Megutama A diner with five thousand photobooks. Enjoy a meal while flipping through rare photo collections. Foreign tourists now visit to see Japanese photobooks. The meals focus on healthy home cooking.

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Mori no Toshoshitsu (Forest Library) A crowd-funded library that opened in 2014. A casual space to enjoy music, a drink, and a good book, it's now popular as an evening social spot for book lovers. Visitors are charged 500 yen.

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Shojo Manga-kan A private library that specializes in shojo manga. Run by a married couple, it has valuable Meiji-era shojo manga magazines and modern manga books. It includes the owners' personal collection and donations, and is free to the public. Only open on Saturdays, visitors must book online.

Further Info

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1) Subun-so Bookstore
Address: 3-3 Kanda-ogawamachi, Chiyoda-ku
2) Chekccori
Address: 3F Sankodo Bldg., 1-7-3 Kanda-jinbocho, Chiyoda-ku
3) Uchiyama Bookstore
Address: 1-15 Kanda-jinbocho, Chiyoda-ku
4) Photobooks Diner Megutama
Address: Higashi 3-2-7, Shibuya-ku
5) Mori no Toshoshitsu (Forest Library)
Address: 3F Ogiwara Bldg., 5-3 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku
6) Shojo Manga-kan
Address: 155-5 Ajiro, Akiruno-shi

Others

Jinbocho Information Center: Book and Neighborhood Guide
Address: 1-34 Kanda-jinbocho, Chiyoda-ku
Ohya Shobo
Address: 1-1 Kanda-jinbocho, Chiyoda-ku
Librairie 6
Address: 3F Minami Bldg., 1-12-2 Ebisu-minami, Shibuya-ku
Tachikawa Manga Park
Address: 3-2-26 Nishiki-cho, Tachikawa-shi
Junkudo Bookstore Ikebukuro Honten
Address: 2-15-5 Minami-ikebukuro, Toshima-ku
Books Kinokuniya Tokyo
Address: 6F Times Square Annex, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku

Reporters

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Winnie Hsu

Nationality:
Taiwanese
Occupation:
Student
When did you first come to Japan?:
October 2013
Reason for coming to Japan:
I have been interested in Japanese culture as well as the delicate and cute Japanese goods since I was a kid. Therefore, when I came across the opportunity to study in Japanese colleges, I did not have a slight hesitation! Arriving in Tokyo by myself at the age of 18, I embarked a great journey from then. My decision to come to Japan is probably my best decision so far! I am truly in love with the city, and embracing the everyday challenges and excitement. And I want to share with more people the wonderful things in Tokyo.
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Kyle McLain

Nationality:
American
Occupation:
Corporate Employee
When did you first come to Japan?:
First visited Japan in 2004, started living in Japan in 2005.
Reason for coming to Japan:
Ever since I got my first Japanese video game console when I was 5 years old, I grew up fascinated with Japanese culture. While my interest in Japan started with Japanese video games, the more I learned about Japan, such as classic Japanese movies, literature, and Japanese fashion, the more interested in Japan I became. I first visited Japan in 2004, and immediately fell in love with the country, and moved here less than a year later in 2005. I'm just as fascinated with Japanese culture now as I was the day I arrived.