The Japanese are great readers. In the land of the Rising Sun, newspapers are reaching circulation records. The same goes for manga, eaten by people of all ages. Literature and classics are also making a place for themselves in the consumption of writings, as can be seen from the magnificent bookstores located all over the country! Here are our top 3 bookstores in Japan:

Kinokuniya bookstore

bookstore shinjuklu tokyo kinokunya japanese books

It is impossible to be interested in bookstores in Japan without mentioning Kinokuniya. With some 64 branches across the country and more than 26 around the world, it is one of the world’s most important booksellers. Most people come to leaf through or start reading (tachiyomi) their favorite magazine before going to the cash register. It is not always easy to make your way through the shelves.

The first floor is that of literature. Fans of economics and social sciences meet on the second floor. On the upper floor, books on science and architecture. Medicine occupies the fourth. On the fifth floor, children are the kings with a very wide range of books intended for them. The top floor of the building is full of reference books. It is a pleasure to wander among all these works and to discover the efforts that the staff make to show them off.

Tsutaya Daikanyama bookstore

bookstore in Tokyo books Japan

The first Tsutaya bookstore opened in 1983 in the Hirakata district of Osaka. Considered as an out of the ordinary bookstore, Tsutaya Books brings a new concept of lifestyle navigation much appreciated in Japan. Today the country has 1,400 stores. At Daikanyama Tsutaya Books, finding what you want is extremely easy. Indeed, the bookstore offers a varied range of books, films, CDs and magazines of all kinds, Japanese and international, modern or vintage:

  • Books: the titles are classified into 6 specialized categories, grouping together Japanese or Western works, recent or old: cooking, travel, cars and motorcycles, architecture and design, art, human sciences and literature.
  • Films: a very complete selection is offered. Movies can be rented or purchased.
  • Music: this section presents an unrivaled musical choice, ranging from jazz to pop, classical and rock from the 1960s to 1980s. Tsutaya Books have around 120,000 different albums and you can listen to them all on place while sipping coffee, or else buying them, of course!
    Magazines: the bookstore offers 30,000 different publications, Japanese and international, in the lounge, where we have the opportunity to snack and drink something (coffee, alcoholic drink, menu).

Kodomo no honya bookstore

Japanese children's bookstore kodomo honya Japanese children's books

Sometimes the best places in the capital are far removed from the busiest areas. And to discover them, it is sometimes a treasure hunt. Kodomo no honya belongs to this category of places… If you have children, take them to this magical place dedicated to children’s literature, they will love it!

Getting to this small bookstore specializing in children’s books is not as difficult even if it requires taking the train to the western part of town in the Asagaya district. When entering the store, the wooden shelves and the shimmering colors of the tidy books give an impression of warmth that makes you feel right at home right away. In the middle of the room, sits a table where other books are arranged while the walls are decorated with drawings and hand-made decorations hang from the ceiling.

It gives off an atmosphere of a playroom even if the children have little space to play. In fact, the bookstore is only 17 square meters. But make no mistake, its small size does not prevent Kodomo non honya from offering some 1500 references! By the way, children’s books aren’t just for kids – they’re great for all beginners learning a language who need simple, large-print texts to practice reading, think about it!

Photo 1: Vanya R.Photo 2: Martti Tulenheimo
Photo 3: sharyn morrow

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