12 Beautiful Libraries & Bookstores to Visit Around Asia

12 Beautiful Libraries & Bookstores to Visit Around Asia

They say print is dead, but we beg to differ.

Books upon books upon books — it’s every bibliophile’s dream. They say print is dead, but I beg to differ. There will never (never!) be anything like the smell and feel of a book in my hands. As a travelling book lover, I’ll be honest. If I had to choose, I’d skip the museums and popular tourist spots. Take me to the most beautiful libraries and bookstores around Asia, and I’ll be the happiest girl in the world.

On any of my travels, it seems that every library or bookstore I see just calls out to me. And yes, this applies whether or not the establishment has any English titles! I don’t know if any of you can relate, but I just feel the need to browse through the shelves, gaze at every title, and make sure I’m not missing out on anything good. There’s something comforting about being surrounded by books, and I find that it’s even more inspiring when they’re presented beautifully.

Below, I share a list of beautiful bookstores and libraries around Asia — a bibliophile’s bucket list, if you will. Check them out, and perhaps you’ll be inspired to visit them yourselves!

Also read: 10 Bucket-List Libraries You Must Visit Once in Your Lifetime


1. [email protected]

beautiful libaries: library@orchard, singapore

Image credit: Lorenz Namalata

An ultra-modern library built specifically for lovers of design, [email protected] is one of Singapore’s gems. Not only is it pretty to look at (they even have an entire magazine wall!), this innovative establishment is actually the city’s very first lifestyle library.

“Design is for everyone” is their philosophy, and it’s something I find absolutely refreshing. With a collection of over 45,000 titles, this library is geared towards anyone with an interest in design — from professionals to those who are simply curious about the topic. This chic library definitely gets plus points for being inclusive!

Address: 277 Orchard Road, Orchard Gateway, #03-12/#04-11, Singapore 238858

Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11am to 9pm

2. BooksActually

If cosy, eclectic spaces are your kind of thing, then you’re bound to fall in love with BooksActually. Its name is actually a shortened version of their tagline, “Books actually worth buying” — something they make sure to live up to.

Here, you’ll find titles of about any genre you can think of: history, science, travel, music, film… you name it! Among BooksActually’s fiction collection are unique titles by popular authors like Murakami, Salinger, and Capote. To add to the mix, this quaint bookstore also sells a selection of trinkets, both literary-themed and otherwise. It’s a nice place to shop for knick-knacks and souvenirs!

Address: 9 Yong Siak St., Singapore 168645

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 9am to 7pm; Sunday to Monday, 9am to 6pm


3. Starfield Library

beautiful libraries: starfield library, seoul

Image credit: Celine Barreiro

At the centre of Seoul’s COEX Mall, you’ll find one of Korea’s most popular sites: the Starfield Library. Truly one of Asia’s (and the world’s!) most beautiful libraries, it’s best known for its giant bookshelf, which towers at a whopping 13 metres.

Image credit: Margarita Pastor

The Starfield Library is home to over 50,000 books and magazines, though as you might expect, most of these are written in Korean. But to make up for this, there are actually entire sections dedicated to foreign titles and internationally acclaimed authors. Adding to its cool factor is its generous selection of e-books, which visitors are welcome to browse through with their available iPads.

A popular spot frequented by both tourists and locals, it definitely isn’t your typical library. It’s often crowded and can get quite noisy — but what I do love about it is that everyone is welcome to sit, read a book, or work. They actually have around 200 seats available. If you’re the type of person who isn’t a stickler for peace and quiet, then you might want to take advantage of their free Wi-Fi and power outlets! 

Address: 955-9 Daechi-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 10pm 

4. Arc.N.Book

How could any certified bibliophile not be attracted to Arc.N.Book’s amazing archway crafted out of books? This beautifully curated bookstore is divided into four themed sections: Daily, Weekend, Style, and Inspiration. Through their unique themes and artful decor, Arc.N.Book hopes to inspire more people to get into reading in a whole new way.

Arc.N.Book is more than just a bookstore — it aims to be a unique cultural space that promotes reading not just as a hobby, but as a lifestyle. The first thing most visitors will notice is their Instagrammable interiors, and that’s perfectly alright. They may come for the decor, but it’s the hope that they’ll stay for the books. (And yes, you will find some English-language books here; this establishment prides itself in its above-average collection of foreign-language titles!)

Address: 29 Eulji-ro, Euljiro 1(il)-ga, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea

Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 10pm

5. Book Park

beautiful libraries & bookstores: book park, seoul

Image credit: Alejandro

Who knew Seoul was heaven for book lovers? Perfect for bookworms of all ages, Book Park is an all-in-one bookstore, coffee shop, and art gallery. Each floor of this two-storey establishment is lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, holding a total of 100,000 books. In addition, they also sell accessories, stationery, toys, and a wide assortment of knick-knacks!

Both floors also have their very own cafes, including Seoul’s famous speciality coffee chain, Hollys Coffee. The best part about Book Park? It’s one of those rare places that allows you to borrow a book and enjoy it over a cup of coffee! With 200 seats available for visitors, everyone is invited to kick back and enjoy their generous selection of titles.

Address: Yongsan-gu, Hannam-dong, Itaewon-ro, Seoul, South Korea

Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 10pm


6. Kanazawa Umimirai Library

beautiful libraries: kanazawa umimirai library, japan

Image credit: Asturio Cantabrio

Sleek, modern, and minimalistic — could we expect anything less from a library in Japan? Kanazawa Umimirai has been named one of the world’s most beautiful libraries, and we couldn’t agree more. But despite its stylish aesthetic, it isn’t at all intimidating. In fact, it’s the opposite: the library was specifically designed to be a comfortable space for readers of all ages.

Not just a book lover’s dream come true, Kanazawa Umimirai Library will inspire anyone who appreciates great architecture and design. Best known for the thousands of holes (6,000 in total!) that puncture its concrete exterior, the library gets a lot of natural light — creating a warm ambience that invites readers to stay as long as they’d like. 

Address: I-1-1 Jichumachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 920-0341, Japan

Hours: Monday to Tuesday, 10am to 7pm; Thursday to Friday, 10am to 7pm; Saturday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm

7. Kitazawa Bookstore

Here’s something you don’t find everyday: A Japanese bookstore that mainly sells English-language titles! Amazingly, Kitazawa Bookstore has been around since 1902, and continues to enchant us with their selection of secondhand foreign and rare books. We hear they’ve even got a few that date back to the Middle Ages! Pretty cool, don’t you think?

Mostly available in pretty good condition, their books range from old paperback novels to academic titles on philosophy, religion, folklore, and international relations. And since these books are secondhand, their prices are quite reasonable, too!

Address: Chiyoda City, Kanda Jinbocho, 2−5 北沢ビル 2F, 〒101-0051 Tokyo, Japan

Hours: Monday to Saturday, 11am to 6.30pm


8. Tianjin Binhai Library

Image credit: Muzzleflash

Now this one’s pretty controversial. Upon seeing Tianjin Library in real life, many were disappointed to find that the books on the cascading floor-to-ceiling bookcases were actually just painted on. Yes, you read that right — most of the books you see are merely an illusion! Majority of the shelves are purely decorative, some hold a few books, and others are simply steps and seats for visitors to enjoy. The real books and reading rooms, on the other hand, are situated away from the main space.

But hey — despite that, I still think it’s pretty cool! Architecture-wise, I’d say it’s still one of the most beautiful libraries ever built. The books may not be real, but this library actually has enough space to hold up to 1.35 million titles. (Maybe one day, they’ll fill all those shelves with real books. Who knows?) Its design is pretty interesting, too — from the outside, it resembles a giant eye. Because of this, it’s actually been dubbed ‘The Eye of Binhai’!

Address: Binhai, 旭升路347號, Tianjin, China


9. Biblio

Image credit: Amil Tamano

Biblio is a family-run business that offers secondhand books, a curated selection of merchandise, and coffee from all over the Philippines. Not only do they have super-cute interiors, they’ve also got a great selection of books — most are in great condition and some are practically brand new! Catering to readers of varying ages and interests, they have titles of just about any genre — from fiction, to business, to self-help, to cooking.

Image credit: Gaby Salud

And as if all that weren’t enough, Biblio also invites readers to go on a blind date with a book! A simple yet exciting concept, their blind date with a book promo encourages readers to live up to the age-old saying: “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” These titles are hand-picked by the staff, and I find that it’s such a special way to breathe life into old books!

Address: 2/F UP Town Center, Katipunan Ave., Quezon City, 1108 Metro Manila

Hours: Monday to Thursday, 11am to 9pm; Friday to Sunday, 10am to 10pm

10. Fully Booked

Fully Booked has over 20 branches around Manila, but their store in Bonifacio High Street is the one you have to visit. It’s particularly popular for the eye-catching work of art that greets you once you enter: a mural painted on a stack of books that stands 12 metres high. 

Across its three storeys, you’ll find a comprehensive selection of books categorised into pretty much every genre you can think of. Run by a team that’s always on the lookout for the next great read, they’ve got world-class titles that are perfect for book lovers of all ages. Not simply your run-of-the-mill bookstore, Fully Booked is a lifestyle destination; they also sell vinyl records, arts and crafts, stationery, and more one-of-a-kind merchandise!

Address: Ground Floor, B6, Bonifacio High Street, Taguig, Metro Manila

Hours: Monday to Thursday, 11am to 11pm; Friday, 11am to 2am; Saturday, 10am to 12am; Sunday, 10am to 11pm


11. Wuguan Books

At Wuguan Books, only two things matter: you and your book of choice. Besides that, this library is made to feel as though nothing else exists. (Basically, it’s you and your book against the world!) And with such an interesting concept, how could Wuguan Books not be on this list of the most beautiful libraries in Asia?

This dark library has a total of 300 bookshelves, and every book has its very own light. As only the books themselves are illuminated, this creates the illusion that they’re floating in mid-air! The individual lights also make browsing a more personal experience — no need to worry about anyone hovering over your shoulder or surveying your chosen title. If you’d like to spend more time reading, you’re welcome to move on to yakisugi table, which has more ample lighting. 

Address: Yancheng District, Dayi Street, 2-1號C7-6倉庫, 80343 Taiwan, Kaohsiung City, 

Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 2pm to 9pm; Saturday to Sunday, 11am to 8pm

Also read: 15 Indie Bookshops in Southeast Asia That Will Satisfy Any Nerd


12. Tranquil Books & Coffee

Tranquil Books & Coffee isn’t exactly a library — but it’s stacked with books from floor to ceiling, and everyone is welcome to grab a book and enjoy it over a cup of coffee. With cosy interiors and an atmosphere that’s perfectly conducive for reading, I find that this ambient book cafe definitely deserves a spot on this list of beautiful libraries!

This quaint cafe is truly one of Hanoi’s hidden gems. It’s tucked in an unassuming alley, and offers a quiet escape from the city’s bustling streets. If you’re up for it, you can even participate in a book swap. You can take one of their titles, as long as you bring one of your own to replace it with! To add to this fun concept, Tranquil Books & Coffee also holds piano nights and movie screenings, and sells cute knick-knacks like postcards, notebooks, and tote bags.

Address: 5 Nguyễn Quang Bích, Cửa Đông, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội, Vietnam

Hours: Monday to Sunday, 8am to 10pm

Also read: Concept Cafes in Singapore Bibliophiles Would Love

What are your favourite beautiful libraries and bookstores around Asia? Let us know if we’re missing anything on this list!

About Author

Gabriella Salud
Gabriella Salud

With the intention of pursuing a career in medicine, Gaby got her bachelor of science degree in psychology—and proceeded to follow her passion for writing instead. A former editorial assistant at Metro Society magazine, she loves to hear people's stories and tell them through her writing.


Related Posts