6 Instagrammable Tokyo Bookstores and Where to Visit Them

6 Instagrammable Tokyo Bookstores and Where to Visit Them

If you want proof that print is alive and kicking, look no further than these bookshops in Tokyo!

While the rest of the world tries to keep up with the demands of digitisation, a love for the print medium reigns supreme in Japan. It seems that honest pockets of publishing still exist in plenty — all you need to do is find them. Thus, we’ve assembled a list of the Tokyo bookstores that we feel make the strongest argument for the written word. So, what are you waiting for? Hop on your trusty bike and let’s chase down these gorgeous stopovers! 

Also read: 12 Beautiful Libraries & Bookstores to Visit Around Asia 

1. Daikanyama T-Site

Any bookstore-hopping journey must start at Daikanyama T-Site, a sleek establishment that’s perfect for an afternoon of leisurely browsing. Built like “a library in the woods,” this Tokyo bookstore is surrounded by large trees in the fashionable Daikanyama district.

Across three buildings that are connected to each other, you will find a wide array of English-language books on photography, design, art, cooking, and travel, as well as Japanese and international magazines. To round off a trip to this dazzling bookstore, have a cup of coffee at the cafe or swing by the upscale Anjin Lounge for delicious cocktails! 

Address: 16-15 Sarugakucho, Shibuya City, Tokyo 150-0033

Hours: Monday to Sunday, 7am to 2am

2. Sunny Boy Books

Seeing the rise of overly commercialised retailers only makes me more grateful to run into family-run businesses like Sunny Boy Books. Every bit as lovely and cheery as its name suggests, this bookstore wraps you in its cosy ambience.

What it lacks in floor space at 16.5 square metres, it makes up for in its collection of over 4,000 secondhand books on art, design, and lifestyle. All of these books have been thoughtfully handpicked and curated by the owner for a personal touch. There are also tote bags with silkscreen prints, handkerchiefs, postcards, and other charming souvenirs that you can take home with you. 

Address: 2 Chome-14-15 Takaban, Meguro City, Tokyo 152-0004 

Hours: Monday to Thursday, 12pm to 8pm; Saturday to Sunday, 12pm to 8pm

Also read: Top 30 Tokyo Souvenirs to Buy & Where to Get Them 2019

3. COW BOOKS

tokyo bookstore

Image credit: Raymond June

Naturally, the emphasis of all-capital letters in COW BOOKS foreshadows its enthusiasm! With a mascot of a cow near the doors, this is easily one of the most eccentric bookstores in the city. It is owned by magazine editor Yataro Matsuura, who enjoys showcasing out-of-print books from the 1960s–1970s, as well as avant-garde writing and experimental works from oft-overlooked authors. Thanks to his taste in peculiar literature, the space pulses with an irresistible energy that makes it hard for visitors to stay away. 

Situated in a neighbourhood known for its cherry blossoms, this cosmopolitan Tokyo bookstore can be reached within seven minutes on foot from the Tokyo-Nakameguro Station. 

Address: 1-14-11 Aobadai, Meguro-ku, Tokyo  153-0042 

Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 12pm to 8pm

4. B&B (Book & Beer)

tokyo bookstore

Image credit: booknerdtokyo (left); booknerdtokyo (right)

Many literary haunts only stick to combining two interests: coffee and books. This nifty Tokyo bookstore in Shimokitazawa, on the other hand, pairs the reading experience with some classic liquid courage. Yeah, we’re talking about booze — And lots of it. Pretty awesome, right? 

But make no mistake! B&B (Book and Beer) isn’t like a rambunctious pub where tomato-faced bibliophiles get wasted and holler trivia at bystanders. Rather, this peaceful and quiet nook offers customers the experience of browsing the shelves with a pleasant buzz — no doubt from their refreshing offerings of craft beer. Then again, maybe we’re just really happy to be around books! 

Address: 2F, 2-12-4 Kitazawa, Setagaya City, Tokyo 155-0031

Hours: Monday to Sunday, 12pm to 11pm 

Also read: 31 Fun Things to Do in Tokyo on Your First Visit [Updated 2019]

5. Books Kinokuniya

From this list of must-visit bookstores in Tokyo, Books Kinokuniya houses the most impressive selection of books written in English. On my last visit to the massive branch in Shibuya — all eight floors of it — I found works by Haruki Murakami that would’ve been near impossible to find anywhere else.

Moreover, the space doubles as a popular venue for book signings and reading events, making it a cornerstone of the literary scene in Tokyo. For all your bookish needs, Books Kinokuniya has you covered! 

Address: 6F, Takashimaya Times Square, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya, Tokyo

Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 8.30pm 

6. Ginza Tsutaya Books

If there was a paradise for bookworms on earth, we reckon that it would look a lot like Ginza Tsutaya Books! Set in the shopping complex of Ginza Six, this gallery-esque bookstore boasts a staggering trove of literature that would put most commercial retailers to shame.

Not only is it filled from floor to ceiling with over 60,000 art books and magazines, but it also sells art supplies, t-shirts, and stationery that will tickle the whims of aspiring creatives. And taking its cue from Japanese design, this powerhouse of a bookstore allows natural light to pour in and leaves just enough space for visitors to wander. You could lose hours here, maybe even days! 

Address: 6F, Ginza Six, 6-10-1 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0061

Hours: Monday to Sunday, 10am to 10.30pm

Also read: A Bibliophile’s Guide to Packing Books for Vacation

Should you feel the urge to feed your inspiration, taking a stroll through these Tokyo bookstores will do just the trick!

About Author

Tiffany Conde
Tiffany Conde

Tiffany is a writer based in Manila. When she was younger, she knew she wanted to write stories or go on adventures—now, she's learning to do both. She enjoys being swept up in books that spark her curiosity for new places, both real and imaginary. While travelling, she finds herself going off the beaten track quite often, but it's probably because she gets lost easily.

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