A walk through Jimbocho? I cannot think of any stroll, rain or shine, that a book lover
would enjoy more. Jimbocho, Tokyo’s used book town, is easily accessed from Shinjuku via the Shinjuku subway line (toward 各停Moto-Yawata, Jimbocho Station, exit A7).
Located in Tokyo’s Chiyoda ward, Kanda district, near Meiji University, Jimbocho is centered around the intersections of Yasukuni-dori and Hakusan-dori. Streets are lined with
scores of used and antiquarian bookstores. It is easily possible to view beautiful old Japanese leporellos (accordion books), valuable Meiji-era maps and 20th century European art books in one shop, while a few steps away purchasing inexpensive American comics and Japanese manga.
Paperback classics, in European languages as well as Japanese, can be had for as little as 100 yen. There is scope here, but also chance. If you are feverishly looking for a particular new title, especially in English, it’s best to contact the Kinokuniya bookstore or use the internet. Jimbocho is for the adventurer, ready to find a serendipitous gem, but also content to simply wander and explore. Book stocks here are relatively fluid and ultimately finite, so be ready to take the plunge and purchase if something catches your eye.
Here are a few of my favorite haunts from a drizzling afternoon in the autumn of 2017:
Oya Shoten 大屋書房
No photos! You must imagine, or visit, this wonderful bookstore. The collections of maps and books here (especially the European and Japanese art books) are inspiring and exciting. Some of the Japanese books are exquisite, and date to the Edo era.
Oshima Shoten 大島書店
Founded after World War II, this bookstore has a nice selection of English and German, as well as Japanese, books.
This bookstore features an upstairs cafe and a great selection of comics and manga.
The love of books unites us across cultures. Who can resist a welcoming smile, or those lovely old volumes just waiting for the right reader?
This has been a guest post by Marsha