When I had the chance to visit Japan in 2013, I made sure to check out two of Japan’s shops for Japanese popular culture enthusiasts called Book Off and Kinokuniya. Although these are shops targeted to book lovers, Book Off and Kinokuniya are a must stop too for J-Pop fans too!
Basically, Book Off is a chain store of second-hand books and other second-hand goods. According to their company information page (http://www.bookoff.co.jp/en/about/company.html) they want to “contribute to society through their business activities especially the pursuit of employees’ material and spiritual being.” The very first Book Off store was opened in May 1990. Furthermore, they opened their international branches in the year 2000 specifically in Hawaii and New York, USA. Aside from having stores in the USA, they also have stores in Seoul, South Korea and in Paris, France. In December 2007, they proudly opened their 900th store! Currently, Book Off signed a capital and business alliance with Yahoo Japan Corporation.
Kinokuniya is another bookstore chain that delivers new Japanese and English books and magazines. They are the largest bookstore chain in Japan having 66 stores in Japan alone. They also have nine stores in the USA, four stores in Singapore, one in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, three stores in Thailand, one in Sydney, Australia, four stores in Taiwan and one in Dubai!
I visited both Book Off and Kinokuniya when I went to Japan in late 2013. As a J-Pop fan, I was on cloud nine. You could certainly find every J-Pop single, album or DVD you want in Book Off. While you could buy brand new photo books in Kinokuniya! I also visited Kinokuniya in Singapore and in the US. You could purchase a variety of books and magazines in those branches too. I also paid a visit to Book Off in New York as well. I got my limited edition of Perfume’s Triangle for 30USD from that store. It was such a great bargain! I’ll make sure to visit Book Off and Kinokuniya when I go to Japan again and bring lots of cash!