Book lovers in Tokyo would go to Tsutaya bookstores or department stores that can easily be found throughout Tokyo. Book aficionados, on the other hand, would head to Jinbocho, situated at a central location only a short train ride away from Tokyo station. Lined with old bookstores that have been around for decades, Jinbocho is the place to look when in search of books. From niche architecture to haute couture to risqué anime, these bookstores stock more than one could imagine.
Commonly found along both sides of the main street are vintage stores that sell books, magazines, scripts, and records that were made way before our time. Out of date, but perpetually in style Vogue magazines are arranged in a neat pile next to the controversial works of Akio Mishima, the blatantly homosexual father of new-age Japanese literature who committed suicide by performing harakiri.
Many of the niche vintage stores stock books that are absolute great references in any genre or category, from gardening to fashion to cars to guns; the collection of books is impeccable. On the second floor of one of the vintage book houses (Bohemian’s Guild) lays a gallery for paintings, drawings, and sculptures. They were definitely a sight to behold, from watercolor to pastel paint to charcoal drawings.
A nice spot to chill and hang out is the Paperback Café in the heart of Jinbocho. A warm panini and a strong cuppa joe make for good company in the endless aisles of books in the café. Small bites and a lunch menu are also available for readers who just can’t take their eyes off of the books. A relaxing afternoon with the likes of Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood or Banana Yamamoto’s Kitchen amongst other contemporary works brings never-ending pages of joy to the reader.
Walking along these streets of unbeknownst art, who would know for sure the treasures that lay beneath each façade? It would only be uncovered with the piqued interest and enthusiasm that each visitor faces each finding with. There are also many other cafes conducive for a chill afternoon or reading time that have many offers on food and books on hand. So weeding all bookworms out: rise and shine for the book town of Jinbocho!