With a rich cultural history, Japan is home to many unique and aesthetic bookstores for locals and tourists to discover. If you are looking for a place to read, interact, or get a deeper sense of Japanese culture, read on for the top indie bookstores in Tokyo.
From Haiku to Ikebana, Japan is well known for its passion for art and literature. Despite being a global metropolitan city, there are many fabulous independent bookstores in Tokyo where one can take a break and immerse themselves in some hidden gems. Read on for our picks for the best indie bookstores that Tokyo has to offer.
Making use of its own network of domestic and foreign artists, Utrecht displays self-published books, photos, and artworks with a focus on art, design and fashion. After moving from Nakameguro to Shibuya in 2014, the independent bookstore has drawn the attention of booklovers and designers in the neighbourhood, allowing them to explore its unique vibe through its collection and minimalistic interior design.
Address: Shop 2C, 5-36-6 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo
Hyakunen, which means “A Hundred Years” in Japanese, is a warm reminder to visitors of the timelessness of books. By offering both second-hand and newly published books, the store hosts a range of art books, picture books, biographies, novels, and many more genres. Hyakunen also hosts talks and exhibitions for independent authors in the neighbourhood to display and share their works.
Address: 2-2-10 Murata Building 2F, Kichijoji Honcho, Musashino, Tokyo
Snow Shoveling Books & Gallery
Self-described as a “progressive bookseller,” Snow Shoveling creates a relaxing environment for visitors through its fine selection of books, welcoming interior design, and assorted paraphernalia. The second floor bookstore not only deals with books, but also hosts exhibitions, events, and dinner parties where visitors can meet and talk to local artists and authors. Located near Komazawa Olympic Park, Snow Shoveling welcomes you to get a sense of the characters, creators, and residents of the local community.
Address: 2F 4-35-7, Fukasawa, Setagaya, Tokyo
With a focus on arts and culture, Nostos Books buys and sells second-hand books about graphic design, illustration, package design, typography, folk art, and product design. Nostos also hosts exhibitions and interviews with local creators. The shop recently conducted an interview with the founder of jewelry brand SIRI SIRI, Naho Okamoto, and published an article afterwards for those who missed the talk. Even for those without deep knowledge or interest in art and design, Nostos Books provides countless opportunities to uncover new interests.
Address: 5 Chome-1-18 Kinuta, Setagaya, Tokyo
Uresica Shop & Gallery
Filled with books, miscellaneous goods, and artworks from local creators, Uresica offers an exceptional experience for both locals and tourists. Its collection of books spans a wide range of genres- indie labels, novels, children’s books, picture books- drawing booklovers from all over the globe to the shop. The store also collaborates with local painters, illustrators, picture book writers, and potters to create masterpieces and display them to the public, enriching the spirit of art and culture in the area. If you are looking for a place to buy meaningful souvenirs from Tokyo for your family and friends, consider visiting Uresica.
Address: 2 Chome-27-9 Nishiogikita, Suginami, Tokyo
As the name suggests, Cocktail Books is no ordinary bookstore. Starting out as a normal bookshop in 1997, Cocktail Books has developed into a book bar with the aim of offering a relaxing and unique experience to its visitors. The store’s “Literary cuisine” menu features dishes with recipes that appear in Japanese literature, a great option for foreigners looking to fully immerse themselves in Japanese culture.
Address: 3 Chome-8-13 Koenjikita, Suginami, Tokyo