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English Books in Tokyo: Kinokuniya, Aoyama Book Center & More!

Post: Monday October 24, 2016   Author : plazahomes

Are you on the hunt for some good reading material but wondering where to find something in your native language in the middle of Tokyo? Have you ever stepped into a Japanese bookstore and been overwhelmed by the selection of all Japanese books? Thankfully, for all of us who may not read Japanese, there are quite a few places where books can be found in a variety of other languages. Here are a few of the best options to get English books in Tokyo.

A man is reading a book in a library

Why Kinokuniya Bookstore is Tokyo's go-to source for Expats

If you've been living in Tokyo for a while, but haven't visited one of the many Kinokuniyas that offer a foreign language book section, then you're in for a treat. There are several branches in Tokyo that have a large selection of books in English as well as a smaller catalogue in a few other languages. You will find everything from best-selling novels to the latest children's books from abroad and everything in between. Some are even large enough that they include coffee shops where you can sit and browse a good read while enjoying a tasty beverage while you read. The best locations for an afternoon of browsing are:

Shinjukuin Main Store: 3-17-7 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo

Shinjuku South Store: Takashimaya Times Square, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo


Shibuya Main Store: Shibuya Tokyu Plaza 5th floor, 1-2-2 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo


Shibuya Publishing Booksellers

shibuya publishing

Opened in 2008, this book store is small and unique located in the Kamiyamacho area (Shibuya-ku). About a 15 minute walk from Shibuya Station, the books are carefully selected by staff that concentrate on daily living and not the best seller books in the market. The neighborhood has many attractive cafes, bakery, bars, galleries and more!

Address: Terrace Kamiyama 1F Kamiyamacho, Shibuya-ku Tokyo

URL: (Japanese Only)

Aoyama Book Center Roppongi Store

This store is located next to the Azabu Police Station. The store has many paperbacks and books on Japanese culture. Books on Japanese culture can make great souvenirs to bring home. This is a great place to get your Japan guide books in English.

Address: Roppongi Denki Building 1F 6-1-20 Roppongi, Minato-ku Tokyo


COW BOOKS Nakameguro

cowbooks nakameguro

Located 7 minutes away from Nakameguro station, the books focus on 1960s – 80s social movements. Other books focus on progressive politics, protest, the Best Generation, and first editions of forgotten modern authors.

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


"Check Out" English books at the Tokyo Library in Minato

The Tokyo Metropolitan Central Library, in addition to having one of the largest collections of written materials in all of Japan, also has one of the largest collections of foreign language reading materials in Japan as well, currently at about 230,000 foreign language books. If you live in the central Tokyo area, this is a great place to find something to read for free. In addition to row after row of books, they have several other services available:

Tokyo Metropolitan Central Library

● Subscriptions to numerous newspapers (with three months of back editions), journals, magazines and other periodicals, including a large number in English and other languages

● Free Wi-Fi Internet accessible throughout the facility

● Books from the more than one million texts in the closed-stacks area of the library that can be requested from the book counter

● Interlibrary loan service for books held by other public libraries throughout the Tokyo metropolitan area

Note: You can't actually check books out of this library. All reading materials must remain on the premises of the library.

A commuter's best friend: The eBook reader

Lastly, for a slightly different take on how to get access to those reading materials, may we offer up the idea of an e-reader as a method for getting your daily dose for the written word. Whether you like e-ink or fully digital screens, Sony or Kindle or anything in between, e-readers may not ever replace books, but they are surely a convenient way to get whatever type of literature you want to get your hands on in a convenient, portable form. There is no end of content, e-books, or whatever subscription you have in mind. Best of all, e-books come in every language that's ever been written.

e-books p

And, an e-reader easily fits in any bag, briefcase, or even a pocket, so it can be pulled out on the train or bus, or even when you're just sitting on a park bench in Yoyogi enjoying some later afternoon sun. Can you say convenient?


If you're craving a good read in Tokyo, these suggestions should get you started on where to look. If these fail you, you can also consider places like Amazon Japan or other online shopping sites if you need something specialized that can't be found in one of the above bookstores.

Also, please be sure to check out our other articles on English services found around Tokyo, here.

Books for Kids >> /news/places-for-children-tokyo/



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