Jimbocho

Tokyo Life Trends & Culture - August 5th, 2010
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by Kevin Jungnitsch

This neighborhood in central Tokyo is famous for its variety of books—and righteously so. For lovers of the written word Jimbocho is a gem, with a seemingly endless supply of everything from beloved paperbacks to longer or more scholarly tomes. The area offers everything from second-hand bookshops, where shoppers can nab truly rare finds, all the way to the latest novels in multistory book houses. In fact, the streets are so completely lined with bookstores that one can easily get caught browsing for hours. Jimbocho is also home to some of Japan’s biggest publishers, which round it out as the country’s true center for print media.

Bohemian’s GuildBohemian's Guild

1-1 Kanda Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku
Tel: 03-3294-3300
www.natsume-books.com

Jimbocho is filled with secondhand bookstores, but this little one sticks out. Enter Bohemian’s Guild and you will be amazed by the eclectic, multilingual selection that it has to offer. The store smells a bit like your grandparents’ attic, but that’s because it stocks decades-old literature, much of which is still in mint condition. Although the selection is still predominantly Japanese, there is a surprising number of quality English language books, as well as a few titles in Spanish, French and German. Shoppers will find that taking the time to explore the shelves may just be worthwhile, with plenty of diamonds in the rough waiting to discovered.

Books SanseidoBooks Sanseido

1-1 Kanda Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku
Tel: 03-3233-3312
www.books-sanseido.co.jp

This six-story store stands at the center of Jimbocho’s paperback neighborhood. Here visitors can find just about any book that is published in Japan. And for those after titles in other languages, look no further. While the foreign language selection is largely in English, there is an impressive offering— probably one of Tokyo’s biggest—and it doesn’t end with books. Need the latest issue of BusinessWeek or Vogue? Sanseido has it, although for the typically marked-up Japanese prices.
The novels and language books, however,
are decently priced and are definitely worth checking out.

Uogashi Sakaba Jimbocho Uohyaku IzakayaUogashi Sakaba Jimbocho Uogashi Sakaba Jimbocho

1-2 Jimbocho, Chiyoda-ku
Tel: 03-3291-1295

For those who head down to Jimbocho in the later afternoon or early evening, this small izakaya offers a great way to end a day of shopping and browsing. The wooden exterior is an immediate eye catcher, and the small but comfy interior creates a lively, inviting atmosphere. The place offers a variety of small snacks as well as some slightly bigger dishes, with a combination of both Western and Japanese cuisine. Food and drinks are both reasonably priced, and especially in the searing hot summer weather, a fresh draft beer will be much appreciated by many. Don’t let the difficult name discourage you from having checking it out!

Map

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External Link:
Jimbocho, Wikipedia