Tokyo boasts quite a few bookstores with large inventories of English-language books; some of these stores even specialize in children’s literature and learning materials. The bookstore, Fiona, located in the Jiyugaoka shopping district, advertises as having the largest selection of children’s books in the city. They also stock videotapes, CD ROMs, games and educational aides. You’ll find Fiona Jiyugaoka on the first floor of the Solofiole Building, 5-41-5 Okusawa in Setagaya-ku, tel: 3721-8186. Their hours are from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. daily.
Another business specializing in children’s books is Paperweight Kids Books, which initially started out as a mail-order company but has now expanded to their current retail store in Shibuya. In addition to a delightful selection of books in English, Paperweight also carries educational materials such as the School Zone series. The cozy interior is perfect for browsing through their adult section too. Contact Paperweight Kids Books at www.kidsbks.co.jp or visit their location at the Kitamura 60-Kan Building, Suite 201, 5-16-1 Hiroo in Shibuya-ku, tel: 3498-5260. They are open from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sundays, and closed the first and third Monday of each month.
Not far from Paperweight is our favorite second-hand bookstore, Good Day Books, a great place to find used books at bargain prices for the whole family. The shop also carries a varied selection of new books as well. You may want to spend a morning cleaning out bookshelves with the kids and then bring your stash to Good Day Books. Credit vouchers are issued which you can trade for second-hand books or get 50% off of new purchases. Most used books are considered for trade with the exception of hardback novels and damaged or out-of-date books. Call ahead to check on book-exchanging hours. Good Day Books is located on the 3rd floor of the Asahi Building, 1-11-2 Ebisu, in Shibuya-ku, tel: 5421-0957. They are open from 11 a.m.- 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, including holidays, and from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sundays. The store is closed on Tuesdays.
Crayon House is a well-known children’s bookstore stocked with books in English, French, German and Japanese, too. Besides the main floor bookshop, you’ll find a nice family restaurant in the basement, and stationery supplies and wooden toys for sale on the 2nd floor. Crayon House is just off Omote Sando behind the Hanae Mori Building. The address is 3-8-15 Kita Aoyama in Minato-ku, tel: 3406-6492. Hours of operation are from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily.
The Tower Records chain offers an international plethora of books, magazines, CDs and videos, all at very reasonable prices. In their Shibuya store, you could spend the whole day up on the 7th floor browsing through their imported magazine and book section. Tower Records now has many locations in the Tokyo area, although not all branches have books in English. Their megastore in the Flaggs shopping complex in Shinjuku does have a large imported section and is open from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. The address is 3-37-1 Shinjuku, tel: 5360-7811. In Shibuya, Tower Records is located at 1-22-14 Jinnan, tel: 3496-3661, and open from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.
The Maruzen bookstore in Nihonbashi has an excellent selection of children’s books in English. Visit their fourth floor for the kids’ book section; you’ll also find learning materials such as maps, video and audiocassettes. Maruzen is located at 2-3-10 Nihonbashi, tel: 3272-7211, and hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
The chain of Kinokuniya bookstores in Japan is popular with the foreign community due to their inventory of English-language books. A small but diverse collection of children’s books can be found at the Shinjuku branch in the Times Square Building at 5-24-2 Sendagaya, tel: 5361-3301. They are open from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily.
If you want to order books, definitely check out the FBC Bookstore, part of the Foreign Buyers Club family of wholesale foreign goods. They offer everything imaginable in children’s books and videos through their mail-order business, which is fast, reliable and competitively priced. Contact FBC for a free catalog at www.fbcusa.com or call: (078) 857-9001, or fax : (078) 857-9005.
Little America Bookstore was originally opened to provide supplies to English teachers, and the result is a vast selection of games and educational materials including books, posters, flashcards, etc. For the price of a stamp you can receive a free catalog. Contact Little America at 3-6-21 Ozasa, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka-shi, tel: (092) 521-8826 fax: (092) 521-2288.