Top 5 English Bookstores in Tokyo

The best spots in the capital for bibliophiles

By Paul McInnes    - 4 min read

Tokyo, for a very long time, was a city with very little choice regarding English-language bookshops. Much-loved locations such as Good Day Books in Ebisu and later Gotanda and Takadanobaba's legendary Blue Parrot are now gone and sadly missed by many graying expats. It's true to say that the situation has changed a lot since our last rundown on the capital's best bookstores back in 2015.

That's not to say that you can't get your hands on any English books, magazines, Japan guides, dictionaries or phrase books in Tokyo. Let us guide you in the right direction with this list of the capital's best English book destinations.

1. Books Kinokuniya Tokyo

Kinokuniya (one of Japan's biggest and most-loved book chains) used to hold English books, mostly, in its Shinjuku branch nearby Shinjuku Station's East Exit. It always had a respectable amount of English titles, magazines and newspapers.

In 2014, however, Kinokuniya opened up its own separate English books floor near Takashimaya department store. It's become a central hub for the capital's bibliophiles and in addition to its well-stocked shelves hosts author meet-and-greets and book readings, making it number one on our list.

Books Kinokuniya Tokyo: Takashimaya Times Square South Building 6th floor, 5-24-2

Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku

2. Infinity Books

Over in Asakusa, in Tokyo's eastern quarter, Infinity Books has made a name for itself with a fine selection of used books from almost every genre imaginable. From horror and biographies to science fiction and the occult, Infinity Books has pretty much everything.

It also has, and this is crucial, a well-stocked bar of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. So what better than spending a few hours peacefully walking the aisles of this wee gem and then finishing off with a hard-earned drink?

Infinity Books: 1-2-4 Azumabashi, Sumida-ku

3. Maruzen in Marunouchi Oazo

Maruzen is one of Japan's best-loved book chains with branches scattered across the city. A few steps from Tokyo Station, bibliophiles will find a modern and well-stocked Maruzen within the Marunouchi Oazo shopping and restaurant complex.

Its English language (and other foreign language books) floor is huge and stocks new titles in addition to newspapers, magazines, journals and stationery. It's the ideal spot to stock up on reading material before a long shinkansen trip and for quieter evenings stuck in a hotel.

Maruzen: 1-4F Oazo Shops & Restaurants, 1-6-4 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku

4. Junkudo Ikebukuro

Ikebukuro isn't usually associated with culture. However the mammoth Ikebukuro branch of Junkudo is well worth a visit. With nine floors devoted to books, magazines, kids titles and more, it's any book lover's dream come true.

The building's top floor is pretty much devoted to English language books, magazines and newspapers and hosts the latest novels and non-fiction work from the English language world's best authors.

The kids section is huge, compared to other stores, so if you're looking for a birthday or Christmas book for a young'un then Junkudo will almost certainly have you covered.

Junkudo Ikebukuro: 2-15-5 Minamiikebukuro, Toshima-ku

5. Tower Records Shibuya

Things have changed over at Tower Records. A much-needed refurb a few years back saw the foreign language section moved from the 7th floor to a more compact position next to the cafe on the 2nd floor.

Tower Records English section has become more known for its comprehensive English magazine selection, particularly fashion and lifestyle titles such as Vogue, GQ and Monocle though it still plays host to a neatly curated section of English novels and nonfiction titles.

Tower Records Shibuya: 1-22-14 Jinnan, Shibuya-ku

Getting there

Books Kinokuniya Tokyo: ​​​​​​Take the South East Exit of JR Shinjuku Station, walk past the huge Takashimaya department store and cross the road. You'll see a Nitori store on the ground floor of the building. Books Kinokuniya is on the 6th floor.

Infinity Books: Take Exit 4 of Asakusa Station on the Ginza Line or Exit 2A of Asakusa Station on the Asakusa Line.

Maruzen: Leave the Marunouchi North Exit of Tokyo Station for the Marunouchi Oazo building straight ahead. Maruzen is located on the 1st to 4th floors.

Tower Records: Take the Hachiko Exit of JR Shibuya Station and walk towards Harajuku. Tower Records is on your right.

Junkudo Ikebukuro: On the east side of Ikebukuro Station, head out the Seibu East Exit, turn right and walk past the Muji store. Cross the road and you will see Junkudo facing you.

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Paul McInnes

Paul McInnes @paul.mcinnes

I'm currently content manager at Japan Travel. I have worked as Editor-in-Chief of Metropolis and writer and contributing editor for The Japan Times, Tokyo Weekender, Stylus, Tokyo Fashion, Time Out Tokyo and many other publications in Japan and overseas. 

Join the discussion

Elizabeth S 6 months ago
Thanks for this!

When in Tokyo, I often browse Kinokuniya's extensive collection. For young Japanese learning English, and for manga fans who don't read Japanese yet, I often recommend a visit to the location at Takashimaya Times Square. They have a big selection of English language manga comic books.
Sleiman Azizi 7 months ago
Enjoyed this read. I'm a big fan of some of these stores. Good places.
Kim B 7 months ago
Thank you for the roundup! Helpful to know about kids book spots in particular!