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A Tour of Tokyo’s Bookstores


Leave it to the Japanese to find an elegant, efficient and practical approach to everything – even shopping for books. Book-loving visitors to Tokyo who seek out Jimbocho, an entire district dedicated to used books and publishing, will find themselves in a beautiful, bookish heaven. Jimbocho, named for a 17th-century Samurai, was razed by fire in 1913. The first business to emerge from the ashes was a bookstore, and others followed suit. Today, the area boasts ~175 bookstores, including about 50 devoted to used and rare books.

Earlier this year, AbeBooks staffer Colin Laird was fortunate enough to indulge in some bookstore tourism, and found himself in the heart of Jimbocho. From colorful storefronts boasting wall-to-wall manga, to purveyors of rare, literary antiquities, the printed word is alive, well, and right at your fingertips in Tokyo, Japan.

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