Journey to the book town starts at the Jimbocho subway station, where the subway walls is appropriately decorated with stacks of books.
Taking exit A7 will lead you to the main alleyway of book shops.
My attempt to find one has been futile, still majority of the books are in Japanese, nonetheless, I tried to maximize my afternoon by browsing some coffee table books and old edition of Life magazines.
Apart from books, it is also a good place to purchase souvenir Japanese arts and scroll paintings (“ukiyo-e” – picture of the floating world). If you are an avid collectors of classic “Gravure idol” (Japanese female models often in swimsuits and underwear) photo books, most shops has plenty of second hands.
Formerly known as “Kanda-Jimbocho”, Jimbocho is considered as a hotbed of literal intellectuals. More than just a street selling used paperbacks, the book town is also home to the prestigious Literature Preservation Society and Tokyo Book Binding Club. It is also a few walks away from several major universities in Tokyo,thus adding further importance to the over-all purpose of the district.
You can also trade books (buy-sell) in some of the shops. Let me warn you not to expect that you will receive a reasonable amount when you sell English books particularly. I remember selling a very good condition book which I bought around 800 yen originally and received only 10 yen in return. I agreed since I accidentally bought two copies of the same title, but then again I vowed to myself not to ever sell any books again, let it crowd and mess my room for all I care.
If you will be working soon or studying in Japan and you can’t live without books, still I would suggest to bring as much books as you can. Purchasing at Kinokuniya should be a back-up plan in case you finished reading everything you have.
I love the smell of paperback, how frustratingly heavy they are most of the time. Sorry but no Kindle or any eReader for me.