Here´s another one of my favourite places in Tokyo I recommend you to visit, especially if you are a booklover interested in old second hand books or musician looking for let´s say a new Stratocaster.

Jimbocho is one of the comparably quiet parts of the city, which may match its reputation well, as you´ll find 160 bookshops carrying over 10 million books along its streets. Those bookshops are a fascinating treasure trove for antique and modern books. It´s mainly Japanese books but they do carry many forein books from overseas as well.

Except for the bookshops, you´ll also find record shops mainly carrying classical music vinyl records, and if you decide to get off the metro station “Ochanomizu,” you´ll pass dozens of shops selling musical instruments at a reasonable price on your way to Jimbocho. A musician´s El Dorado, and a bookworm´s Xanadu.

How to get  to Jimbocho:

You can directly access the area where the bookshops are located when getting off at “Jimbocho” station.

If you decide to have a look at the musical instruments shops first, simply get off at “Ochanomizu” (either on the JR line or the private Marunouchi line). The exit of the Marunouchi Ochanomizu station and the slightly bigger JR Ochanomizu station are just separeted by a bridge, you´ll have to cross the bridge when arriving with the Marunouchi line.

There´s also a small police box on the opposite site of the JR station, don´t hesitate to go there and ask for directions or an area map, they are used to giving directions.

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The Marunouchi Ochanomizu station
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The JR Ochanomizu station

Passing the shops and a university, turning right….

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…and walking down the Green Alley (Grüne Allee)…

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You´ll notice the Jimbocho subway Station…

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…and find many bookshops selling all kinds of books, mangas, illustrated books, movie guides and so much more.

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I´d like to stress that those books are usually in a very good to mint condition, even the antique ones; to my experience you can make a pretty good deal on here. I once bought an old Japanese poetry book with a beautiful cover in one of the shops which I by accident spotted in Osaka a few days later two times more expensive.

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A piece of advice: I wouldn´t visit there on a rainy day. As you can see in the picture above, some shops are selling their books directly on the street. In this case they will cover their stock with tarps so you won´t be able to have a look at it.

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