Tokyobling's Blog

Jimbocho Stores

Posted in Places, Shops by tokyobling on June 19, 2015

Early this year I visited the legendary book shop district of Tokyo: Jimbocho. While books made it famous, there are actually a lot of tiny and interesting shops, restaurants and cafes apart from just the book stores. The combination makes it one of my favorite shopping districts of Tokyo, and so far very much off the tourist radar.

Look closely in these photos and you will find a very old glasses store that has not changed much since the 1960 (which must be when they put up the John Lennon photo in the store window) and the more recent but excellent German styled cafe Schwarzwald, which is the place to go for German coffee and cuckoo clocks! It is absolutely tiny but usually always full of students and artists and not expensive at all. Every time I visit this cafe I pass a dozen others that I always promise myself to explore – maybe one of these days I will!

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Jimbocho Theatre

Posted in Places by tokyobling on May 4, 2015

Walking around the back streets of Jimbocho in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward I came across the strangely futuristic Jimbocho Theatre building, which is an art space housing a theatre, a cinema and rehearsal space. Apparently it has six floors inside this 28 meter tall building. I wonder how they managed to cram so much stuff into the 252 square meters foot print of the site! Despite the hardline exterior of the buildings the surrounding space still looks conventionally urban though.

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Jimbocho Brush Store

Posted in Places, Shops by tokyobling on April 16, 2015

Jimbocho, the area in central Tokyo famous for antique (and used, and new) bookstores might be heaven on Earth for book lovers, but there is room for more! I found this lovely little store specialized in brushes, all kinds of brushes for every imaginable purpose and of every imaginable material. Every brush had a tag attached to it, describing exactly what it was made from and why. Naturally I have a few brushes of my own, mainly for shoes and sometimes I see the kimono brush in use but I had no idea there were these many variants! In Tokyo truly there is a specialist store for anything you can imagine.

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Komiyama Book Store – Jimbocho

Posted in Places, Shops by tokyobling on March 27, 2015

A few days ago I posted about the Jimbcho used book and bookstore paradise, but I wanted to save this one for a special post – the Komiyama Book Store (小宮山書店). This is a used book store that specializes in modern art, culture, photography, subculture, philosophy and recent history, with a heavy emphasis on art and photography. I have visited hundreds of used bookstores on three continents in my life so far but nothing comes even close to this place. They have the most random, most obscure and most well curated stock of any similar store I have ever come across. For a japanophile like me this store is pretty close to paradise on Earth. Anyone who was ever something in recent Japanese art and performance history and ever published, wrote or shot anything, is bound to be represented in this store. The collections are all incredibly jumbled, and you will find an autographed biography of an obscure 1970s political figure next to a signed poster sized silver print of a portrait of Mishima Yukio, in heaps and heaps. Even if you are not particularly interested in Japan they have plenty of foreign books and related items. For the sheer variety just have a look at their list of new arrivals. It is also a great place to sell your rare art book collection, which I sometimes do and regret shortly afterwards.

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