For some people, clubbing or going out might be the highlight of a vacation, but hey, introverts love to travel too! There are a million ways to enjoy being in a new city, even if you’re not a huge fan of the hustle and bustle. So that’s why today we’re introducing a 1 Day Tour of Tokyo especially for the book lovers out there, with a full day of the best locations to settle in and read.
Start the day with Brunch at Bun Bougu Cafe 11:00-21:00
Bungu is the Japanese word for stationary, and Bun Bougu Cafe is a stationary lover’s paradise! You’ll find Bun Bougu down one of the side streets of the fashionable and ever changing neighborhood of Omotesando.
With an unimaginable selection of letter sets, writing tools, sticky notes, and daily planners (just to name some of the products), Bun Bougu has everything you need to make writing in your everyday an act of art. The store has a line of original goods, including handcrafted business card cases made to look like small leather suitcases.[one_half] [/one_half][one_half_last]
Purchases of the store can be gift-wrapped and given as the perfect souvenir for that friend waiting at home, or for when you’re in the mood to treat yourself.
Begin your day of brunch here with one of their sweet or savory dishes. Currently, they offer the seasonal Otsukimi Parfait bursting with the rich fall flavors of apple and sweet potato. And of course, the desserts are adorned with details alluding to the love of all things paper goods.
If you feel more like starting the day with something savory, opt for the Napolitan spaghetti, draped in a fluffy layer of golden omelette. Play the artist and use the ketchup to sketch out something reminiscent of your Tokyo vacation before diving in.
After filling up for the morning, it’s time to head out to a different part of town to explore some of Tokyo’s finest bookstores.
Address: 4-8-1 Meijijungumae Shibuya-ku
Pick up some new reading material at one of the following book stores
Komiya Jimbocho Book Store (Jimbocho)[one_third] [/one_third][one_third] [/one_third][one_third_last] Nestled in the center of one of the best neighborhoods for vintage and antique books, Komiya Bookstore is the place to go to find the latest in art and photography in print. The store winds across several floors, complete with its own gallery and a selection of vintage novelties and autographed goods. The book shop organizes exhibitions with art that pushes the boundaries, and if you are looking for original prints by Japanese art legends such as photographer Moriyama Daido, this is the place. The space is packed to the roof with well-cared for books, many bound in cellophane to keep out dust and prevent fading. Feel free to ask any of the knowledgeable staff if you have a special item in mind, or browse their online catalog before visiting.
Address: Tokyo 1-7 Kanda Jimbocho Chiyoda-ku
Aoyama Book Center (Shibuya-Harajuku-Omotesando)
In addition to its own host of art and photography books (less avant-garde and controversial than the stuff you’ll find at Komiya), Aoyama Book Center keeps a well-stocked catalogue of books from abroad, so you will most likely find literary prize winners in addition to self-improvement books and other practical reads. Of particular interest, the Aoyama Book Center has a regular lineup of talks and meet and greet events with, so if you’re lucky, you might be able to catch one of your favorite authors while you’re in town.
Address: Cosmos Aoyama Garden Floor 5-53-67 Jingumae Shibuya-ku
Kinokuniya Book Shinjuku (Shinjuku, Yoyogi)[one_third] [/one_third][one_third_last]
As the most commercial pick on this list, you can think of Kinokuniya as the Barnes and Nobles of Japan. The Shinjuku South Exit location, part of the Takashimaya Department Store, is host to one of the largest foreign books sections in Tokyo, with plenty of works in English, Chinese and Vietnamese etc. For residents, their seasonal sales are a great time to load up your book shelves. The overstocked foreign books in perfect or near perfect condition are funneled in from the warehouse, and can be purchased for up to 70% off the label price, with the Kinokuniya policy of free domestic shipping for purchases over 5,000円。
Address: Takashimaya Times Square South Annex 6F 5-24-2 Sendagaya Shibuya-ku
Next, Have late lunch or an Afternoon Snack at Mucchi’s Cafe Koenji
Who says that adults can’t enjoy picture books? At Mucchi’s Cafe in Koenji, this is the place to get in touch with your inner child. This concept behind this cafe is all about creating a space for rereading books that bring on feelings of nostalgic, and for the chance to get acquainted with new young adult literary treasure. With your new book purchases in tow, stop at Muchie’s for a snack or a late lunch depending on how hungry you are. Mucchie’s serves up an assortment of curry, pasta, stews and salads.
And if you have room for desert, there’s a sweet lineup up of playful foods all at reasonable prices. Try the polar bear sundae (600円）, one of the ghost cakes complete with smiling cookie ghosts and your choice of coffee or tea (480円), or if you’re really in the mood for sugar, try the Wonderland House, a sweet toast set made in the image of a certain Alice, complete with tea for two ( Wonderland House by reservation only, 1200円).
Address: 3-2-17 2F Koenji kita Suginami-ku
Check into Bed and Book
The name says it all. Bed and Book is a hostel and cafe series started by a designer real-esate group, R-Store Limited, with the simplest of concepts: create an affordable chic hostel with access to all the books anyone could ever want. With 3 locations in Tokyo and (Ikebukuro, Shinjuku, and Asakusa) one in Kyoto and one in Fukuoka, you can stay at Book and Bed from the affordable rate of 3800円 per night (compact room at the Asakusa location, prices vary by bed choice and location). Behind your own personal bookshelf is a comfortable single size bed set with a book light for bedtime reading. Take some time to unpack your things and settle in. The communal spaces at Book and Bed are a nice place to relax if you don’t want to be totally alone, but aren’t in the most talkative of moods. You’ll notice that each location has its own particular flavor and feel, in addition to being in completely different neighborhoods of Tokyo. If you plan on getting up early to visit the newly moved Toyosu Fish Market, we suggest staying in the traditional neighborhood of Asakusa. If you’re planning to do some heavy shopping the next day, you’re better off staying in Ikebukuro or Shinjuku with access to the big malls and retail spots. Check in to your place of choice, and after having a moment of rest, it’s time for dinner! Back to the center of the city we go.
Address: See site for location details
Dinner at Wired Tokyo 1991 (Shibuya)
Finally, the last stop of our day: dinner. Bet you never imagined one of the quietest places for relaxing would be so close to the center of Shibuya. Located on the 11th floor of the giant Tsutaya Tower overlooking the famed Shibuya scramble, is Wired Cafe. Their collaboration with Tsutaya means that the enormous dark woody rotunda of a cafe is covered with books from corner to corner. After making your order, feel free to walk around to find your choice book or magazine for perusing as you sip on coffee and enjoy your final meal of the day. Wired Tokyo 1999 is a relatively affordable dinner option, with no plates going for more than 1500円and most options hovering around 1000円. Last order for food is at 11:00pm, but drinks are flowing until 1:00am, with the restaurant closing at 2:00am. Treat yourself to wine, beer, coffee, or one of their original drinks like the decadent White Chocolate Matcha Latte, or the Banana Lemon Juice.
And if you have room for dessert, you won’t be disappointed by the assortment of classic Japanese sweets and fruity finishers. The restaurant gets a section of its selection from Bunmeido, a company that has producing confections such as Castella Cake and Dorayaki for over a century.
Addresss: QFRONT 7F 21-6 Udagawacho Shibuya-ku
So Book Lovers, what do you think? After plenty of moving about the city and more than enough good food, I think you deserve a good rest. Head back to Bed and Book for a hot shower, snuggle up with your purchases of the day and enjoy the last few minutes with your books before dozing off. Enjoy!