Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Jimbocho Used Book Center
This location is generally referred to as the "Kanda Second-Hand Books Area", but it's actually a mile or more from the JR Kanda station, and is really just outside the Toei Shinjuku line's Jimbocho station. It consists of a 4-block stretch of Yasukuni Dori (Yasukuni street), starting from the east side of Jimbocho, heading east, although there are more used book stores scattered around the side streets near Yasukuni Dori. Most of the used books consist of old school books and the like, so you have to search out the rare books shops to really locate the older scroll-type books. I'm not an expert on old Japanese books, or a collector, so I don't know what to look for here. But, those "people who are in the know" come to Japan specifically to go shopping here.
The easiest way to get here is to make this part of the trip to visit Nicholai Do and Music Instrument street. Either walk from Akihabara west to Yushima, and then south across Kandagawa (Kanda river) and follow Meidai Dori south 500 meters to Yasukuni Dori. Or, take the Sobu train from Akihabara to Ochanomizu and then go out the west exit and pick up Meidai Dori that way. The alternative is to take the JR Yamanote line to Kanda station, walk north a couple of blocks to Yasukuni Dori, and then head west 2 kilometers
(you'll go past the Ogawamachi Dori station along the way, and you can choose to ride the Toei Shinjuku subway from there to Jimbocho, which is the next stop).
(Part of "Outdoor Sports District", next to the Used Books District.)
One district that's not generally mentioned in the travel guides is the "Outdoor Sports Area" in Jimbocho. This is yet another 4-block strip that is pretty much nothing but stores selling skiis, camping equipment, bikes, etc. When I went by last week, there were about 10 shops that had only snowboards set out on the sidewalk. To find this area, just go east past the
used books area, on Yasukuni Dori - it's just next door.
(Gamers Workshop. Yes, some Japanese do like western simulation games.)