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.)

3 comments:

Shiroibara said...

You mentioned in an earlier post that the economy is down. How do these specialty shops (such as the ones selling snowboards) stay out of the red? And would you say that the Japanese have a lot of free time to do the outdoor sports?

TSOTE said...

Well, that's always been a good question. Ever since I first arrived here in 1992, there have been little mom-and-pop specialty shops (such as an outlet that only carries washing machines, and is just large enough to hold 3 machines) that never seem to have customers. A growing number of such places have been forced out of business since then, but there's always another small shop with no customers that pops up to take its place. I've never been able to figure out how they stay out of the red...

As for free time - that's where we get back into "pruning" and obsessive behavior. If someone wants to do outdoor sports, they're going to ensure that they at least have their Sundays free. You can get to the Japanese Alps in around 2 hours by bullet train, if you want to ski and snowboard, although it gets expensive fast to do this. For hiking, Mount Takao is 1 hour away by local train, and Oome is 2 hours away ($5 in train tickets each way). For cycling, the Tamagawa river next door to me has a bike and hike trail, but I don't know if it runs the entire 15 miles to Kawasaki City yet. And, I once went rock climbing with one group, and it took a little over an hour to get there from Shinjuku. Don't remember where that was, though. But, yes, people can have enough time, if they want to spend their Sundays on it. Not for the rest of the week, though...

Titichu said...

That's fun...I've just been visiting my neighborood and found the places you mentionned...but you forgot to mention the amazing number of AV shops there were between the bookstores. And I was also surprised at the size of the shops selling skies. Then again, when it comes to finding a supermarket to buy groceries, it's another story...small restaurants..convinis...that's seems to be the general way to go around here...why do people bother with a kitchen?...