Where to procure books in Japan



International Children’s Bunko Association

Biblioteka Library Club is a circle that has been helping parents with children’s book readings and more. It conducts Wednesday afternoons of readings, songs, craft projects and friendship in English. Location: Yoyogi, 1 minute walk from the station, even on little legs. Members are invited to choose from their selection of over 500 English books for children, which range from books for newborns through chapter books. Our activities target preschoolers, but others are welcome. Please visit us, new members and friends of the library are always welcome. Become a member with a small yearly fee. We gather: Every Wed from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm. Come and join us! Contact them online via their list’s website.

ICBA is a voluntary association that aims to foster international understanding in children with international experience or backgrounds through reading good books in their original language. Bunko means storage of books, so each ICBA affiliate features a lending library of children’s books and consists of reading groups (including teaching reading groups) and activities connected with language, games, songs, stories, camping, and parties. At present about 50 IC Bunko are operating in Japan and overseas. We have a private lending library of some 300 children’s books in English. 2 affiliates are listed below. For more info on locations of ICBA around Japan Phone: 03-3496-8688

Koala Bunko : Meetings are held every other Wednesday, 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm at Yon-chu Gakushu Center Building in Musashino. DUring the first hour, the Book & Lending Library is open, and tables for Book Reports, Reading Aloud, Q&As and Books-on-Tape are staffed by parent volunteers. After the hour, children listen to a story read by one of the native-English speaking parents. A group game played in English follows, with the last half hour reserved for snack and free play for the children, and a meeting for parents. Ina ddition to regular meetings, special events are held throughout the year. Membership is not restricted to Musashino residents, but there is a small monthly membership fee for all.

Winnie the Pooh Bunko. Meetings are held every Wednesday from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm at Mikajima Public Hall (Kominkan) in Tokorozawa City, Saitama. Next station is Sayamagaoka. Buses are infrequent but can do pick ups. Membership: 1,000 yen per month per family. 3 years – 6th grade. (about 300 books in stock) Phone: Lindsay Nojiri.


Your local public library is the first place to start looking. You are usually allowed to borrow 6 books and an additional number of music CDs. The selection of children’s books in English is naturally small and typically fit onto one or two rows of bookshelves. However, bear in mind that you can also order books from the other libraries in the prefecture and have it sent to your local library.

National Diet Library, the International Library of Children’s Literature (Kokusai Kodomo Toshokan) – has about 23,000 foreign books, from anywhere in Japan. There are some science and other non-science titles in addition to a wealth of literature. Use the search page(see below), print out the results for books you’d like to read, and take them to your nearest public library and using the free interlibrary loan service, order the books you’d like from the ILCL.

Did you know that your local library can order books for you (as a free library service) from anywhere in Japan? Your local library can request up to 10 books at a time from Ueno and keep them in the library for you to read for up to one month. (Or you can request more as soon as you are finished reading them.) The only drawback is you can’t take them back home with you — reading them in the library may take some gettings used to. Still it can a very valuable service for the student researcher.

Search Page URL: http://kodomo3.kodomo.go.jp/web/ippan/cgi-bin/fKJN.pl
1. title or key word
2. author
3. publisher

The Service Page has some info in Japanese about this interlibrary loan service. Print out a copy for your local librarian. (Occasionally, a title which comes up in a search may be in the Tokyo Metropolitan Tama Library, where holdings include over 13,000 foreign language books. It may also be possible to request such books if you live in Tokyo – ask at your library for details.) We have been using this service for years now and I can’t recommend it highly enough – service reviewed by Linda.

It may also be useful to know that a copy of every book ever published in Japan is deposited in the National Library of Parliament, so this is the place to start your search for hard-to-find books. Note however that the library maintains a closed system which means you can’t browse the shelves. You have to look at the books from the catalogue, and you can’t remove the books from the building. Go to the National Library of Parliament’s website.

Online Libraries

WWW.QUESTIA.COM is the largest online library in the world. See also the online Questia Encyclopedia at Access to an academic-level library with 60,000 full-text books, over 1 million articles, an entire reference set with a dictionary, encyclopedia, thesaurus plus a collection of digital tools to organize your info. Monthly plan $19.90 (quarterly and annual plan also available).

Online International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL), is the largest children’s library online. The ICDL is a five-year, $4.4 million research project that will ultimately provide access to 10,000 children’s books, drawn from 100 different languages, as well as new technology to support children’s access to digital materials. The ICDL is a joint effort by the University of Maryland’s Human-Computer Interaction Lab, a leader in children’s interface design, and The Internet Archive, the Internet’s largest library, to create an extensive library of international children’s literature and make it available worldwide. It is backed by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the Kahle/Austin Foundation.

The Library Spot is an amazingl informative site for all bibliophiles. Brings together links for online libraries, book reviews, reference (dictionaries / encyclopedias / directories / biographies) links. Many other useful features such as 2005 College Rankings, top 100 movies, 100 favoritie children books, find lesson plan ideas, find science project ideas, fun trivia and many more. Bookmark this site! URL: http://www.libraryspot.com

Bibliomania is an excellent resource with thousands of online literature, texts and references.

Cornell University’s digital library has a remarkable online historical collection of titles.

Classic Book Library and Classic Literature are online classic book libraries.

World Wide School Library may become a useful homeschooling resource if it were to expand more.

Magic Keys Illustrated children’s books may be found online here.

Project Gutenberg e-library

Online Bookstores

In Japan:

Amazon.co.jp – Amazon.com’s Japanese arm is a great boon to us all trying to buy children’s titles in Japan.

Books.or.jp Search here for Japanese books in English or Japanese.

David English House / ELT News Book Service caters for English Teachers of Japan (ETJ). You may become a member of ETJ for free and get 20% off their books. For details, see their website.

Jelly Beans Educational has a full range of English Language Japanese Animation, Bilingual Books, Comics and Childrens Story Books as well as Japanese Traditional Children’s Music sung in English.

Kinokuniya is a great bookstore, if a bit on the expensive side. There have been complaints, however, from US readers trying to access their English website from the US have found it hard to understand the quirky English on the pages and navigating the site a hilarious experience.

Skysoft.co.jp  Highly recommended for the yen-watchers! It’s worth working out trying to use its network, and not all that difficult either. The company has vast networks all over the country using convenience stores and bookstores. Usually works out cheaper to buy from Skysoft than Amazon as customers are able to minimize long distance shipping costs by picking up the books at a neighborhood convenience store or bookstore close by.

Maruzen bookstore is online.

Peek-a–book nook This online bookstore buys, sells and trades English books, although the selection of children’s books is small. URL:http://www.outsider.co.jp/booknook/f_about.html

Book Storefront Information

***Bookstore Fiona Jiyugaoka Rarely in Japan can you find the bookstore that specializes in children’s books and this bookstore that offers more than 3,000 titles for preschool up to junior high school children.
5-41-5 Okuwa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Phone: 03-3721-8186

Tokyo and Yokohama
BOOK 1ST SHIBUYA Arima Bldg. 1F, Shibuya 03-3770-1023
KINOKUNIYA BOOKSTORE SHINJUKU MINAMI Takashimaya Times Square Bldg. 03-5361-3301
YURINDO LANDMARK PLAZA Landmark Plaza 5F, Yokohama. 045-222-5500
KINOKUNIYA BOOKSTORE YOKOHAMA Sogo 7F, Yokohama. 045-450-5901
RYUSUI SHOBO NARITA AIRPORT Narita Airport 047-632-8550
MARUZEN BOOKSTORE NAGOYA SAKAE Nagoya Sakae Bldg., Nagoya-shi 052-261-2251
SANSEIDO SHOTEN NAGOYA TAKASHIMAYA 11F. Nagoya Takashimaya Bldg 052-566-8877
SANSEIDO SHOTEN NAGOYA TERMINA B2F. Nagoya Termina Bldg. 052-562-0077
LIBRO NAGOYA Nagoya Palco Higashikan 4F. 052-264-8526
KINOKUNIYA BOOKSTORE FUKUOKA Fukuoka Kotsu Centre Bldg. 6F. Fukuoka. 092-434-3100
KINOKUNIYA BOOKSTORE FUKUOKA TENJIN. Tenjin Core Bldg. 6F. Fukuoka 092-721-7755
KINOKUNIYA BOOKSTORE KURUME Yume Town Kurume 2F. Kurume 095-245-7170
MARUZEN BOOKSTORE FUKUOKA BIRU 2/3F. Fukuoka Bldg, Fukuoka 092-731-9000
FUTABA TOSHO MEGA 082-830-0600
JUNKUDO BOOKSTORE HIROSHIMA Fukuya Hiroshima Ekimae-ten 10F. 082-568-3000
KINOKUNIYA BOOKSTORE HIROSHIMA Hiroshima Centre Bldg. 6F. 082-225-3232
Hyogo: Hanshin
BOOK 1ST ROKKO Rokko Hankyu Bldg. 2F, Hankyu Rokko Stn. 078-806-2717
BOOK FORUM OKAMOTO South of Hankyu Okamoto Stn. 078-412-4882
BOOKS ORION The Entente 2F, Rokko Island 078-857-6300
JUNKUDO BOOKSTORE SANNOMIYA Sannomiya, Sannomiya Centre-gai 078-392-1001
KIKUYA GAKUEN TOSHI Campus Square, Gakuen Toshi Stn. 078-797-3977
KINOKUNIYA BOOKSTORE KOBE Kobe Sogo Shinkan 5F, Sannomiya 078-265-1607
KINOKUNIYA BOOKSTORE SEISHIN Nishi-Kobe Sogo 5F, subway Seishin-Chuo Stn. 078-990-3573
WANTAGE BOOKS South of Shin-Kobe Stn. 078-232-4517
KAIBUNDO BOOKSTORE Motomachi arcade 078-331-6501
MARUZEN Kobe 078-391-6001
SHINSHINDO Kobe 078-393-0170
JUNKUDO BOOKSTORE NISHINOMIYA Acta Nishinomiya 4F, Hankyu Nishinomiya-Kitaguchi Stn. 079-868-6300
KINOKUNIYA BOOKSTORE KAWANISHI Mosaic Box 4F, Hankyu Kawanishi-Noseguchii Stn. 072-740-2622
OTOSHI SHOBUNDO South of Hankyu Ashiyagawa Stn. 079-722-3760
Hyogo: Others
JUNKUDO BOOKSTORE HIMEJI-EKI Eki-biru Festa 3F, JR. Himeji Stn. 079-221-8280
KINOKUNIYA BOOKSTORE KAKOGAWA Kakogawa Yamato Yashiki Honkan 6F 079-427-3311
NCC Children’s Nishinomiya 079-826-1591
LIBRO KANAZAWA JR Kanazawa Stn. 076-260-2555
KIKUYA SHOTEN KANAZAWA Near Kenrokuen. 076-220-5055
BOOK KYUMARU KANAZAWA KITA Kamimoroe Stn. 076-234-3211
MIYAWAKI SHOTEN HONTEN Takamatsu-shi. 087-851-3733
BESSHO SHOTEN SHIN-NABARI Nabari-shi. 059-561-2324
KINOKUNIYA BOOKSTORE OKAYAMA Okaden Yubinkyoku-mae Stn. Okayama 086-232-3411
MARUZEN BOOKSTORE OKAYAMA SYMPHONY-BIRU Okayama Symphony Hall, B1F, JR Okayama Stn. 086-233-4663
KINOKUNIYA BOOKSTORE OTSU Otsu Parco 5F 077-527-7191
KINOKUNIYA BOOKSTORE TOKUSHIMA Sogo Tokushima, 8F, JR Tokushima Stn. 088-602-1611
ASAHIYA BOOKSTORE KYOTO Platz Kintetsu 5F, JR Kyoto Stn. 075-361-1210
AVANTI BOOK CENTER Izumiya Kyoto, JR Kyoto Stn. 075-682-5031
BOOK 1ST KYOTO Kawaramachi-dori Sanjo-sagaru 075-253-6700
FUTABA SHOBO Hachijo-guchi, JR Kyoto Stn. 075-681-0880
GION SHOBO Gion-cho Minami-gawa, Higashiyama-ku 075-541-0660
JUNKUDO BOOKSTORE KYOTO Shijo-dori, Shijo Kawaramachi 075-252-0101
KYOTO TOWER BOOK CENTRE Kyoto Tower 3F, JR Kyoto Stn. 075-353-6688
MAKI SHOTEN East of Shimogamo Jinja, Eizan Dentetsu Mototanaka Stn. 075-781-3670
MARUZEN BOOKSTORE KYOTO KAWARAMACHI Kawaramachi-dori Takoyakushi-agaru. 075-241-2169
MARUZEN BOOKSTORE KYOTO UNIVERSITY CO-OP Kyoto University Co-op, Kyoto University 075-771-7335
Osaka: Osaka CIty Kita (North)
ASAHIYA BOOKSTORE DOJIMA CHIKAGAI Dojima Chikagai, Nishi Umeda 06-6344-2266
ASAHIYA BOOKSTORE HONTEN Next to Sonezaki Police Station, Midosuji 06-6313-1191
BOOK 1ST UMEDA 06-4796-7188
JUNKUDO BOOKSTORE OSAKA HONTEN Dojima Avanza 1-3F, Nishi Umeda 06-4799-1090
JUNKUDO BOOKSTORE TENMA MATSUZAKAYA Matsuzakaya 7F, subway Tanimachi Line, Tenmabashi Stn. 06-6920-3730
KAIZOSHA BOOK & DRUG STORE Granvia Hotel, Acty Osaka, JR Osaka Stn. 06-6344-1235
KINOKUNIYA BOOKSTORE UMEDA Umeda Hankyu Sanbangai 06-6372-5824
RYURYUDO BOOKSTORE North of Utsubo Koen, subway Yotsubashi Line, Higobashi Stn., exit 7 06-6443-0167
Osaka: Osaka City Minami (South)
ASAHIYA BOOKSTORE NAMBA Namba City B2F 06-6644-2551
JUNKUDO BOOKSTORE NAMBA Opposite of NGK Bldg., 5 min. walk from Namba Stn. 06-6635-5330
KINOKUNIYA BOOKSTORE HONMACHI Osaka Kokusai Bldg. 1F, northwest of subway Sakaisuji-Honmachi Stn. 06-4705-4556
MARUZEN BOOKSTORE NAMBA OCAT Osaka City Air Terminal Bldg. 5F 06-6635-3225
MARUZEN BOOKSTORE OSAKA SHINSAIBASHI 5 min. north from subway Shinsaibashi Stn. 06-6251-2700
Osaka: Osaka City & Others
ASAHIYA BOOKSTORE TENNOJI MIO Tennoji MIO 9F, JR/subway Tennoji Stn. 066-773-0107
KIKUYA SHOTEN ABENO Apollo Bldg. 2F, JR/subway Tennoji Stn. 066-634-8606
KINOKUNIYA BOOKSTORE KYOBASHI Keihan Mall 4F, JR/Keihan Kyobashi Stn. 064-801-9255
LIBRO BOOK CENTER ESAKA Toyo Bldg. 2F, subway Midosuji Line Esaka Stn. 066-378-2071
LOUVRE SHOTEN Uehonmachi HiHi Town 1F. 066-771-0659
Osaka: Others
ATHENS 066-253-0185
JUNKUDO 064-799-1090
KINOKUNIYA BOOKSTORE SENBOKU Senboku Kosoku Tetsudo, Izumigaoka Stn., Panjo 4F. 072-292-1631
KINOKUNIYA BOOKSTORE TAKATSUKI Seibu Takatsuki Shopping Centre 5F, JR Takatsuki Stn. 072-686-1195
MARUZEN BOOKSTORE Kansai International Airport, Passenger Terminal Bldg. 3F 072-456-6136
MARUZEN BOOKSTORE NAKAMIYA CAMPUS Nakamiya Campus, Kansai Gaidai University, Hirakata 072-805-6180
MODERN ENGLISH 2 min. walk northwest from Keihan Korien Stn., Hirakata 072-835-5259
PEYNET Hilton Hotel 066-347-7488
SENRI INT’L SCHOOL BOOKSTORE Take bus from Hankyu Senri Line, Kita-Senri Stn. 072-729-7117
TENGYU SAKAI BOOKSTORE RINKU TOWN Rinku Town, Rinku Orai Kita 072-469-1021

Also located in Tokyo are the following bookstores:

Aoyama Book Center chain of bookstores frequently has foreign book sales. See this link.

Foreign Books Outlet Shop (2nd floor of Aoyama Book Center Roppongi – nearest station: Roppongi) Phone: 03-3479-0479 (Mon-Sat 10:00-5:00 hrs)

Logos Shibuya Phone: 03-3496-7362 Nearest station – Shibuya (Open Mon-Sun 10:00 – 21:00)

Tokyo Random Walk Phone: 03-5545-4593 Nearest station: Akasaka-Mitsuke (Sanno exit) (Open Mon-Fri 11:00-22:00, Sat, Sun holidays 11:00-20:00)

Shibuya Tower Records Phone: 03-3496-3661 Nearest station – Shibuya (Open: Mon-Sat 10:00-23:00)
In addition to the above bookstores that carry English books, click on Evelyn Leeper’s links below tfor the most comprehensive nation-wide listing of bookstores in Japan:

The Study Room A specialist store that specializes in really nifty kits, posters, books related to science study, and more. Locations:

Shimo-Kitazawa Store: 1F Hills Shimo-kitazawa 2-36-2 Kitazawa Setagaya-ku
Phone: 03-5478-8717

Garden Place 2F Mitsukoshi Dept Store, Ebisu Shop
Phone: 03-5795-2640

Tokyo Station, Yaesu exit Meitengai 1F Shop
Phone: 03-5220-3208

Ueno Station 3F Concorde Shop
Phone: 03-5246-6876

Lalaport shopping centre in Funabashi
Phone: 03-5220-3208

Note: Science museums and prefectural nature parks or other nature centers are also good places for buying science materials and field guides.

Little America
is a good source for interactive materials and games. Phone: 092-521-8826

Websites for Japanese books with searches in Japanese only:

Book Town Jimbou website allows you to search for books available in Jinbo-cho, a Tokyo district long-famous for its any (around 160) bookstores, which stock used, old and rare books. Titles are displayed with links to general info on them as well as links to bookstore addresses, telephone and website details. Bookstores can also be browsed according to the fields that they specialize in by using the category (subject matter) search. In addition, the website allows users to create a personalized map of Jinbocho and mark favorite bookstores, and provides info on the annual Jinbocho used-book festival.

Renso Shuppan allows Japanese readers to search for shinsho (Japanese pocket-sized paperbacks) at its Shinsho Map site. Renso Shuppan has also updated its website Webcat Plus), which searches university libraries across the nation and can be used in English).
Second-hand Bookstores

Blue Parrot in Takadanobaba, Tokyo.

Bondi Books in Kichijoji
Used English bookstore with a range of genre including childrens books, general fiction, non fiction, romance, sci-fi, horror etc.
1-28-3-110, Kichijoji Honcho, Musashino Shi, Tokyo, Phone: 0422-23-1996

Caravan Books in Ikebukuro, Tokyo

Good Day Books in Ebisu, Tokyo

Recommended Catalogues


Chinaberry Books is a MUST for all parents seeking books of beauty and books of soul for their kids. Treat yourself to their lovely catalog.

Japan Book Plaza in Australia will ship anywhere.  In addition to their online catalog, they have a good print catalog which they will send.  Apart from books they also sell many other teaching resources for Japanese language learning such as charts and posters (though you will likely to get the same materials cheaper by buying from a large bookstore in Japan).

Sonlight Curriculum is a homeschooling catalogue whose the core programme consists of good children’s books.

Scholastics e-catalog is a well-known teachers’ and parents’ resource for books.

BIBLIOGRAPHY ON EDUCATION IN JAPAN This is a listing of books and research material on topics related to education and schooling in Japan.
OUR BOOK ROOM Check out this resource where children’s book titles are arranged thematically for thematic or unit-style homeschooling.

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