Wandering through Art Book Stores in Tokyo

Kinokuniya Shinjuku Main Store

The main store of Kinokuniya Bookstore has 8 floors of books. The 6th floor has foreign language books with excellent architecture, art and photography.
The 4th floor has art/craft/photography books in Japanese. This is the place to find photography books on Japanese photographers, interesting books on textile crafts, design books, and art books on Japanese painters.

kunokuniya bookstore

When the store opens the associates greet the customers as they come into the store on every level. It is a very kind gesture.kuni-greeting

The Shelf

On the way to the Watari Art Museum is a unique photography bookstore specializing in new and hard- to-find photography books on international artists. This small bookstore is full of surprises that range from unique artists books to definitive monographs on photographers. The owners have owned the store since 1994.

shelf bookstore front

shelf bookstore

Watari Museum


The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art is right around the corner. The bookstore in the museum has a personality all its own. The first floor carries cards but not just greeting cards (although there are plenty of those). The museum store features cards, carefully divided alphabetically, with photographs of artists or artists’ work. The file takes up one side of the room sharing the space with plenty of unique gift items.

watari cards

Downstairs is a great art bookstore that includes a cubbby-hole where artists are working on funky creations, reusing existing materials. This is the T.R.I.P. store within a store.

watari trip

watari trip2

watari trip3

The bookstore carries new and used art books on unusual and hard to find artists, photography books and books on architects.


Cow Books

cow books

Cow Books is in the Meguro neighborhood of Tokyo. This small and intimate bookstore focuses on counterculture, poetry and beat generation books. However, out of print, unusual photography books are also abundant. Some of the rare photography books are in locked cases or on shelves. There is also a surprising and interesting assortment of small artists books. The bookstore, itself, is an example of minimalist architecture. Glass doors open to a long library table where one can study the books or find/buy/write on old travel postcards. The neighborhood is on the Meguro River and one can meander through elegant boutiques and restaurants.

cowbooks 2

Photo Art Komiyama Tokyo: Jimbocho



photobooks 2nd floor

The Jimbocho area of Tokyo has a neighborhood of bookstores, blocks long. The books spill out in alleyways and sidewalk kiosks. Hoards of booklovers frequent the many stalls and stores intent on finding their particular brand of books treasures. I always head for my favorite art bookstore: Photo Art Komiyama Tokyo. There are 3 floors of art books with a fourth floor of original artwork and prints. The first floor has an amazing collection of photography books. The second floor specializes in books on painters and art genres. The third floor specializes in books on fashion and textiles. Minutes can turn into hours looking through the unusual books available in this store. The number of people on a Friday in the Jimbocho book area is astounding and a heartwarming reminder that the small bookseller is still relevant.

PhotoArt first floor

Jimbocho Street Scene