Tokyo English Bookstores: Infinity Books, King of Secondhand
Bibliophile- noun, 'a person who collects or has a great love of books'. As a country with a long publishing history, Japan can be a book lover's dream- if you can read Japanese. Finding English-language books can be much more difficult. I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised, I didn't exactly see shelves upon shelves of Japanese language books in the average bookstore back in the States. And when you do find foreign books, the mark-up due to import costs can put a real dent in your wallet unless you're the Count of Monte Cristo. Fortunately, just east of the Sumida River in Tokyo is Infinity Books, the Last of the Mohicans in the English-language secondhand bookstore business in Tokyo. The store is just a 5-10 minute walk from Asakusa Station on the Ginza Subway Line or the Asakusa Station on the Toei Asakusa Line (which are different stations despite being so close they almost touch each other, go figure). Nearby attractions include Senso-ji Temple and Tokyo Skytree (you can't miss spotting it), so you can fit this place into your tour of the Asakusa and Sumida areas.
You'll need to stay sharp while looking for the exterior of this place, it's pretty nondescript except for a couple chalkboards with English writing on them. Once inside, however, Infinity Books is unmistakably a secondhand bookstore, with the crowded, cluttered, yet cozy feel only a good nook-in-the-wall bookstore can conjure up. Despite the apparent chaos, Infinity Books is actually fairly well organized, the store's website keeps an updated list of what is on the shelves at the moment, so you don't have to go in blind if you're looking for a specific title. The store also regularly hosts various musical events for local artists, so check their Facebook page to stay in the know regarding their schedule. So if you're an expat needing something in a language you can actually read, or just a traveler searching for something to read on the bullet train or the flight home, this is one of the best place to look.
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