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Maruzen is one of the major bookstore chains in Japan. The Nihonbashi store is the flagship of the line, located in the center of Tokyo near the Imperial Palace. Maruzen has a voluminous collection of titles in English and of course an almost unparalleled collection of books, CD-ROMs and microfilms in Japanese. There is also a broad selection of periodicals and newspapers in English and Japanese. Photo buffs will find a superb assortment of books in English on photography and the visual arts.
Book lovers are spoiled for choice in the Jimbocho area, with over 140 booksellers competing for their attention. Tamura Shoten is one of the oldest and the best-known - it was founded in 1904 and Yoshio Okudaira, a member of the founding family, still runs it. The first floor is primarily Japanese books but the floor above contains books in English, French and German, in a variety of topics. There is also a gorgeous display of first editions, featuring signed volumes from Proust amongst others; also, Tamura Shoten bids in overseas auctions - a great opportunity to get that book you've always wanted. Credit cards are accepted for purchases over JPY7000.
Bunkyo-ku is home of the University of Japan, the Japanese equivalent of Harvard. Appropriately, the Rinrokaku Bookstore specializes in academic and scholastic books on China and Japan. This shop is perhaps the best source in Tokyo for scholarly works on China. They have an extensive selection of new books from the U.S., Europe, Taiwan and the Peoples' Republic of China in English and several other languages. There is a large collection of old and rare books as well, slaking the thirst of every kind of bibliophile.
Photography is hugely popular in Japan and a majority of Japanese people both enjoy it as a hobby and appreciate it as an art form. The Photo Gallery International is a popular gallery and bookshop dedicated to the photographic arts. It organizes exhibitions and several other events surrounding the theme of photography and welcomes patrons of all ages. Renowned photographers like Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Harry Callahan etc. have featured their works in the gallery.
Right down the street from Studio Alta, Shinjuku's famous rendezvous point, Kinokuniya's main store has a large selection of books on Japanese art and an entertaining collection of English travel guides and books about Tokyo and Japan. The bulk of the English books have been moved to the Takashimaya Times Square store about five minutes away. You can order anything you can't find on the shelves through their in-store online bookshop.
Bonjour Records is a great shop for discerning music fans - with a selection of new and used CDs as well as hip range of merchandise, it's a fantastic spot to stock up on Japanese limited editions of albums. Bonjour also regularly has bands playing live sets in-store; a sure sign of a music shop with credibility. With a bookstore and a small cafe to enjoy coffee, this music shop is everything you would ask for. Check the website for more details.
In Shibuya Publishing Booksellers, a bright, spacious store, you can peruse books until your heart's content. The late opening, the fantastic selection of books and magazines (both foreign and domestic) and the arrangement of texts by theme rather than author create a fantastic book-buying experience. Shibuya Publishing Booksellers also operates as a publishing house.