Since I have become obsessed with sewing, I basically go into every bookstore /sewing store I come across (my sewing store summary here). Here is my list of bookshops in Tokyo for those who like to shop for books (esp sewing books and magazines) as I sure do!
While there are so many beautiful sewing and knitting books in Japan, and while most bookstores will carry some knitting books, not all stores carry sewing books. Here are some stores in central Tokyo I found to have the most extensive collections, for some guaranteed sewing (and knitting) book harvest! For fabric finds please see my post on fabric shops in Tokyo.
SUMMARY OF MY FINDINGS:
My favorites: Maruzen in Marunouchi / Tsutaya T-site in Daikanyama
Largest/best selection (for sewing books): Maruzen in Marunouchi / Kinokuniya (South Shinjuku branch) in Shinjuku / Okadaya
Combine book shopping with fabric shopping: Okadaya / Yuzawaya
Best atmosphere: Tsutaya T-site at Daikanyama / Maruzen in Marunouchi
Extensive selection of English books available: Maruzen in Marunouchi / Kinokuniya in Shinjuku
Late night book shopping: Tsutaya T-site at Daikanyama / Book 1st Shinjuku
Early morning book shopping: Tsutaya T-site
I should start with a note that while some of the bookstores have quite a selection of English books (even sewing books from other countries – ie. US and France), I have yet to see Japanese sewing books translated in English sold in Japan, though I may be wrong or this may change in due course.
TOKYO STATION / GINZA AREA
Maruzen Main Branch in Marunouchi
1st – 4th Floor, Marunochi OAZO, 1-6-4 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo / T: 03 5288 8881
Hours: 9:00 am – 9:00 pm (closed on January 1 and the 3rd Sunday of February)
- Japanese sewing books / magazines section located on the 2nd floor (it is dangerously – and conveniently – located next to the knitting book section! for fellow sewing enthusiasts who also like to knit:)
- English sewing books are also available in the English books section on the 4th floor (however, I have only seen imported books such as Burdastyle Handbook but not Japanese ones which have been translated into English such as “Sweet Dress Book” (it may be that I didn’t look close enough…)
- This is my absolute favourite bookstore in Tokyo. It is huge, the atmosphere is nice and spacious, and I can be guaranteed I will find something I want here. The store carries not only the newest sewing books but also older ones (and usually the entire series if there are several written by the same author (ie. Drape Drape)
- It is about a 5-minute walk from Tokyo Station or Otemachi Station. If you walk from the Ginza area, it will take around 20 minutes. From the OAZO building, you can enjoy walking towards Ginza through the Marunouchi Nakadori, which is a stylish shopping street with some traditional big brands as well as some smaller, nice Japanese shops (fashion/accessories) – or walking on the road next to the Imperial Palace is also very nice. Also, the OAZO building is a relatively close walk from Palace Hotel – the basement floor of this hotel has some very nice and unique Japanese gift shops including “Momota Touen” the flagship of the ceramic brand “Arita 1616″ – beautiful ceramic pieces produced in the traditional porcelain town of Arita and designed by a young designer.
Nakadori – it is a neat street lined with some interesting stores.
Mitsubishi Brick Square (behind this is the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, restored from a building dating from 1894.
There are also many cafes on Nakadori for you to rest after the walk, before you continue onto Ginza!
4-5-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo / T: 03-3561-8446
Hours: Mon – Fri: 9:30 am – 9:00 pm / Sat: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm / Sun: 10:00 am – 20:00 am
- This is on the main street of Ginza (near the corner where the Apple Store is). The sewing/knitting/crafts book are located on the 2nd floor. While the bookstore looks quite small from the outside, the selection of sewing books is surprisingly quite large!
- There is also English books on the 5th floor according to their website (opening hours: 10:00 – 20:00 /closed on Sundays).
5-7-10 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo / T: 03 3573 4141
Hours: 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
- Please see here for comments on fabric selection at this store
- This is a fabric /sewing /craft store which carries a selection of sewing books. This is not the best place to come if you are looking for a specific title because the number of titles are not extensive enough. As the books are left on the shelf for people to freely leaf through, some days you can find new titles and some days old classic smake their way on the shelves (the level of maintenance of the shelves seem to depend on the day). That being said, this was where I bought many of my sewing books! The books are generously displayed on a rack with cover facing you instead of filed in a bookshelf) and you can take your time to browse until you find one you like!
- If you are looking for a sewing book for a child, I think this is a good place because the children’s sewing book rack is always filled with good titles (I don’t know if other bookstores separate children’s clothes sewing books as Yuzawaya does)
SHINJUKU / SHIBUYA area
3-23-17 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo / T: 03 3352 5411
Hours: 10:00 am – 8:30 pm
- 2 buildings: Building B is all crafts related goods, Building A is all fabrics (5 levels) – see my post on fabric stores for more information on fabric selection
- The book section is located on the 6th Floor of building B and the selection is quite good. You can also find some sewing books for reference on each floor of Building A (the fabric building)
- Less than 5 minute walk from JR Shinjuku Station East Exit (towards Kabukicho area)
inside Takashima Times Square, 5-24-2, Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo / T: 03 5361 3301
Hours: 10:00 am – 8:30 pm
- Similar to Maruzen this bookstore also has a huge selection of books. This branch is not the main branch but is the branch with most English books and has a relatively large collection of non-Japanese books as well.
- It is housed inside Takashimaya Times Square, which not only houses the Takashimaya Department Store (food displays on the basement floor to die for) but also houses Tokyu Hands, which is a DIY /gadget/stationary galore (see my post on sewing stores for more on Tokyu Hands)
- Takashimaya Times Square is connected to JR Shinjuku Station (New South Exit)
Basement floor 1 and 2 of the Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower, 1-7-3 Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo / T: 03 5339 7611
Hours: 10:00 am – 11:00 pm
- I have never been to this location, although the fact that this is the bookstore chain’s main branch in Tokyo and located in a fashion design school makes it sound very promising. The other locations I had been to were quite nice so I am sure this branch is similar.
- Large selection of Japanese books (and English books according to their website)
- 3 minutes from Shinjuku Station West Exit (it is connected to the station via an underpass, or if you are going overground, you will recognise the Cocoon Tower by its distinctive cocoon-like shape amongst other more regular buildings in the area:)
- Great for book shopping after dinner due to late opening hours.
17-5 Sarugaku-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo / T: 03 3770 2525
Hours: 1st floor 7:00 am – 2:00 am / 2nd floor: 9:00 am – 2:00 am
- If you are looking for the most extensive sewing book selection and only have time for one bookstore, this may not be the best stop, but otherwise, I highly recommend this bookstore. There is a modest collection of sewing and knitting books, but not as extensive a collection as Maruzen per se. Sewing book section is on the 1st floor (so you can shop from 7:00 am to 2:00 am:)
- Opened in 2012. Wooden, relaxing interior – you feel like you are in someone’s contemporary home library (a huge library).
- There are also books and magazines from other countries available.
- Great selection of design books, and in general a lot of interesting book displayed very beautifully.
- There is a Starbucks on the first floor. The bookstore looks out to a garden terrace – the whole development consisting of the bookstore, several cafes, event space are all owned by the bookstore and done beautifully. I recommend especially coming here during day time to see it in daylight.
- Daikanyama is one station away on the Tokyu Toyoko Line from Shibuya, or about a 15-20 minute walk from Shibuya. In Daikanyama, you will find many cute, stylish, cool shops (a little different than Harajuku-style, just as hip but more toned-down… though it is quite a small quarter in Tokyo this area attract brands such as A.P.C., Paul Smith, Porter, Onizuka Tiger, Milk Fed, Petit Bateau to open shop here), yummy cafes and restaurants.
7th Floor of Tokyu Department Store, 2-24-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo / T: 03 5456 2111
Hours: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
- Shibuya branch of Maruzen (as mentioned above). English books also available. It is within a department store and is not as extensive as the main branch.