Paradise for Print
Technology may reign supreme in the high-speed hustle bustle of the Japanese capital, but Tokyo’s more traditional book lovers have only to walk south from Shinjuku towards Daikanyama to find a unique retail ‘village’ of sorts tailored expressly to their needs.
Quietly opening its doors in December 2011, Daikanyama T-Site takes for its centrepiece the 3-storey flagship of Japanese chain Tsutaya Books, which boasts upwards of 1,000 branches across the nation. The architecturally T-themed branch is a Klein Dytham-designed haven of dark and blond woods and airy glass walls, adding up to a 5,600 sq meter paradise for all things printed, from vintage magazines to modern coffee table tomes.
Though the 140,000-title strong book collection is the focus, it is in fact rivalled by the store’s staggering media selection, which counts almost 100,000 music albums and 80,000 films. Lest you get lost amidst the sheer size of the archives, stock is not only organised by floor (books on every floor, film on 2, music on 3) but also coded by category, so that respective sections (architecture, art, cooking, literature, and so on) house all related materials regardless of media type. If you still can’t find what you’re looking for, the specialised concierges are happy to help – and speaking of helpful people, you can request a consultation at T-Travel, a travel company located within the bookstore, where the concierge is available to aid you in realising your dream holiday, from flight booking to itinerary scheduling.
In the way of food and drink, upstairs on the second floor is Anjin, the lounge-cum-book bar outfitted with personalised iPads on which to place your order, and leather chairs where you can relax with one of the 30,000 library titles in hand. There’s also a Starbucks in the bookstore, but outside the cosy enclave of Tsutaya, on the picturesque, tree-lined streets of Daikanyama T-Site ‘Garden’, Ivy Place awaits. Decorated with wood walls, antique furniture and chandeliers, the space is divided into restaurant, café and bar sections, plus an outdoor terrace, and offers a menu of ‘global comfort food’ like buttermilk pancakes and flatbread pizzas sure to satisfy.
A walk along the Garden streets reveals a line-up of lifestyle spots including bike shop Motovelo, toy store Bonerundo, camera shop Kitamura, plus a beauty clinic, Garden Gallery exhibition space, and Green Dog pet store. There’s even a dog park, so four-legged friends can come along and join the fun too. If you’re planning a visit to Daikanyama T-Site, check the website for an updated list of events (there are often design workshops, popup shops, gallery exhibitions and readings), along with a live feed of the car park in case you want to drive. And if the print palace sounds like your paradise but you’re not in Tokyo, fret not – there’s an online store too!
Daikanyama T-Site, Saragakucho 17-5, Shibuya / +81 337 702 525 / http://tsite.jp/daikanyama/