Being in a non-English speaking country means that finding English books can be a challenge. Many Japanese bookstores carry a token few, usually recent bestsellers and language-learning books. But where do you go when you need more than that - when you need a full, proper bookstore? If you're in Tokyo, the answer is the South Shinjuku Store of Kinokuniya Books, near Shinjuku Station.
Kinokuniya's foreign book and magazine section on the 6th floor is message, and is likely to have whatever it is that you're looking for. In addition to a wealth of popular titles, it has a very impressive collection of books on a wide range of technical topics. For instance, how many Japanese bookstores would you expect to have three whole shelves devoted to books on mathematics? Or 5 to linguistics books? How about designated sections for Crafts, French Philosophy, or Health Care?
This branch of the Kinokuniya chain is nothing if not thorough. The children's book section is vast, and contains level-appropriate material from picture books to Young Adult chapter books. There is a large collection of not only translated Japanese manga, but also American comics as well. Browse a wide selection of global newspapers and magazines. And of course, there are enough novels and nonfiction books to last a lifetime.
Even speakers of other languages are catered to: there are separate sections devoted to German, Italian, French, and Chinese books.
One of the nice benefits of shopping here is that the foreign books section is large, roomy, and well decorated - not just a few bookshelves in the back corner. This visit saw a large skeleton on display near the Popular Science books, and a large cut-out display of The Hungry Caterpillar for the kids. The store certainly puts a lot of effort into appealing to its foreign-language customers.
In addition to having Wi-Fi throughout the store, there is also a coffee shop on the 3rd floor. Note that while the South Shinjuku Store has a vast collection, not all branches of the Kinokuniya chain have foreign-language books.
Kinokuniya's South Shinjuku Store is located about an 8-minute walk from the New South Exit of JR Shinjuku Station. It is across from the Takashimaya Square building.