The top five zine shops in Tokyo

Where to get your hands on self-published art books and mags in the capital
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To put it in 21st-century terms, small-edition, independent publications or ’zines are essentially the print equivalent of blogs. Although the fanzine medium's glory days are probably behind it, zine culture defiantly lives on – not least so in Tokyo, where it's undergone something of a renaissance over the most recent decade.

Egged on by the annual Tokyo Art Book Fair, where zine-makers assemble to show off their creations alongside commercially published tomes, the capital's zine community is also heavily indebted to the vibrant dojinshi (manga fanzine) scene, centred on yearly mega-market Comiket. Whether you're looking to buy zines, make or sell your own, or just find out what the city's creative community is up to, the five Tokyo shops listed here are great places to start.

The top five zine shops

Shopping

Utrecht

icon-location-pin Harajuku

This select bookshop, owned by bibliophile and radio star Hiroshi Eguchi, is well stocked with volumes both new and old, and also offers an extensive range of weird and wonderful one-of-a-kind books by domestic and overseas artists and authors. Having moved from Omotesando closer to Harajuku in October 2014, it still boasts one of the largest collections of independently published ’zines inside Japan.

Shopping, Bookshops

Mount Zine

icon-location-pin Meguro

Instead of carefully selecting which zines should be sold, the owners of Mount Zine simply pick every zine they're presented in spring and autumn and then sell them. For the customer, this means being able to choose from over 150 titles, from well-known to anonymous; for the creators themselves, it means having the freedom to create zines, no matter who they are or what they're targeting. Considering all stock is replaced every six months, if you see something that tickles your fancy, we'd suggest getting it right there and then.

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Art

Vacant

icon-location-pin Harajuku

An event space with the aim of functioning as ‘a starting point for human encounters and idea exchange’, Vacant differentiates itself from other similar spots by also serving as an independent art gallery. In addition to hosting a wide variety of exhibitions, Vacant also sees book fairs, flea markets, theatrical performances and gigs. Many of the exhibits display works by underground artists, making this a particularly exciting spot for anybody interested in learning more about the culture and art of Tokyo’s up-and-comers.

Shopping, Bookshops

Hyakunen

icon-location-pin Kichijoji

If you’re not looking hard enough, you might miss this cult bookshop tucked away on the second floor across from the Tokyu department store in Kichijoji. It’s worth seeking out though: inside you’ll find a grand selection of both secondhand and newly published books, magazines and ’zines as well as DVDs and a small range of records. Hyakunen also hosts exhibitions and Q&A sessions where readers can meet with authors and various artists who have work showcasing at the shop.

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Shopping

Nadiff A/p/a/r/t

icon-location-pin Ebisu

Arguably the city’s best-stocked art bookshop, NADiff a/p/a/r/t boasts shelves crammed with Japanese and foreign books, as well as a selection of prints and a plentiful variety of zines. Its own NADiff Gallery holds regular exhibitions of both emerging and established artists, while free mags can often be picked up at the shop as well.

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