Roppongi’s Bunkitsu is singular in that it is a bookshop that charges an entrance fee. Doesn’t sound too enticing? Another way of looking at it is that for ¥1,500, you gain access to a vast, impeccably curated private library for a whole day, plus unlimited coffee and green tea to sweeten the deal.
A cool, radical reinvention of the longstanding Aoyama Book Center that previously stood here, Bunkitsu lets you purchase any titles that you fancy, or enjoy them at leisure in the sleek surroundings that, across various zones, recall a hip startup workplace, boutique hotel and contemporary art gallery. For serious concentration, you can seclude yourself in a glass-partitioned room dubbed the ‘Laboratory’.
Over 30,000 titles are displayed not only across rows of bookshelves, but also atop industrial-style wood pallets, with the latter each themed around pertinent topics to encourage discovery. The ‘library’ spans everything from philosophy to IT skills, and is particularly strong on art, travel and design books, image-rich genres which transcend language barriers. While browsing, you’re likely to get peckish: with this in mind, Bunkitsu’s in-house cafe serves dishes such as lobster rice gratin and pork curry, along with fruit juice, beer and a few desserts.