Jimbocho is a small town in north central Tokyo about 1/2 a mile to the north of the Imperial Palace and the Otemachi area. It’s known as Tokyo’s book town. But it also has a wide variety of sports + music shops – especially for skiing and snowboarding. You can spend a whole day strolling east-west on Yasukuni-Dori Ave (Rt. 403). checking out the shops. There are endless bookstores in the area with every kind of book imaginable.
Central Jimbocho facing north. Yasukuni-Dori runs east-west in sort of an inverted arc shown here running throught the center of town. This street is lined with endless sports/book/music shops, cafés, and restaurants. To the north is Ochanomizu, to the east (right) is Akihabara and Kanda, and to the south is Otemachi and the Imperial Palace.Tokyo Dome City is to the northwest, out of frame.
Extended view facing north. Jimbocho is in the center, Akihabara on the right, TDC at the upper-left, and Imperial Palace to the south, just out of view.
The central + west side of Jimbocho is better described in our Kanda Superguide. We’ll detail just the basic area here. Essentially Yasukuni-Dori (Rt. 403) runs east-west in an arc through the center of town.
There are endless backstreets + streets full of book stores. Most of the major sporting + music shops are along Yasukuni-Dori. There are dozens of interesting guitar shops along the way.
The Hidden Pedestrian Side Street
At around 35°41’43.31″ N 139°45’39.23″ E – just across from a Xerbio Sportsstore and right next to an ABC-Mart shoe store is the entrance to a charming little side street off-limits to vehicle traffic. There are dozens of nice restaurants + cafés and other shops up + down this street. If you walk this street a few blocks to the west and then turn right on Rt. 301 (Hakusan-Dori) it will take you right into TDC. Turning left on the main street next to ABC instead of taking the side street will lead you to glitch Coffee (discussed next). If you continue walking far enough south past glitch Coffee it will take you to the Imperial Palace and Otemachi.
At around 35°41’37.52″ N 139°45’40.50″ E just to the south of Yasukuni Dori is glitch Coffee. The shop is excellent, but’s in a run-down non-descript old office bldg. with only a sign in the window. Don’t let the appearance fool you – it’s worth a trip. See our full review.
At around 35°41’32.82″ N 139°45’48.60″ E just to the south a few blocks off Yasukuni-Dori and several blocks east of glitch is the Yonemoto Coffee Shop – it’s on a corner and a very nice place to rest + get a brew. It’s popular with early-morning local workers. There is a larger main shop by the same company east of Ginza near Tsukiji.
Yonemoto Coffee Shop – just a few blocks east of glitch.
If you walk a mile or so west on Yasukuni-Dori, then turn north (left) onto Rt. 405 (Sotobori-Dori), you’ll come to the sister city of Ochanomizu where there is a spectacular complex called WATERRAS around 35°41’50.39″ N 139°46’03.98″ E. There is also a very nice organic Olympic grocery in the basement of WATERRAS. If you’re up for a bit of a walk, WATERRAS is worth the quick tirp.
Just to the west of WATERRAS 2 blocks is a Greek Orthodox church with spectacular Russian architecture called Holy Ressurection Cathedral.
North to Ueno, east to Akihabara.
If you head north of WATERRAS and cross the Kanda River, then head onto Rt. 452north for about 1 mile you will come to the famous Tokyo district of Ueno.
You can also cross the Kanda River, then head east a few blocks, then north a few blocks again to Akihabara which is only a few miles to the northeast.
Facing west on Yasukuni-Dori.Note the sidewalk Metro portal on the right.
Head north off Yasukuni-Dori here for WATERRAS.
Jimbocho is a nice little town worth a stroll. It’s usually low-tourist, and low-crowd, which makes it easy. It’s well worth a quick trip or day trip from any of the other local major areas such as Otemachi, Akihabara, or TDC. Check it out.
Sandwiched in between Akihabara to the northeast and Tokyo Station to the south is a part of Tokyo called Kanda. It’s centered on Rt. 405 (Sotobori Dori) just north of the financial district Marunouchi. Also just to the northwest is Ochinomizu. Akihabara is just a few minutes’ walk up Rt. 302 to the east. Jimbocho, Tokyo’s used book town is just 1/4 mile to the west. All 4 areas are within walking distance of each other.
JR Kanda Station facing north on Chuo Dori. Continuing north will take you right into Akihabara, which is the next JR stop north on the Yamanote Line.The area under the station to the north side is known as Kanda Crossing.There’s a small side street shown here on the right worth a stroll.
Central Kanda. Akihabara is on the right side of the frame, Jimbocho on the left. The WATERRAS complex is the large black building to the upper right. Sotobori Dori is the main street running north-south center right.
The central area in Kanda is on the intersection of Yasukuni-Dori (Rt. 302) and Hongo-Dori (Rt. 403). You can walk west or east on 302 for miles and there is a lot to see. On the very west end is Jimbocho, known as Tokyo’s used book town (as well as an area with lots of sports shops).
At the intersection there are lots of cafés and restaurants including a Doutor and an Excelsior Café. In fact, there are 2 Doutours 1 block apart. There are also a variety of noodle and yakiniku (steak) places around. And several conbini (convenience stores).
Facing east on 302 towards Akihabara.Excelsior Café is on the right. The block from here east is the central area. WATERRAS (see below) is one block up to the left. You can also just barely see Tokyo Sky Tree in Suitengumae in the distance.
Several blocks to the southeast around 35°41’28.24″ N 139°46’07.97″ E is the entrance to a narrow little street full of shops called Kanda Nishiguchi Shopping Street. It’s just a few blocks, but worth a stroll if you’re willing to walk the 8 blocks or so down Rt. 403 to get to it.
WATERRAS+ Sola City
Just to the north a few blocks up Rt. 305 is an office/shopping complex called WATERRAS. WATERRAS has some cafés at the ground level, a Mr. Donut on the northeast corner, and a large upscale shopping complex called Sola City across the street to the north. It’s worth a quick walk around. The main area of interest is up the front WATERRAS escalator and stairs, then around to the left. There is also a large garden terrace on the southwest corner of the building.
Further west on 302 the street is lined with sports shops on both sides – mostly ski + snowboard shops. There is also a Xebio and Victoria sport shop near each other a few blocks down to the west.
Just at the west edge of Kanda and into Jimbocho around 35°41’37.53″ N 139°45’40.15″ E is the hipster café glitch Coffee. It’s in an old run down dump of a building and has no sign other than on the front window, but the inside is very nice and the coffee + food is awesome. If you want to venture just a bit west of Kanda into Jimbocho, it’s worth a stop.
Believe it or not, in this dilapidated building is the hipster café glitch Coffee. The shop also has a small walk-up window on the left.
The HUB @ Kanda Station. Also note there are 3 cafés right next door.
TAP x TAP KandaCraft Beer
If you’re in the mood for craft beer, there’s TAP X TAP Kanda around 35°41’34.09″ N 139°46’20.90″ E. To get there, exit JR Kanda Station, head to the northeast side street known as Kanda Crossing shown above, go through the side street entrance on the right, then turn right again at the 1st block. It’s just down on the left side 2 blocks.
Kanda Myojin Shrine
A bit of a hike north on Rt. 452 around 35°42’06.62″ N 139°46’03.28″ E is Kanda Shrine. It’s a large complex with spectacular architecture but it’s closer to Akihabara than it is to Kanda. If you’re up for a bit of a walk and have time, it’s worth checking out. There are a few other shrines in the area.
Kanda River + Rt 405
The Kanda River, which cuts through the center of Tokyo east-west runs approximately from the Sumida River to the east all the way to Tokyo Dome City to the west. In fact, you can walk the entire distance on Rt. 405 which parallels it. Just head north on any one of the major north-south streets in Kanda or Jimbocho to get to 405. You can also head east (right) on 405 to get to Akihabara. The distance from central Jimbocho to Tokyo Dome City is only about 1 mile.
There are a variety of hotels in Kanda, but perhaps the best value once again is APA Hotel. In fact there are 3 APA Hotels in the area, but one of them, APA Hotel Kanda-Eki-Higashi is far to the southeast. Just south of Akihabara Station is APA Hotel Kanda Ekimae around 35°41’36.66″ N 139°46’17.15″ E (Ekimae means “at the station”). The closest one is APA Hotel Kanda Jimbocho Eki-Higashi just to the west. There are also 2 APAs in Akihabara. APA has some of the best deals in hotels in Japan – with hundreds of them all over the country and many all over Tokyo. Off-season rates are usually very good and depending on occupancy can run from $65-$90/night. At some APA’s off-season you can even get rates as low as $40 depending on how centrally located the hotel is. All are clean, and slightly upscale depending on location.
Well that’s it. Kanda/Jimbocho is a great place to visit. It’s 1/2 way between Tokyo Station and Akihabara so you can access both those areas too. In fact, assuming you want to spend all day in the area, you can see all 3 in a long day, although Akihabara is really a full day in itself. The walk along Rt. 403 from Jimbocho to Akihabara with Kanda in the middle is only about 1.5 miles, so it’s easy. There is plenty to do and see along the way. Enjoy!