7 Awesome Asian Bookstores for Bookworm Travelers

Many avid travelers have often heard the famous quote by St. Augustine, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” Despite the quote being overused on Pinterest boards and cheap posters plastered unto undergraduate dorm walls, there’s still a beauty found within St. Augustine’s words.

The beauty of escape - to explore places beyond expectations and understanding can be found within both bibliophiles and travelers. It comes to no surprise that bookshops have become popular tourist attractions – establishments like Shakespeare & Co and The Strand are just as iconic as the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building.

There are stunning bookshops around the world that exist beyond the U.S. and Europe, here are seven of our favorite bookstores around Asia:

Tsutaya in Ginza Six

Instagram Photo by: @ formdogold

Instagram Photo by: @formdogold

Located in The Ginza, Tokyo’s most famous shopping district, Tsutaya in Ginza Six is a tranquil escape for visitors. Peruse through their collection of 60,000 art books or head to the event space to see their seasonal collections, including an ancient Japanese sword collection.

Address: Japan, 〒104-0061 Tokyo, 中央区銀座6丁目10−1 GINZA SIX 6F


Instagram photo by: @ leonorachristinaskov

Instagram photo by: @leonorachristinaskov

Secretly tucked away in Singapore’s artsy Tiong Bahru neighborhood is the indie bookstore, BooksActually, home to a vast collection of Southeast Asian literary voices. For anyone looking to bring home a non-conventional souvenir, make sure to pick up one of their many books written by Singaporean writers and poets.

Address: 9 Yong Siak St, Singapore 168645

Sinheung Manbang (신흥만방)

Instagram photo by: @ buddahduck

Instagram photo by: @buddahduck

Once the home for military expats, the historic neighborhood of Haebangchon is now considered one of Seoul’s hottest neighborhoods, filled with restaurants and cafés. There you can find Sinheung Manbang, a manga café popular with the local youth looking for a quiet study spot that also doubles as a snack bar.

Address:2F,Sinheung-ro 12-gil 1,Youngsan-gu,Seoul

Yangzhou Zhongshuge

Instagram photo by: @ the.describer

Instagram photo by: @the.describer

Designed by the renowned architectural studio X+Living, Yangzhou Zhongshuge is considered by many as an architectural and literary feat. The mirrored floors and curved walls give the illusion of a never-ending tunnel of books, which (to me at least) is heaven on earth.

Address: 9th Alley, Guangling Qu, Yangzhou Shi, Jiangsu Sheng, China, 225002

Xi’an Zhongshu Bookstore

Instagram photo by: @iamsummerjames

Instagram photo by: @iamsummerjames

Designed by Shanghai-based Wutopia Lab, this bookstore looks straight out of a futuristic sci-fi novel. The curved walls and white color was crafted to resemble the mythic White Cloud Village. Head to the children’s section to see a cavernous exploration area that’s perfect for a game of hide-and-seek with your little one.

Address: 67 Ming Guang Lu, Weiyang Qu, Xian Shi, Shaanxi Sheng, China

Bleak House Books

Instagram photo by: @ bleakhousebookshk

Instagram photo by: @bleakhousebookshk

Founded by by ex-lawyer Albert Wan, Bleak House Books offers a quiet refuge for busy Hong Kongers with a large selection of second-hand English books.

Address: Well Tech Centre, Unit 5, 27/F, 9 Pat Tat St, San Po Kong, Hong Kong

Escents Bookcase

Photo credit:  HereNow

Photo credit: HereNow

Soak in publications on climate change, the environment and food in the the shelves of Escents Bookcase. Head next door to the adjoining restaurant, Sonnentor Cafe, to enjoy organic dishes and fresh tea.

Address: No. 7-1, Lane 22, Section 3, Xinsheng South Road, Da’an District, Taipei