Walking in Tokyo is wonderful thing to do, especially if you appreciate architecture and interior design. It’s incredible but every modern building seems to have its own design language yet unlike the buildings in Dubai they don’t come across as some fantasy statement designed to outdo the guy across the street.
If you visit Tokyo you’ll no doubt come across the book chain Tsutaya Books which operates 1400 locations littered throughout Japan. Of all their stores, Dainkayama’s T-site has to be the most elaborate and engaging of them all. It was opened in 2011 commissioned by Tsutaya Books and designed by Klein Dytham Architecture, and features much more than books becoming a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
If you enter street side at the automotive section, the first item to greet you is the collection of brochures sometimes dating back to the 1960s. It’s rare to find a manufacturer these days who invests heavily in beautiful brochures but not that long ago they were works of art, designed to draw you into the world of a particular vehicle and build desire to the point it’s all you could think about. Sort your way through here and you may just find a brochure to your favourite classic or perhaps a car you owned in your youth.
Nearby there are rows of current magazines, mostly Japanese covering both motorcycles and cars. The selection is incredible given the decline in print, but the Japanese market hasn’t given up on it entirely which is great to see.
To the side resides a fantastic collection of books, journals, and back issues of magazines like the above Autosport section with issues dating back to 1967! Most marques are covered here but there are large sections dedicated to Porsche and Ferrari with other European manufacturers filling out the rest. Nearby you’ll find other sections too like car designers, travel, and sport.
If you venture upstairs you’ll be greeted but the luxurious cafe and bar Anjin Library & Lounge, able to serve you while you relax in one of the many couches, and read from the surrounding books and 30,000 vintage magazines lining the shelves. The shelves themselves are beautifully decorated with motoring artefacts like old leather helmets and the like. It would be easy to spend hours and hours here, with a hushed ambience that matches its clientele well.
There’s a whiff of money lingering at Daikanyama T-site, with well dressed Japanese gentlemen arriving in million dollar vehicles on an irregular basis. At any time in the car park you’ll find something of automotive interest and on the day I was there, I saw a rare Peugeot 205 T16, one of only 200 made for homologation. There was also an NSX and an air cooled 911 but on other days and times you might stumble across a meet up with many more rare and collectible cars.
The other wings to the site incorporate design, architecture, fashion, music, travel and much more. Nearby are restaurants and other shops like a Leica store, a gallery which at the time was running a Technics exhibition, and plenty of boutique dog services for locals.
Tsutaya Books at Daikanyama T-site is a must visit for anyone really, but if you’re into anything automotive or design you’re sure to be rewarded.
DAIKANYAMA T-SITE / DAIKANYAMA TSUTAYA BOOKS
150-003317-5 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
1F 7 days a week: 7am – 2am
2F 7 days a week: 9am – 2am