Yureki-Shobo @ Kanematu

When I bid farewell at Hana Chouchin, one of the sisters recommended another vintage bookshop, Yureki-Shobo, in the neighbourhood.
On my way to the bookshop, I came across Nishinomiya-jinja, a Shinto shrine, celebrating “Ebisu”,the Japanese god of fishermen and workingmen, as well as the guardian of the health of small children…

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It was a very cold day and a shimenawa, a think straw rope adorning the gate of shrine was swinging lightly in the wind time to time. By the way, the rope is believed to act as a ward against evil spirits…

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From Nishinomiya-jinja, the bookshop was a stone’s throw. On the side of a light-grey building with old-fashioned sliding doors, I found a sign with their logo on…

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The building used to be a disused factory. It was renovated in 2009, as a shared office space, a cafe, multi-purpose hall and a bookshop…

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I slid open a wooden door and found myself in the cafe. The smell of kerosene heater in the middle of the cafe was a welcoming scent for my frosty cheeks. A girl with an apron on approached me with smile and asked if I was here for coffee…

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The cafe was dotted with comfortable furnitures, such as Kotatsu. A kotatsu is a domestic heating device often laid out during Japanese winter time. A low, wooden table frame with a built-in electric heater is covered by a quilt, and on top of it, a table top is placed…

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Most of the guests sank themselves cozily in plush sofas placed in front of the bookshelves…

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In the showcase, a few buns were left but no cake…

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The bookshop I was after was to be approached through the cafe. Beyond another glazed sliding doors, there was a multi-purpose hall and the bookshop was adjacent to the hall…

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On the ceiling, there was an art-deco style lighting…

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And a globe in the middle of the shop floor.
All four walls, except around the door frame, were clad with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. This windowless square space, completed with the lighting and the glove in its centre, created a curious other-worldliness…

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Mr.Miyajima, the owner of the shop, working behind the till…

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He backpacked after graduating a local high school. During his wandering years, he encountered books left behind by fellow backpackers at youth hostels he stayed and by reading them, he found his journey even more enjoyable as well as reflective…

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Every single book on the shelves was handpicked by Mr.Miyajima at various book auctions all over Japan, reflecting his diverse interest and expert knowledge of each subject. He certainly was a concierge for any book lover.
A magic carpets in the shape of book is available at Yureki-Shobo. Just tell Mr.Miyajima where you want to travel to and he will pick the best book for you from the shelves…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

13 thoughts on “Yureki-Shobo @ Kanematu

  1. looks like you’ve been trekking all over nagano! i’m a little jealous you’ve found so many cool temples and bookstores. and see if you can put in a good word with yebisu for me; i’m going to try to go hunt some namako this weekend.

    make sure to stay warm. izu is still nice, almost like autumn. i don’t even want to imagine the weather you guys are getting in nagano.

    • Hi Misha, happy new year!
      Nagano is really really cold but I am taking a walk almost everyday. The shops, especially around Zenkoji, are original and retro. I like them a lot. I truly hope they will stay in Nagano for good. A cold spell is arriving soon, even to Izu. So you also wrap up warm! I am wearing two layers of fleece and 1 puffa vest as well as 2 socks & fake ugg boots. I’d never worn this many clothing in one go before. I look like a sumo wrestler!! Are you catching namako??? You mean that big worm-like creature in the sea? How are you gonna cook them??? I’ll pray Yebisu for you anyway…

      • i cut them open, sashimi them into ribbons, and then mix them with oroshi daikon. it is so good with rice. they look pretty gross, but they taste great.

      • i befriended an old lady who owns a bait and tackle shop by the harbor. she’s lived in that house for almost fourty years now. the house is about twenty feet from my fishing spot.

        this last summer, whenever i went fishing in the morning and ended up super sunburned, i would take my catch over to her house and she would teach me how to prepare it. then we’d eat lunch together. she’s taught me how to cook saba, tachiuo, anko, sanma, namako, kasago, and aji in all sorts of ways.

  2. I am finding your posts from Nagano absolutely fascinating especially all the pictures. I’ve never been to Japan, but my ex-husband used to go quite a bit to Tokyo for business and so I’ve seen his pics of the city, tourists spots and the subway, but he only got out of Tokyo to visit car plants. Your photos are a real education and it all looks so interesting. Thank you.

    • Not at all! I am so happy that my posts are enjoyable for you. In recent years, Nagano, especially around Zenkoji, is changing for the better. Interesting independent shops are emerging which attract tourists and locals alike. I am visiting Tokyo with my mum for 3 days on my way back to UK. I am hoping that I can blog about another face of Tokyo too! ☺️ x

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