Photo City Tokyo

So Books: The Thrill of the Rare Photo Book Find

Culture

Set in a quiet Tokyo neighborhood, So Books offers patrons a wide selection of photography books to browse through, each carefully selected by discerning owner Ogasawara Ikuo. Whether shopping for a gift or having a casual look, customers will enjoy perusing the shop’s collection of hard-to-find items.

The hunt for rare books generally takes shoppers to the Tokyo district of Jinbōchō, with its dozens of antiquarian booksellers. But hard-to-find treasures are also waiting to be unearthed in shops like So Books, a small store in the quiet neighborhood of Yoyogi Hachiman, just a stone’s throw from the sprawling Meiji Shrine. Launched as Bookstore Ogasawara in 2001, the shop—a pioneer in selling books over the Internet—only had an online presence until the brick-and-mortar So Books opened in 2008. While the shop specializes in photography books, it also stocks an eclectic range of works from other art genres.

Over the years, shop owner Ogasawara Ikuo has developed a sharp eye for selecting photo books, using it to stock the store’s shelves with well-preserved and reasonably priced second-hand editions. He also uses his talents to help patrons in unearthing rare items.

The main display area boasts an abundance of books for visitors can peruse, with a storehouse in the yard behind the shop containing still more select works. And customers unable to find what they are looking among the neatly arranged bookcases need only seek out Ogasawara, who stands ready with his deep knowledge of the photography publishing scene.

Address: 1-47-5 Uehara, Shibuya, Tokyo, 151-0064 (Two-minute walk from Yoyogi Hachiman and Yoyogi Kōen Stations) Hours: 13:00–19:00, closed Sundays and Mondays Tel: 03-6416-8299 Web: https://sobooks.jp/

(Originally published in Japanese May 22, 2017. Text by Matsumoto Tomoki. Photos by Takahashi Munemasa.)

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