CONTRIBUTED BY JEANINE CZUBIK

Oki Hai 17 Aug 09 007

A few months ago, I was looking for a suitable study guide to prepare for the Japanese language proficiency exam later this year.  A fellow teacher at the international language school where I work led me to the three-story Junkudo near Kokusai-dori.  She told me it is the largest bookstore on island and it is certainly on par with the average Barnes & Noble in the states.

There are five or six aisles (think Wal-Mart length aisles!) of English books – British and American classics, politics, fiction and non-fiction best sellers, travel, photography, architecture, linguistics, Okinawan history, children’s, abridged classics for pre-teens, and a huge kids section in the back to help raise a bilingual child.  Down one of the aisles, there is even a mini-museum of fossilized bones and animal skins.

I can tell from reading this site that there are some avid readers out here.  Readers, who like me, may love Amazon’s incomparable selection and speedy service, but miss the relaxation of leisurely strolling through a bookstore, flipping through a book simply because the title or cover art struck you.  Perhaps enjoying the quiet and relaxation of a latte without the chance of running into someone you know.

Like your favorite bookstore back home, there is an Italian coffee bar on the first floor of Junkudo, but you can order a real meal in addition to your coffee.  Instead of big comfy chairs to collapse in, there are simple wooden benches at the end of every aisle.  It may not be exactly like your bookstore back home, but with the largest selection of English books on island, it just might become your favorite bookstore in Okinawa.


Junkudo

Hours: Daily 1000-2200

Phone: 098-860-7175

Directions: 58 South to Maejima (just before signs to Kokusai –dori).  Turn left at the Family Mart and follow under the monorail.  Junkudo is on the right side down about one block.  Parking garage is across the street – Junkudo will validate up to 2 hours when you make a purchase.  To find the English books, take the escalator to the third floor, head to the aisles to your right.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for posting this!!! This is a great bookstore! I just wanted to add that the parking is free for any purchase for 1 hour. If you make a purchase only at Junkudo over 5000 yen then you get free parking for 2 hours!

  2. Thanks to Jannine and Jeanine for the extra directions. The Family Mart on the right was a good landmark too! I made my husband drive the family there this weekend and we found it….he has a much better sense of direction than me :). Now I just have to remember that the parking lot right next to the store is NOT the parking that they validate for! It is kind of across the street/catty-corner to the store. The also have a section of books in English marked down to 1000 yen! We found a good coffee table book and a Japanese cookbook!

  3. I drove to Junkudo last week and I did not see any sign for Maejima. I think the best sign to look for is probably Miebashi Station; once you see this sign you should also see a Family Mart on the RIGHT side of the road and that is your cue to turn LEFT and follow the monorail line. Do not turn at either of the Family Marts on the left side of the road. Hope that helps.

  4. Heather – you turned at the right Family Mart. Hope this helps.
    Here is the map offered on their website: http://www.junkudo.co.jp/nahaten.html
    I can’t read much Japanese and the web translation tools weren’t much help, but looking at this map: 58 is the top left road, so coming from the north (top of map) south, you turn left at the Family Mart, follow under the monorail (solid black line) and continue straight, and you’ll pass the bookstore on the right (yellow).
    On the bottom right of this map, there is the road from the left intersecting the road you come in on. There is a Softbank on the corner and the parking garage is across the street from both of these. The main entrance to the store is off the corner where this street intersects.

  5. I tried to find this store today…but I couldn’t. Is there any other land marks than the turn at Family Mart? Or “you know you’ve gone too far when you see….” And it is before Kokusai street…right? Sorry, I am not know for my sense of direction, but the only Family Mart I saw was the one that is under or on the bottom of a big building (not a stand alone kind of Family Mart) and I turned there, but didn’t see the store….any help would be greatly appreciated!

  6. Hi Jeanine! Thank you for this post! I was wondering if there were any good book stores that carry american books off base. I will check this place out ASAP!
    I read that you are a knitter! You should come knit w/our little group at the USO on KAB on Tuesday nights!

  7. Jeanine,
    Just so you know with amazon if you ship it free super saver shipping (all my book orders fall under that for being over $25 😉 ) Amazon automatically upgrades you to priority if its to an APO/FPO address.

  8. Prices are higher than Amazon but they are hard to beat on most everything! I needed a another Japanese book which the BX carries but was out of. I was able to pick it up at Junkado for less than it would have cost to priority ship it from Amazon in time. I want to say it was $25 at the BX and 3,000 yen at the bookstore, so not too much more.

  9. How are the book prices? One thing I’ve noticed out here in a few stores is that the english books tend to be a bit pricey.

    Not that it totally replaces real books, but I’ve also had great luck with amazon’s kindle. I had to ship it through shipitapo since they won’t send to APO/FPO, but its so nice to have books in a matter of minutes instead of weeks again 🙂

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