Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Battlestar or Bookshop - Coach and Four in Sapporo

6th August, 2010 - As a frequent visitor to Japan, I have found that my spending habits on coming back to Japan have been varying over the years. Over recent years, I've most probably turned away from the traditional "Japanese" things and souvenirs to more practical things. And one of those things are books... Japanese books are difficult to buy here in Adelaide, and when you can buy them, they're expensive. So I've been filling up my additional luggage quota on Qantas (most probably about 5+ kg of my 40 kg allowance) with books. Even English books which can be almost half price in Japan as compared to buying the same book back here in Australia. My wife is very tolerant of my book-buying sessions.

It's strange that even though there's so many resources on-line now (including yours truly), there's still few that come close to a nice book that you can curl up with and just flick through on a lazy Sunday... that is, if I had lazy Sundays.

There are a few decent bookshops in Sapporo - and perhaps the most well known is Kinokuniya, which is on the western exit coming out of Sapporo Station - in the Sapporo55 building. Another bookshop that you might want to check out if you're spending any time in Sapporo is the Coach and Four shop. Now, there are a few Coach and Four shops around Sapporo/Hokkaido, but the one I'm familiar with is on Shinkawa the area known as, strangely enough, Shinkawa.

View Sapporo Map in a larger map

Trust me, you would be hard-pressed not to be able to find it driving down Shinkawa Dori. It distinctive in it's decor (yes the image above is exactly how it appears). I have to say it looks like a cross between galactic battle-cruiser, a Pachinko parlour, and a rather corny looking Love Hotel (but that's a different story). The owners of the chain apparently liked the look, as all of the stores have the same exterior.

Source: the official site (no cameras allowed inside)

Oh well - it's the inside that counts. And the inside is where things get interesting. These are great places to not only buy books (including English books), but also magazines, textbooks, art-works, CD's and DVD's, stationary, Studio Ghibli goods (as well as a wide range of themed and brand-name items). There is also a large range of house-wares and decorations, as well as craft goods - and also a great range of 'Japanese' goods and materials. There's even a decent cafe there, and undercover parking.... what more could you want? Not much more.... seriously, this is always a must-visit shop when we return to Sapporo.

Well - here's some more images taken from the official Shinkawa website (as there was no cameras allowed in the store):
Source: Official website - home decorations

Source: Official website - Japanese items

Source: Official website - children section

Source: Offical website - character corner

Source: Official website - cafe Interlude
Overall - I'd have to say this is one of my fav shops in Sapporo. If you've not visited, take a look.


  1. Yeah, Kinokuniya has to be one of best bookstores in Japan. I was lucky enough to find some good English books in mine. I also really liked Maruzen in Nagoya as they had a large range of English magazines that I could get. A little pricy but worth it once in a while!!

    Japan Australia

  2. Your right - the mags are a little bit pricey... but it's good to find something that reminds you of home when you're so far away.

  3. Hey Ben, I just found this blog of yours! Love it! Following you in Google Reader now.

    (btw, the link to this one from your other blog does not work)

  4. Thanks for that... appreciate it (and also for the heads up on the link....).

  5. The place looks out of battlestar galactica. Great photo.

  6. Yeah... not exactly the sort of look that you'd think went with what is essentially a bookstore (though it's so much more than that). I don't know if there's a story behind the look, especially given that it's used on all of their store fronts.

    Somethings in Japan I suspect never need explanation.

  7. Is this one of those places you can only get to by car? Kino is the one I go to the most. Too bad we don't have a branch in Toronto. The closest is in NYC and it's not the same as the ones in Japan.