Libraries Outside Tokyo

List of libraries outside Tokyo having a good collection of photo books.

Compiled by Philbert Ono, Last updated: March 1, 2011

Takarazuka Media Library 宝塚メディア図書館
Address: 〒665-0035 宝塚市逆瀬川1-13-1アピア3 2階
Apia 32nd floor, Sakasegawa 1-13-1
Hyogo, JAPAN 665-0035
Phone: (0797) 76-5720
Fax: (0797) 76-5725
Hours: 12:00-19:00, closed Tue., summer, year end and New Year’s
Remarks: Excellent collection of photo books, art and design books, music books, film books, magazines, videotapes, CDs, DVDs, and all issues (1800) of Life magazine. It has about 30,000 books (as of Feb. 2011). To view the library materials, you must register as a free member. To borrow library materials, you must become a paying member.. It costs only a few thousand yen to become a member. The old Saito Media Library in Osaka merged with this library. One-minute walk from Sakasegawa Station on the Hankyu Imazu Line. 阪急今津線逆瀬川駅より徒歩1分

Kyoto International Community House Library (Kyoto-shi Kokusai Koryu Kaikan Toshoshitsu)
Address: 京都市左京区粟田口鳥居町2番地の1
2-1 Torii-cho, Awataguchi
Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, JAPAN 606-8536
Phone: (075) 752-3010
Fax: (075) 752-3510
Hours: 9:30-20:00, closed Mon. (open if a national holiday and Tue. is closed instead)
Remarks: The Kyoto International Community House is a public facility operated by the city of Kyoto through the Kyoto City International Foundation. It is a large public facility with conference rooms, an event hall, a library (with English materials), Internet terminals, restaurant, and exhibition room. Besides renting out their facilities, they offer language and culture classes. It is a popular place for Kyoto’s foreign and internationally-minded residents and students to hang out. There are currently about 22,000 books and materials housed within the library. It is possible to browse freely through maps, magazines and newspapers from around the world, along with a selection of books and materials from both overseas and Japan. The library has two photo books (one by IZIMA Kaoru and one titled “Naked Women,” both are autographed) donated by PhotoGuide Japan in Nov. 2001.) Near Keage Station (Tozai subway line).

Nagoya International Center Library 名古屋国際センターライブラリー
Address: Nagoya Kokusai Center Bldg. 3F
Nagono 1-47-1, Nakamura-ku
Nagoya, Aichi, JAPAN
Phone: (052) 581-0102
Hours: 9:00 – 19:00 (till 17:00 on Sun. and holidays), closed Mon., second Sun. in Feb. and Aug., Dec. 29-Jan. 3
Remarks: The library is part of the Nagoya International Center established in 1984 to promote international exchange between Japanese and foreigners in Nagoya. The libary has a good collection of English books, newspapers, magazines, and videos. Emphasis on the Chubu region. Near Kokusai Center Sta. on Sakura-dori subway line. Also walkable (7 min.) from JR Nagoya Station. 名古屋国際センターは、名古屋駅から東へ徒歩7分、又は地下鉄桜通線「国際センター」駅で下車して下さい。国際センタービルと地下鉄駅は地下でつながっています。

Hakodate Photo Archives (Hakodate Shashin Toshokan)
Address: 北海道函館市豊川町9-23
Toyokawa-cho 9-23
Hakodate, Hokkaido, JAPAN 040-0065
Phone: (0138) 27-1018
Fax: (0138) 27-1018
Hours: Closed in 2007.
Remarks: The Hakodate Photo Archives has closed. It was a registered non-profit organization that collects, researches, preserves, and exhibits photographs. It operates the Hakodate Shashin Toshokan (photo library) that opened in Oct. 2001 and the HPA Gallery, an exhibition space in the library. The library has many open stacks of photography-related books. It also holds seminars and workshops and offers memberships. Admission charged.

Nara City Museum of Photography Reading Room 奈良市写真美術館
Address: 奈良県奈良市高畑町600-1
Takabatake-cho 600-1
Nara-shi, Nara, JAPAN 630-8301
Phone: (0742) 22-9811
Fax: (0742) 22-9722
Hours: 9:30-17:00, closed Mon. (open if a national holiday and closed on Tue. instead), the day after a national holiday, Dec. 27 to Jan 3.
Remarks: Western Japan’s largest museum dedicated to photography opened in April 1992. Designed by KUROKAWA Kisho (who later won the 1991 Japan Art Academy Award), the museum was built upon the donation of IRIE Taikichi’s photographs (80,000 shots) taken during his lifetime. This museum’s little reading room (shiryo kanran-shitsu) is small but large enough to keep you reading and looking at the photo books for a day or two. JR・近鉄奈良駅から市内循環バスで「破石町(わりいしちょう)」下車、東へ徒歩10分、新薬師寺西側

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Philbert Ono

Owner, operator, and Webmaster of PhotoGuide Japan ( and PHOTOGUIDE.JP.

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