Free Public Libraries in Tokyo – Free Japanese Learning Textbooks – Guide and FAQ

Looking for a quiet place in Tokyo to study Japanese without having to pay any money?  Want to be able to loan free study materials – such as Japanese learning textbooks, and dictionaries?
If you are a short-medium term resident with a resident card in Japan – you can register for a free library card at most Japanese libraries.  And one of the best kept secrets of these libraries is that there are often comprehensive selections of Japanese learning textbooks available for rental.
In this blog article, we will be sharing with you about five free public libraries in Tokyo you can go to! Whether it is to study Japanese or find new books to read, this list of libraries is great for you to explore!

1. Tokyo Metropolitan Library (Central Library)

free public libraries in tokyo to learn japanese - tokyo metrapolitan central library
With 2 libraries, Central Library and Tama Library, Tokyo Metropolitan Library has around 2.59 million volumes of books, 10% of them being foreign language books. Most volumes are freely available on open stacks, however, individuals are not allowed to loan these materials out of the libraries.
Address: 5 Chome-7-13 Minamiazabu, Minato City, Tokyo 106-0047, Japan
Nearest Station: Hiro-o Station
Operating Hours: Monday to Friday 10 AM to 9 PM, Saturday, Sunday and Holidays 10 AM to 5.30 PM
Phone Number: 03-3442-8451
*Are there Japanese learning materials? -> Yes!

2. National Diet Library (Tokyo Main Library)

free public libraries in tokyo to learn japanese - national diet library ndl (tokyo main library)
Established in 1948, the National Diet Library is the national library of Japan. It is Japan’s biggest library and even one of the largest libraries in the world! In this library, only individuals aged 18 years and older are eligible to visit and request services. Although not required, registering as a user allows you to use the library in more convenient ways! One example is being able to assess the materials in closed stacks. With a user card, you are able to search, request, receive, return and have materials photocopied.

To register for a user card, do make sure you bring a driver’s license, health insurance card or other forms of identification indicating your name, address, and date of birth. If you do not intend on making a user registration, you are still required to apply for a One Day User Card in order to enter the library and use its materials.

Address: 1-10-1, Nagatacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-8924, Japan
Nearest Station: Nagatacho Station
Operating Hours: Monday to Friday 9.30 AM to 7 PM, Saturday 9.30 AM to 5 PM, Closed on Sundays
Phone Number: 03-3581-2331
*Are there Japanese learning materials? -> Yes!

3. Minato City Library (Mita Library)

free public libraries in tokyo to learn japanese - minato city library mita library

Minato City Library has a total of 7 libraries in Tokyo. Mita Library, conveniently located near the JR line and various subway stations, has the most visitors amongst the 7. There are many seats available for reading and studying in this library, and borrowing of library materials is available.

To borrow books in this library, you are required to receive a library card. As long as you live in Tokyo, you are eligible to apply. To do so, you would have to visit the library reception window to register. Do make sure you bring proof of identification with your address on it!

Address: 5-28-4 Shiba, Minato City, Tokyo 108-0014, Japan
Nearest Station: Tamachi Station, Mita Station
Operating Hours: Monday to Saturday 9 AM to 8 PM, Sunday and Holidays 9 AM to 5 PM
Phone Number: 03-3452-495
*Are there Japanese learning materials? -> Yes!
4. Japan Foundation Library
free public libraries to learn japanese - japan foundation library

Japan Foundation Library belongs to the Japan Foundation, a special legal entity dedicated to cultivating friendship and ties between Japan and the world. Japan Foundation Library has a vast collection of books and materials on Japan, and is open to all members of the public.

To borrow books from this library, you have to be 18 years of age or older. If you are a foreigner, you are able to borrow as well as long as you live at a fixed address for 2 months or longer. Before borrowing, you have to make a library registration with your own proof of identification.

Address: 4-4-1 Yotsuya, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0004, Japan
Nearest Station: Yotsuya-Sanchome Station
Operating Hours: Monday to Friday 10 AM to 7 PM, Closed on weekends and holidays
Phone Number: 03-5369-6086
*Are there Japanese learning materials? -> Yes!

5. Chiyoda Public Library

free public libraries in tokyo to learn japanese - chiyoda public library

Chiyoda Public Library has a collection of over 160,000 materials and many facilities available for public use. There are online database booth, internet use booth as well as many self-study and reading seats.

Anyone can make a library identification card as long as they reside in Japan and provide proof of identification during registration. With this card, you can borrow and reserve materials, book a seat in any of the library’s facilities and access online materials on the library website.

Address: 1 Chome-2-1 Kudanminami, Chiyoda City, Tokyo 102-8688, Japan
Nearest Station: Kudanshita Station
Operating Hours:

Monday to Friday 10 AM to 10 PM, Saturday 10 AM to 7 PM, Sunday and Holidays 10 AM to 5 PM

Phone Number: 03-5211-4289
*Are there Japanese learning materials? -> Yes!

Useful Question Sentences when at a Library in Japan


  • この本は どこで 見つける ことが できますか? Kono hon wa dokode mitsukeru kotoga dekimasuka? (Where can I find this book?)
  • この本を 見つけるのを 手伝ってもらえますか? Kono hon o mitsukeruno o tetsudattemoraemasuka? (Can you help me find this book?)
  • 図書館のカードを 作りたいです。Toshokan no ka-do o tsukuritai desu. (I want to make a library card.)
  • 図書館のカードを 作れますか? Toshokan no kaado o tsukuremasu ka? (Can I make a library card?)
  • この本を どうやって 借りられますか。Kono hon o douyatte kariraremasuka? (How can I borrow this book?)
  • この本を 返却する 方法は? Kono hon o henkyakusuru hohowa? (How can I return this book?)

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