To step into Books Kinokuniya is to enter a world of pure delight. One wall is lined with shelves of the cutest, most huggable stuffed animals you’ve ever seen. Another features rows of slick-looking notebooks in a variety of sizes, paper types, and bindings. Kinokuniya is a massive bookstore chain in Japan, operating 71 stores there, but the U.S. has just a handful of locations, mainly along the West Coast. The Johns Creek store, which opened in June in the H Mart shopping center on Abbotts Bridge Road, is the first Southeastern location, but already, sales are rivaling those of the New York City store, says assistant store manager Shinobu Imazu.
The shop carries hundreds of volumes of Japanese-language and English-language manga, as well as hard-to-find imported artbooks for many favorite anime and video game franchises. A variety of Japanese-language books on everything from cooking to crafting to sneaker collecting leads to some unique finds. Want to learn to read the language? Pick up a copy of the Genki Japanese textbook, which sits prominently among a host of guides and study books. But the shop is not just for anime fans; customers have been gravitating toward Kinokuniya’s collection of Japanese stationery items—notebooks, pens, washi tape, stickers, stamps, erasers, sticky notes.
“At first we expected maybe our English manga or even our anime gifts to be more popular, but our stationery has been really popular,” Imazu says.
Figurines, tote bags, keychains, jewelry, and blind-box toys round out a truly wonderful selection of gifts, perfect for anyone difficult to shop for. Here, we picked out just a few of our favorite finds.
Silicone egg pouch “big size,” $24.95
These adorable silicone pouches come in a variety of shapes and sizes, as well as a variety of animals—Shiba Inu, penguin, and panda, to name a few.
Kinokuniya Atlanta canvas tote bag, $25
The shop sells a variety of cute totes, but it’s hard to resist this bright map of the metro, which features landmarks like the Big Chicken, the Varsity, and East Lake Golf Course. Notice a Braves tomahawk is marked at the former Turner Field site.
Spy x Family official anime guidebook, $29.99
Spy x Family is one of the most popular anime series in both the U.S. and Japan. Fans will delight in flipping through the pages of guidebooks like these, which feature storyboards and illustrations from the show, even if they can’t read the text.
This article appears in our September 2023 issue.