Explore the city's second and largest Tsutaya Books
The city's second Tsutaya Books bookstore is much larger and more interesting than its first location. Located on the fourth floor of the newly opened shopping landmark Taikoo Li Qiantan in the Pudong New Area, it has been a highlight of the 120,000-square-meter complex even before its opening on November 12.
Promoting a wellness-themed experiential shopping concept, Taikoo Li Qiantan is famous for its 450-meter-long Sky Loop, an ideal place for people to walk and run. Advanced technologies are embedded into the area to keep track of your movement through facial scanning, making it the first artificial intelligence-tracking retail complex in Shanghai. AI-backed locker rooms and shower rooms are installed along the route.
To integrate into the complex, the 2,800-square-meter Tsutaya Books is themed on the idea of a "wellness community." The theme is exemplified in its innovative design and selected products – not limited to the stylish cultural and creative products, but also food and cosmetics as well.
The skylight and sunshine create a "wellness area" where bookshelves are shaped into a circle. Standing on the middle of the escalator with the sunshine will create a light-hearted feeling.
Tsutaya's first bookstore inhabited a 1930s villa of Columbia Circle, with the historic building's splendor overshadowing the bookstore itself. The columned hallways and grand aura are the main aspects of the first store's character.
But it's the second one that has brought the Tokyo lifestyle to Shanghai. In addition to some exorbitant exhibits in the glass cases, most of the products are affordable and cute, tempting visitors to buy.
The shop-within-a-shop design has upgraded the bookstore into a lifestyle center where one can spend a whole day The new Tsutaya includes a main area for books and five additional shops inside, from dining to cosmetics, offering a creative and unique shopping experience.
Among a huge selection of books (about 53,500 according to Tsutaya), most of the titles are about art and culture. There are Japanese and English language sections, each taking up about two shelves.
The book area is separated from the crowds of the popular creative products area, making it an ideal place for reading – quiet with fewer people.
Tsutaya Taikoo Li houses an exhibition by German art book publisher TASCHEN. Tsutaya's signature "Big-Books" are on display, such as the most representative and expensive "Ferrari Book."
The book about Ferrari in the shape of a car engine with materials used in the cars on its cover sells for 395,000 yuan (US$61,909). It is now only available for sale in China in this particular store.
Another highlight is the bookstore's limited-edition book, "KUMA Kengo WOOD – Materiality of Architecture" by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who designs National Stadium of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. An autographed version is also available in limited quantities.
Meanwhile, flower paintings of 94-year-old American artist Alex Katz are on display through January 31, 2022.
The coffee area, Cafe Stand, is at least three times larger than its Columbia Circle store, with a Japanese-style mini garden in the middle of the bar counter – which makes me feel relaxed even when alone.
Most highly recommended is the matcha product, made of Chinese green tea harvested in spring.
Beauty and food are two distinct sections of this "wellness community," presented in books, small shops inside the bookstore itself, and interactive pop-ups.
Now, Shiseido's new skincare brand BAUM has set up a kiosk. The brand focuses on "the power of trees." The sustainable concept can be experienced – I was invited to sit on a wooden chair, and after scanning a QR code, a tree grew on the background screen, and a video was sent to my WeChat account.
A wide selection of creative products can be found at themed booths.
At the Book and Cafe Socks booth, you can find pairs of specially designed socks with book patterns on the heels. As if echoing the design, books themed on socks are displayed with those socks.
At the Japanese doll booth, a large group of Japanese fortune cats wave to you. Do not miss the special one by Japanese doll brand "木目込人形" (Kimekomi Dolls). Their cats are said to bring beauty and health.
There are collections of artcrafts, pens and watches, priced from affordable to exorbitant. And there are also popular Japanese cartoon stickers, which occupy dozens of shelves, priced around 20 yuan for each.
BoboLEE Garden is a dessert shop offering amazing cakes and a pink terrace, while 1010HOPE & THE LAUNDRESS is a multi-brand store that embodies healthy, organic and eco-friendly beauty products as well as laundry detergents.
OISHII Food Pavilion (匠の饗宴) offers Japanese food and kitchen supplies, such as Hokkaido high-quality rice and ingredients, and popular drinks and snacks in Japan.
Another coffee shop, CONTACT, provides coffee and craftworks. It's more modern and younger in feel as compared to the Cafe Stand.
Zakuzaku, a Japanese shop for freshly produced cream puffs, will open in December.
BoboLEE Garden and CONTACT have their own entrances. To avoid crowds, you can book a visiting time in advance via the Tsutaya Books WeChat mini-program.
Tsutaya Books Taikoo Li Qiantan
Address: 4/F, 500 Dongyu Rd
Opening hours: 10am-10pm