NIPPONIA No.24 March 15, 2003
Japan Travelogue


The World's Greatest Second-hand
Book Store District

Written by Fukuda Yusuke
Photos by Kono Toshihiko

Old and second-hand book shops on Yasukuni Avenue. There are always potential customers looking at books displayed out front.

The Kanda Jimbocho district has so many old bookstores lined up side by side that this part of Tokyo is known even in other countries as the "book capital" of Japan. You'll find most of the stores on Yasukuni Avenue, about 500 meters north of the Imperial Palace in central Tokyo. There are almost 160 of them in an area of just half a square kilometer, and the total inventory exceeds 10 million volumes. This is the largest book market in the world, in terms of store density, inventory and content.
People come from all over Japan, hoping to find that special book. Some mornings, book lovers line up in front of certain stores, waiting for the doors to open.
Kanda Jimbocho is Japan's emporium for old and second-hand books. The shops operate independently of each other, and specialize in one subject or another. Because so many stores are concentrated in a single district, the group as a whole can offer books in most fields.


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