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Great Finds at the Kanda Used Book Festival, Annual Festival of Books in Tokyo

Jinbocho, Tokyo has a used book store district that is well known in Japan. It is said that there are about 180 used book stores in this district and various types of books are sold here of various genres and ages, such as antique books that you would only seen in places like museums, original manuscripts by famous authors, manga, picture books, and stylish looking foreign photography books. 

Just walking through the area and gazing at the books that line the stores should stimulate your interest and make you lose track of time. Every year, come autumn, this district which is filled with such amazing books holds an event that is a particularly exciting event of each year. It is the “Kanda Furuhon Matsuri” or the Kanda Used Book Festival.


What is the Kanda Used Book Festival?

Writer’s Photo

It is a used books market that is held every October in which the entire area of the used book store district of Jinbocho, Kanda in Tokyo becomes the venue. It is a festival that has a history since 1960. Other than books sold at a discount, they offer auctions, workshops, talk shows by celebrities and a variety of events during the festival period.

The year 2016, which marks the 57th time the festival has been held, the event goes on for 9 days from October 28th to November 6th. Many people, particularly bibliophiles were seen walking around the district in search of their favorite books.

Here we would like to introduce the sights from this annual festival.


Check out a 500 meter long “Corridor of Books”

Writer’s Photo

Writer’s Photo

The main part of the used books festival is the year’s biggest bargain on books. Shelves of books line not only the inside of the used book stores but out on the pedestrian walkway in front of the stores. This forms a “corridor of books” that goes on for about 500 meters. It can be said that this is the sight that represents the used books festival. It’s amusing to see the passersby all intently looking into each of the book shelves to see if there are any books that catch their interest. 


Number of Used Books Offered are About 1 Million

Writer’s Photo

Writer’s Photo

Writer’s Photo

Indeed as it is said this is the world’s biggest used books district event, there is a tremendous number of books offered at the venue. The number of books is about 1 million. You can search for a particular item you are looking for or visit the area without any expectations and look forward to a chance encounters with some wonderful books. In any case, the entire city is filled with books from corner to corner; you would not get bored if you spent the whole day wandering around the area.


Lots of Excitement at the Jinbo Charity Auction

An auction is held in which the book stores of the district offers items and anyone can participate. Bidders call out their bids so the venue becomes filled with excitement. Participate and it may be your chance to acquire a rare treasure?


Also Celebrating the Jinbocho Book Festival

Writer’s Photo

During the Used Books Festival, there is another event held, which is called the Jinbocho Book Festival. Publishers set up booths to offer new and rare books at discounted prices.

Here, there are not only sale of books, but also live music events and other vendors that offer food and drinks. We also recommend you to walk around the city of books while enjoying some snacks.


Writer’s Photo

Other than the above, there are other events taught by professionals in which participants can experience making their own personal seal that can be used to mark your book collection. You will not only encounter rare books, but experience many fun events that are related to books in the Kanda Used Books Festival. Even if you are not a bibliophile, if you are interested in getting to know and enjoying a traditional event of Tokyo, we encourage you to visit the event. Official WebsiteMap

Related Articles:
A Tour of Tokyo Jinbocho, the Largest Town of Used Book Stores in Japan

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About the author

I'm interested in general in all things related to culture and fine arts with a focus on movies, art, and design. I hope to introduce to many people all the different sides to Japan in regards to Japanese culture.

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