Jimbocho’s largest bookstore to be redeveloped

One of the largest and perhaps most well-known bookshops in Jimbocho Book Town will close its doors next March as the building prepares for redevelopment.

The Sanseido Bookstore building contains the bookstore and its head offices. The store was first founded in 1881, with the current building completed in 1981to commemorate the company’s 100th anniversary. The company announced its decision to demolish and redevelop the aging building on September 2. 

The redevelopment site is approximately 1,750 sqm. Demolition will start in April 2022 with the new building expected to be completed sometime in 2025 ~ 2026.

The land was originally home to the Kyukeisha – a small school established by Confucian scholar Kinichiro Koga and his father in 1841. 

Jimbocho is home to over 130 bookstores carrying millions of books, possibly making it the largest book town in the world. Its history goes back to the 1880s when several law schools opened up in the district, creating demand for various legal books, new and old. Nowadays you can find used bookstores covering every topic. Many of the stores are facing north to avoid the books from being damaged by the bright sunlight. The town’s characteristic used-book smell made it to the Ministry of Environment’s top 100 Fragrant Sceneries. 

Sources: 
Sanseido Bookstore News Release, September 2, 2021.
The Mainichi Shimbun, September 2, 2021.
Minna no Keizai Shimbun, September 7, 2021.

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