How can I find a specific book in a Japanese bookshop? How are the books arranged? By author, company, publisher, other?

Last updated

I'm particularly interested in rummaging through some second hand bookshops during my visit, like BOOKOFF for example. I want to buy books written in Japanese, not in English. I know hiragana, katakana and around 700 kanji, but I'm not sure how to find books about certain topics or authors even if I bring their full name written down. 
Yoshie Yanagida Yoshie Yanagida, Living in Japan

Answered over 1 year ago

Generally those are stacked in the self with categorized by genre like travel, cooking, hobby, nature, or magazine and so on.
You could find what you want by Kiosk device in large store, but you would not do in the small one. However, you can ask at the service counter or cashier with showing your memo. They would help you.

If you like old Japanese books so much and you stay in Tokyo, I recommend go to Jimbocho area because there is one of the most famous town of old Japanese books.

I hope this message would help you and enjoy your trip!
Victor Selles

Commented over 1 year ago

Thank you, Yoshie! Will do! :)

Yuri Yuri, Living in Japan

Answered over 1 year ago

Hello, I’m glad to hear you’ll come to Japan:) 
In general bookstores, books are classified according to their categories(like business, travel, history) and arranged each authors especially in essays and comics. I think BOOKOFF too.
If you want to find the specific books, you can search them on a search machine,検索機 (けんさくき). You can also ask help from clerks by telling them the name of title. They'll lead you where the books are located.
I hope this works.
Victor Selles

Commented over 1 year ago

Hi, Yuri. Thank you very much for your answer, it’s very helpful! I’m just curious now, but how are authors arranged in a shelf by name? Is it by radical and then by number of strokes as it will be in a kanji dictionary? Or is it by following the kana order? For example, if I want to find a book by三島由紀夫 (Mishima Yukio), I wonder if he would be located after 丸山 健二 (Maruyama Kenji) and before (村上 春樹) Murakami Haruki.