Image of storefront at night

The Most Minimal Bookstore Ever

If you’re anything like us, walking into a massive bookstore can cause hyperventilation, salivating, and torn on how much money you can actually spend. This can be traumatic for friends who don’t understand the extent of love for books and it is probably also not the best mental state to be in.


At Morioka Bookstore in Tokyo, you can eliminate those side effects of loving literature. Actually, you cut them down drastically. The store, in upscale shopping district Ginza, has what most would call limited selection. The first week of their opening, customers could buy FISH-MAN by Masaru Tatsuki.


Image of Morioka Bookstore


A reader looks at the featured book in store via Spoon & Tomago


… And only that. Each week, only copies of one book are for sale. Sometimes, related art will be displayed in the store, but it is otherwise fairly minimal.


Owner, Yoshiyuki Morioka says in an interview with the Guardian “Before opening this bookstore in Ginza, I had been running another one in Kayabacho for 10 years. There, I had around 200 books as stock and used to organize several book launches per year. During such events, a lot of people visited the store for the sake of a single book. As I experienced this for some time, I started to believe that perhaps with only one book, a bookstore could be managed.”


Image of Owner in front of store


Yoshiyuki Morioka in front of Morioka Bookstore, via HereNow


While there have been several times where readers have had to waddle out of a bookstore with novels stacked to their chin, wedged under their armpits, sometimes you just want one book, maybe like “FISH-MAN.”


“The concept of this bookstore seems to have gained the sympathy of a lot of people, and I receive a number of guests from all over the globe,” says Morioka.


Issatsu, Isshitsu (一冊、一室) is a phrase that means “A single room, a single book.” It is stamped on their window, and it not only a major part of their branding but explains the whole notion of their store. The bookstore now lets readers interact with the author while indulging in the environment, made to create the essence of the book.



A view of inside the store.

A view inside the store, via Morioka Bookstore


The building, itself, also has a literary history. It was once home to Nippon Kobo, a publisher with the intentions of sharing Japan’s high culture with the world.


The growth of this company has led them to add Morioka Bookstore Comprehensive Research Institute. On their website, they describe it “like a Morioka bookstore without space.”


Cover of "Flower Becoming Your Life"


“Flower Becoming Your Life” cover, via Ikanika


Their most recent book, “Flower Becoming Your Life” had an event at which they hosted a wine bar with a wine stylist.


Feature image courtesy of Morioka Bookstore