With a narrow alleyway to guide patrons, bookstores both great and small face each other on both sides. So many books are crammed into scores of shops lining Bosudong Bookstore Alley, an iconic location in old Busan.
Stepping into the alley, one may feel like time has stopped. Following the outbreak of the Korean War, which resulted in an armistice agreement with the north in 1953, books from the United States military bases and those of refugees were widely circulated. This is how Bosudong Bookstore Alley found its footing in Busan.
The glory days for the alley were between the 1960s and 1980s, when about 80 used bookstores occupied this relic of the past. As the number of visitors sharply declined in the early 2000s, a number of shops closed their doors. Renewed interest and investment in the alley in recent years, however, has brought this unique attraction into a new age, as cafes and art galleries join book stores, creating a wider appeal for the alley. Such interest has even resulted in the area being used as a setting in a recent television drama.
The area merchant association has been holding a variety of events to revitalize business in the alley such as festivals, discount events, antique book exhibitions, art and humanities classes, bazaars and meet-and-greets with authors. Out-of-print books, antique books and lower-priced new publications are all available here. Finding scribbles or graffiti in ancient tomes can also be fun, as it serves as a doorway to the past.
How to get there: Jungang Station (Metro line 1), exit 7. Walk straight along Daecheong-ro (street) for about 15 to 20 minutes. Or, take bus 81 near exit 3 of Choryang Station (Metro line 1) or exit 7 of Busan Station (Metro line 1) and get off at the Bosudong Bookstore Alley (보수동 책방 골목) bus stop.