A book shop or a haunted house? You’ll find a little of both at this spot in Hyogo Prefecture.
Do you have a ghost story you like to bring out around the campfire? A shocking supernatural phenomenon that you almost can’t believe you experienced? Well, you might be interested in visiting the “Ghost Story Trade Office” (怪談売買所/Kaidan Baikaijo) in Amagasaki, Hyogo. At this unique establishment, you can buy or sell ghost stories for 100 yen (~1USD) each.
This strange shop was created by Japanese scary story writer Shikataro Utsuro, who also runs an NPO created to promote and maintain the traditional culture of ghost stories and local legends. While the shop also sells used books, clearly the oral tradition of storytelling is alive and well in this little Hyogo enclave.
Utsuro is a collector, and he’s looking for “true stories” at the Ghost Story Trade Office. Anyone can come to the shop and sell a story for a 100 yen, by telling the story of their own personal supernatural experience, or buy one for 100 yen, and listen to another person’s tale. On a normal day, there’s no time limit for selling stories, so it’s a great place to share the saga of your personal haunting. On busy days, to let other people participate, each person is limited to 15 minutes.
So far, Utsuro has collected about 700 different ghost stories, and more than 500 of those have been obtained through this scary story trade. But he’s not quite free to share all of those with the world! Each story has a different weight to it, and some are quite personal, so the author will always check with the storyteller, and ask if the story can be shared or used in a book. He still buys lots of scary stories just to keep to himself, though.
Surprisingly or not, the place has a lot of repeat customers (and sellers). Lots of people love to have someone listen to their mysterious experience, so they take the shop seriously, telling their story and enjoying the chance to share.
More realistic than any horror movie you’ve ever seen, and surprisingly exhilarating for a little shop in Hyogo, the Ghost Story Trade Office is one unique store front! So, do you have a scary story to share? Or are you ready to listen? Head over to Hyogo to take part in this unique kind of trade!
Name: Ghost Story Trade Office (怪談売買所/Kaidan Baikaijo)
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