The Shin Anime Shopper's Guide to the San Francisco Bay Area

Shin. New; novel; modern.

Introduction Notes on web pages Mass Transit Tips Terminology
San Francisco      

Richmond District

East Bay    



Oakland Richmond
South Bay  

Morgan Hill


Mountain View


San Jose

Many years ago Stephen Mah produced an excellent guide called "An Anime Shopper's Guide to the SF Bay Area" but over five years later, in 1998, as there had been no updates I felt it was time to create a totally new replacement on the web.
This page may be distributed freely as text as long as it remains unaltered and proper credit is given to the author and all contributors. Any text distribution should include the date it was copied from the web. I ask that people not mirror the document but link to it instead to prevent out of date pages from existing.
This page shall be considered the authoritative version of the guide.
All links to retailers in this guide shall be written out for easy use as printed text.
Omake, a little extra.
There are some stores that are not major places to check for anime or manga related goods but have interesting items and are worth looking at if you happen to be near them.
I also include places to eat in some areas.
Don't buy pirated goods. Pirated goods reduce fan access to quality goods by undercutting the market for licensed releases and reducing imports of legitimate goods. For information on how to spot pirated goods see the Pirate Anime FAQ
Notes on web pages:
Store web pages are always incomplete, keeping a web page up to date is labor intensive so much of what is in a store never makes it to a page.
Calling or emailing are good ways to find out if a store has that hard to get item you want, or better yet drop by and find what you never thought to ask for.

Mass Transit Tips:

Always have change and one dollar bills as bus drivers cannot give change.
BART tickets should be purchased for a round trip.
BART has a web page with schedules and if you have a PDA or iPod you can even download a quickplanner so you will have the schedules with you..
You need the ticket to exit BART so keep it with you at all times, when a ticket is fully used up the exit gate keeps it and lets you out, if it is your first time on BART you may want to add a nickel more to the ticket so you will have it as a souvenir when the rest of the fare is used up.
Transfers are free in SF and a quarter extra in the East Bay. You should always get a transfer from the driver when boarding a bus in SF and probably won't need one in the East Bay depending on where you are going and how long you plan to be there. In the East Bay my advice is don't get a transfer as it probably will expire before you are done shopping and the stores are all within walking distance of a BART station.
Transit information for the nine Bay Area counties is available at:


Quick tour of San Francisco:

If you don't have much time and wish to hit one area with alot of shops try Japan town.

The shops to focus on are:


Nihonmachi (Japan Town) is a major collection of shops in a small area which has long been popular with anime and manga fans.
Besides shops to buy anime and manga related items you will find food stores which may have candy boxes with series related toys inside, note that these toys will usually be for shows that are current in Japan.
Some shops may close for major holidays, including Japanese holidays. The biggest of such is New Year's when the entire mall closes. So is you plan to be in the area don't be surprised.

Getting there:

Western Addition
Major Cross Streets:
Geary and Fillmore
Street parking is best to the north, one can also park in the strip mall lot on the south side of Geary off Fillmore and take the pedestrian bridge to the Kintetsu Building in Japantown, there is also a parking garage underneath the Japantown mall with entrances off of Geary and Post (one block north of Geary)

Mass Transit:
By way of BART:

Get off at Montgomery Street Station, use the Post Street exit.

You will be on Market Street, face the street and you will see a clock tower at the Bay end of the street to your left, if its on your right you took the wrong exit and need to cross market.

Incidentally you are standing near the Hobart Building which can be seen on the Japanese LD cover for the Blue Seed OVA series.

Walk up the street away from the clock tower to a bus stop for the 38 line. The bus stop is less than half a block if you have reached Geary you have walked too far and need to turn up Geary to the first stop. On weekdays and Saturdays there is a 38 L express bus which is much faster. Ride the bus to Japantown and start shopping. You may want to get off at Fillmore which places you at the Kinokuniya Building. There is an entrance on Post street one block north up Fillmore.

The Hobart Building
Local buses to Japantown from other parts of San Francisco include the 22 Fillmore and the 1 California which goes a few blocks north of the shopping area.

Kinokuniya Building (the Western wing of the mall)

Kinokuniya Bookstore (upper level)
Kinokuniya anime and manga store (lower level)
1581 Webster St
San Francisco, CA 94115
415-567-4109 FAX
The major manga, book and magazine stop in SF. The anime and manga section has it's own store on the floor below and can also be accessed through a stairway in the main store. Almost all of the lower level store is filled with manga in both Japanese and English. This is also where you will find Japanese anime related magazines and books. Calendars are available in season.
The English manga selection is the largest in the Central Bay Area and is a great place to find copies of titles that have been out for some time.
Japantown Collectibles (lower level)
1581 Webster St
San Francisco, CA 94115
An interesting shop filled with model kits and figurines. I make this one of my stops each time I visit Japantown.

Kintetsu Building (the Middle wing of the mall, West of the Peace Pagoda)

After exiting the main (upper) Kinokuniya store you can cross the bridge, or take the elevator downstairs, exit the building go East on Post and enter near the Peace Pagoda.
1737 Post Street #325
Japan Center San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone:(415) 674-1345
Fax:(415) 674-1346
Originally an accessory shop for women and girls they quickly added anime related items. There are many character goods from Studio Ghibli titles as well as some model kits. LOTS of plushies.
Omake (another)
1737 Post Street #345
Japan Center San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone:(415) 346-0332
nippon-ya sells traditional sweets, I suspect the home office is in the Kyoto-Osaka area as many of the sweets they sell are traditional wagashi, and they also stock small Hanshin Tiger baseball team goods.
They also have traditional cheap sweets such as kuroame, in fact I'm sucking on one now, basically it is a hard candy made with black sugar.

Japan Video
1737 Post St.
SF, CA 94115
(415) 563-5220
Their anime selection is one of the largest in the country. You can find many hard to locate titles and if you have that bent (and are old enough) they have a selection of erotic anime.
Their shelving is a little erratic so if you don't see what you want ask.
In recent years they have greatly expanded their selection of domestically released videos for sale and added books, manga, toys, t-shirts, posters etc.

Buchanan Mall and Post Street

This is the area across Post from the Peace Pagoda, a local landmark is Soko Hardware on the corner of Buchanan and Post.
New People
1746 Post St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
One building with a series of interesting shops and a gallery, the basement level is taken up by the Viz Cinema a high quality small theater that usually has Japanese works on the bill.
Mifune Don
After all that shopping you are probably hungry. Walk East of the plaza with the Peace Pagoda into the East wing of the mall area. In the middle of the lobby is a staircase, go upstairs and near the top you will find Mifune a great small noodle place, I recommend the yakisoba.
[Not to be confused with the larger Mifune in the restaurant mall.]


RICHMOND DISTRICT (Including "New Chinatown")

Mass Transit:
The easiest way to get there from outside SF is to take BART to Montgomery Street Station and follow the directions given above for getting to Japantown, instead of getting off at Japantown stay on for some distance until you reach the numbered streets.
Street parking.
Cards & Comics Central
5424 Geary (at 19th)
San Francisco, CA
Tel: (415) 668-3544.
Highly recommended!
They carry the biggest selection of Japanese figurines, toys and memorabilia I have seen anywhere.
They also have a very good selection of translated manga,.
Heroes Club
840 Clement Street (at 10th)
San Francisco, CA 94118-2219
Tel: (415) 387-4552
Fax: (415) 387-5229
Some Japanese injected models, garage kits, toys and model making supplies.
The stock constantly changes so every visit can bring you new temptations. I have found these guys helpful when looking for information on model building and painting techniques



Mass Transit:
By way of BART:
Get off at the Ashby station for Other Change of Hobbit or Downtown Berkeley station for the other locations in Berkeley.
By Bus from San Francisco.
Take the F bus from the Transbay Terminal, it goes to Adeline (for the Other Change of Hobbit) and onwards to downtown Berkeley, if you stay on it it loops around the campus and you can get off at Telegraph Avenue. There is also an FS bus that goes to downtown but not near Telegraph.

Downtown Berkeley

Local lots and street parking exist, watch your meter time the city of Berkeley is very efficient and that includes the meter folks. I advise you use mass trasit for easier travel.
Mass Transit:
Besides BART the local busses that reach the downtown area include the 1, 7, 8, 9, 15, 18, 51, 64, 65, and F.
Half Price Books
Kress Building/Arts District
2036 Shattuck Ave. (Between University Ave and Addison)
Berkeley, CA 94704
VOICE: (510) 526-6080
Fantastic Comics
2026 Shattuck (Between University Ave and Addison)
Berkeley, CA 94704
VOICE: (510) 848-2988
Mass Transit:
If exiting BART stay on the West side of Shattuck, head north (hills on your right are East) towards University Avenue for a little over one block..
If taking a bus get off at BART or University Avenue & Shattuck.
A small but good selection of translated manga.

Telegraph Avenue

Telegraph Avenue is Berkeley's most famous street, so famous that people often come just to see it and shop in the stores and buy crafts from the local artisans. Some find the people on Telegraph a little scary, in fact the odder looking folks are almost always tourists themselves doing some shopping and are quite harmless.
Parking is very difficult near Telegraph Ave. due to the huge number of students and staff at U. C. Berkeley. The easiest place to park is the city garage between Durant and Channing, other good locations are side streets south of Dwight, but watch your time, most days street parking is limited to two hours even in unmetered residential areas without a resident sticker for that area on your car.
If you plan to go on a Saturday check to see if that day a football game day, parking is far worse on those days with lots filling up fast.
Mass Transit:
By way of BART:
You can get there on foot from BART but a bus is easier. You need to be at the bus stop on Shattuck near the main, circular, entrance to BART, just take the escalator up to the street, turn left and walk to the next corner. Catch a 1, 7, 64, or 51 to Telegraph Avenue, ask the driver to announce Telegraph when the bus gets there.
The 7 and 51 will drop you at Durant and Telegraph, the 1 and 64 at Dwight and Telegraph.
2455 Telegraph (at Haste)
Berkeley, CA 94704
A large second hand record store with a large selection of used video tapes, DVD, LDs, and vinyl soundtracks. Their VHS and DVD sections have separate animation subsections. Do check the bargain bins as many good items end up there right away for some reason. They even have a small anime soundtrack section near the movie soundtracks. They also have a store in the Haight Ashbury district in San Francisco but as I avoid tourist traps I don't know if it has much in the way of anime.
Rasputin Music
2401 Telegraph Ave. (at Channing)
Berkeley, CA 94704
Another great place to shop for second hand and new anime. Ignore the music, they have a large used anime DVD selection. Be sure you find the second hand section and not the new section. Also be aware that they simply price almost everything at $17.95 so this may not be such a good deal for titles like Phantom Quest Corps (SRP $15.00) or Blue Submarine (SRP $ 20.00) They also have stores in Pleasant Hill, San Lorenzo, Campbell and Newark but I don't know if they have much anime in those locations.
Moe's Books
2476 Telegraph Ave. (Between Haste and Dwight)
Berkeley, CA 94704
While their manga section is small the store has much to offer for anime and manga fans. Four floors of used books and each floor has something related to Japan. Here are just a few sections of special interest starting at the top and working down:
4th floor: Japan history, military history, martial arts, sports.
3rd floor: Theater, Asian religions, folklore, language.
2nd floor: Art, architecture, used literature, poetry, travel, cookbooks.
Basement: Manga, music, mysteries, science fiction, new literature.
During the school year Cal-Animage Alpha, U. C. Berkeley's anime club has showings on Monday nights. Showing information can be found at
You can shop on Telegraph, grab dinner and walk to Cal-Animage for anime, a great combination. If you forgot to check the web page for the schedule you can find their sign board on the bridge on campus at Sather Gate, just head down Telegraph to the campus and keep going you will see the gate, go through it and the sign boards will be on one side of the bridge.



Kimono My House
1455 64th Street (near Hollis)
Emeryville, CA 94508
Phone: 510-654-4627
Lots of very hard to find and just plain rare stuff.
Almost everything in the store is ordered directly from Japan or bought on trips the owners make to the anime homeland. A large portion of the stock consists of toys, many for older shows, that other stores just do not have.


Dr. Comics & Mr. Games
4014 Piedmont Ave. (at 40th)
Oakland, CA 94611
VOICE: (510) 601-7800
The best selection of new manga in the East Bay, It is also worth checking their back issue bins for old anime magazines.
Oakland Chinatown
Currently there is not too much in Oakland's Chinatown, but if you are in the downtown area you may want to wander through the shops because on occasion something interesting shows up.
Oakland Chinatown is growing rapidly and more shops open every year and even if you don't find any anime related stuff you want its worth shopping in this area as it is free of the tourist oriented junk shops one finds in SF.
BART 12th street is close to here and almost all of the south bound buses from Berkeley end up in this area.
Be aware that some goods you may see could be pirated, legitimate Japanese made goods can be found in some stores.


The following stores are all in the Pacific East Mall just off highway 80 at 3288 Pierce Street has a few shops devoted to anime,
Mass Transit:
BART to the El Cerrito Plaza station or the 15, 43, 72, and 73 bus to Fairmount near San Pablo Avenue and walk West towards the bay, look for the signs for the mall as you near the freeway.
The following is edited information from Rob White [May 9, 2005] (thanks Rob)
Kingstone Books
This store is across the mall from the Ranch 99 Supermarket, and next to a vitamin store. The owners and workers here are friendly and helpful. They have the biggest collection of Chinese manga I have ever seen, and have many CDs (mostly Mando-pop, J-pop and some K-pop) and DVDs/VCDs. All legal even (as far as I can tell). There are some Anime videos but not many. There are also lots of Chinese magazines and books, and novelties and knickknacks.

This mall is a great place for Asiaphiles to visit. There are several Chinese restaurants, each with different specialties. The main store in the mall is the huge 99 Ranch Asian supermarket. Their fresh produce is excellent, and there is an in-store mini-restaurant as well.



Anime 101 & Manga Too
313 Vineyard Town Center
Morgan Hill, CA 95037
Tel: (408) 778-5285 or (866) 24ANIME
Fax: (408) 353-5700
Character Goods, Figures, Pencil Boards, Manga (English & Japanese), drawing supplies, trading card games and much more. Various tournaments held on most weekend (check website for latest list).
Lee's Comics
1020 N. Rengstorf Ave. Suite F
Mountain View, CA 94040
(650) 965-1800
11-8 every day
An excellent selection of domestically released manga and anime
Mass Transit:
Accessible by Caltrain and San Mateo county transit.


The San Jose has two major anime areas Japantown and Yaohan plaza. If you have limited time just hit these two locations.
Kinokuniya Bookstores
675 Saratoga Ave
San Jose, CA 95129
(408) 252-1300
While smaller than the San Francisco branch the San Jose store stocks a larger selection of manga graphic novels in English and Japanese. The store also has a small selection of anime. They are an excellent source for Japanese books and magazines on anime, manga and related subjects.
Nikaku Animart
615 North 6th Street
San Jose, CA 95112
Tel: (408) 971-2822
Fax: (408) 971-0856
In Japantown.
One of the best known and best stocked anime stores in the country. Lots of all kinds of items.

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Created October 15, 1998 | Updated February 4, 2020