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A Guide to the Best Places in Japan for Stationery and Ink

A Guide to the Best Places in Japan for Stationery

Japan is the ultimate haven for stationery enthusiasts, offering a diverse and unique array of pens, notebooks, inks, and other writing tools that cater to both functional and aesthetic preferences. So when we visited last year I truly was in my ultimate happy place!

Japan is well known for its emphasis on craftsmanship and attention to detail & this was reflected in its stationery stores. We didn’t get to visit everywhere mentioned here (yes I already am planning trip no.2 but safe to say it won’t be for a few years whilst we build up funds again!)


1.  Itoya - Ginza

Itoya is a multi-level stationery shop situated in the upscale district of Ginza, we actually stayed at a hotel in Ginza for the first few days in Japan as it’s a lovely area but also not quite as crazy busy as other districts. It has been a Tokyo landmark since 1904 & the store boasts a vast selection of high-quality pens, notebooks, and unique Japanese paper products. There were some items that I couldn’t even figure out what they were exactly, but they were so beautiful I still wanted them, yes I’m slightly unhinged when it comes to stationery.

A Guide to the Best Places in Japan for Stationery and Ink


Each floor is dedicated to different themes; there is a business lounge, a hall for events as well as a café & restaurant, and even an indoor vegetable factory and juice bar so you can relax and replenish after being as immersed as humanly possible in all that papery inky goodness! Now I could’ve spent a whole day there however Gav followed me like a shadow as he knew it was dangerous territory with me and a credit card in a giant stationery shop, so I was extremely reserved in there. I did keep trying to make him go and sit in the café on the 12th floor but he was having none of it. The one thing that I thought was lovely in there was the writing area. It had stamps and other accessories so that you could buy some lovely stationery & then write to someone in the store itself. You can also get a bespoke notebook made for you, there really are so many things to look at, my advice would be to set aside a good few hours to have a proper look, and then head to the café afterwards.


2.  Pigment – Tokyo

Now this was top of my list of places to visit when we were back in Tokyo for our final 3 days before we went home, but after two weeks of travelling we were absolutely exhausted and so I missed out on this one (100% going on the next trip). We were also staying in a different district which was lovely, but pretty far away in terms of getting the metro and in hindsight we should’ve added a few extra days in Tokyo at the start when we were brimming with energy rather than at the end when we could barely move.

Pigment is one of those places that combines museum, workshop and store; it has a stunning wall of hundreds of colours and you can book to attend a workshop to create your own colours. If you’re an artist, pro or budding, and go to Tokyo please visit on my behalf as I’m still gutted I missed it!


A Guide to the Best Places in Japan for Stationery and Ink

A Guide to the Best Places in Japan for Stationery and Ink


3. Tokyo Craft Market in Asakusa

We visited Asakusa on a Thursday morning a few days before we travelled back to the UK and one thing I’d definitely advise is to get there early as we arrived just before noon and it was heaving! You walk through a central market space filled with various sellers from beautiful soaps & trinkets to hundreds of postcards. I always buy a postcard whenever I travel somewhere and I tried to get one from each region we went to in Japan. I’m not sure of the name of the seller at the market, but rest assured you’ll find some papery goodness if you pay the market a visit. Oh and make sure to try the street food! We got a giant spiced chicken snack that cost a few pounds and tasted amazing.


A Guide to the Best Places in Japan for Stationery and Ink


4. Studio Ghibli – Osaka

Spirited Away is my ultimate favourite Ghibli film, and I was determined to visit one of the official Ghibli stores so I frogmarched Gav to it as I had promised my niece Jem (another Ghibli fan) that I’d get some Calcifer goodies…and a few ‘essential’ bits for myself. They have so much there! I got a tiny little stamp set & a few little bits. They also have an area where you can have a photo next to No-Face on the train. There was quite a queue so decided against it, but in hindsight wished I’d been patient and just done it.


A Guide to the Best Places in Japan for Stationery and Ink


5. Papertree - Kyoto

Papertree is a small yet beautiful store that offers an exquisite range of calligraphy tools, handmade paper, ink & ephemera. The serene ambiance and attention to detail make it a unique destination for those who appreciate the aesthetics of stationery. Plus they also have a separate room for workshops, from calligraphy to wax seal making & other creative options.



6. Norr Kyoto - Kyoto

The owner, the lovely Yoko, first got in touch with me back in 2020 just after we’d done Top Drawer to supply her with a selection of our stationery, and it was such a pleasure to finally meet her in person at her store which is a short walk to a beautiful Botanical Garden (which also has a really good cafe/restaurant on site).

Based on the size of her store she does visits by appointment only so if you fancy visiting to view her beautiful collection that she travels the globe to curate, then either go online to her website or get in touch with her on Instagram. 


A Guide to the Best Places in Japan for Stationery and Ink

There are so many unique places to visit, so this is really just a snippet of what you can expect to find if you travel there. Japan's dedication to craftsmanship and artistry extends beyond its historic landmarks and traditional arts. The country's stationery stores embody this commitment, offering a beautiful blend of functionality and beauty. Whether you're a pen enthusiast, calligraphy lover, or simply appreciate the art of writing, Japan's diverse range of stationery stores provides an unforgettable shopping experience.