After visiting Japan your view on stationary will change forever. Stationary has always been a fun factor related to my love for writing and unfortunately cute affordable stationary is hard to find in my country. This has lead me to stock up on stationary, when I am visiting Japan. My fiancé and I are pretty much the same, when it comes to stationary, even though our tastes differ. While he prefers cleaner designs that maybe have a cute element, I go for kawaii overload! Last December we took our stationary shopping in Japan to a new level and we cannot wait to go back to discover more cool stuff!
At first I want to share our favorite places. My favorite has to be LOFT! They do not only have the cutest stationary, but also make-up and character goods. My favorite LOFT store is the one on the top floors inside of Ikebukuro’s SEIBU department store. Tokyu Hands is an allrounder! They sell pretty much everything from luggage to crafting goods or homeware. I love Tokyu Hands the most for their sticker and pen aisles. Just like LOFT, Tokyu Hands is one of those shops, you could spend the whole day in. My favorite Tokyu Hands store is the big flagship store right next to Shinjuku station, but the one located in Shibuya is just as big and is just as good, when it comes to the sticker selection. 😉 Ito-Ya is a stationary chain that has not just one big flagship store in the middle of Ginza’s most expensive luxury shops, but two multi-level stores right next to each other. Never have I ever seen so many different writing utensils in my life! If you are an artist, Ito-Ya will carry everything you need! Their products are from all over the world, although their focus is logically on Japanese ones. If you love stationary with your favorite characters on them, I can recommend chains like Disney Stores, Pokémon Centers, Sanrio Stores and It’s Demo, which is mainly a drug store chain that always has lots of ongoing collaborations and therefore also carries stationary and accessories. My favorite collaborations that It’s Demo has done, were with Sailor Moon, Pokémon and Disney!
My most favorite thing about Japanese notepads is that most of them come with various designs on their pages. It’s pretty much a no-brainer to mention that notepads also exist in Japan in all sizes imaginable. Still, I have my favorites, which are all by SAN-X, a brand famous for Rilakkuma, Sumikko Gurashi, Sentimental Circus and many more. Their smallest notepads have two different page designs and comparing it to the bigger size, almost all of the designs are unique. You can get all the notebooks of a collection you really love and won’t hardly find any duplicates. Also a big plus for the quality and cuteness, is the inexpensive prize: A small notebook like that will cost you 150 Yen! They used to have an even tinier size for 100 Yen, but it seems to be discontinued. The bigger notepads have about four to five page designs and sometimes even come with a full page of stickers! These big notepads only cost 300 Yen, which is amazing value for the page amount and quality you get! Last year was also the first year, I saw SAN-X release their flipbook-style notepads in a bigger version. In these flipbooks, the big ones cost 420 Yen and the small ones 350 Yen, you have all the page designs next to each other and as a bonus (hence being more expensive) illustrations or comics with your favorite characters. I also have to say that I enjoy these flipbooks a lot, when I have a lot on my mind and need to organize different things at once. Every topic gets its own page and I still have a nice overview, of what has to be done!
Clearfiles are something I never thought much about before coming to Japan. In Japan clearfiles have their own status of being collectibles. Not only can you buy them in the stationary sections in stores with your favorite characters, but when you go to an exhibition, concert or an amusement park, there is a high chance of finding clearfiles in the souvenir shop. So it should not come as a surprise that chains like Animate, who mainly sell manga/anime and its merchandise, sell albums, which are designed to store your collected clearfiles. Prizes vary from event to event, but most of them are high quality and lure you in, when you see how pretty they sparkle in the sunlight. My clearfile collection is not the most extensive, but I have to give props to the Pokémon Centers, who got me a few times with their cute illustrations. So when you see clearfiles in Japanese stores, don’t forget that they are a big deal! 😀
Stickers are probably my most favorite thing to buy in Japan! Nothing compares to the Japanese sticker selection! You can find lots of Disney characters, which have beautiful designs and do not look cheap or wonky (I still hold a grudge against a certain sticker sheet that made Donald Duck into creepy bird). Moreover all popular Japanese characters, elegant minimalist designs or creative strokes of genius. You can get beautiful Sakura designs for 100 Yen from Daiso, if you need to save your pennies, but you can also find a sticker sheet dedicated to a cat’s first New York trip. Yes, that exists and it is awesome! 😉 I also love the extensive selection of cats, Akita dogs and French bulldogs. Who could resist their tiny faces and has no place in their lives for them?! You can also go crazy with the materials: Transparent ‘jelly’ stickers, wood or extra durable and water resistant. Sometimes there are even sticker machines in arcades next to the gashapon! Yep, I love stickers!
Part 2/2 coming soon! I need to split this post into two parts, but I hope to have been able to share a tiny, tiny glimpse of how abundant the market for stationary in Japan truly is! Oh boy, wait until you read about all of their amazing pens! 😉
What are your favorite things about (Japanese) stationary?
Thank you so much for reading!