9 Popular Must-See Stationery Shops in Kyoto and Osaka for Stationery Lovers
Boasting rich functionality and bearing beautiful designs, Japanese stationery is something that is also famous and well-loved overseas. With that, here are 9 shops in Osaka and Kyoto where you can purchase fancy and elegant stationery.
1. LIHIT LAB. THE DESIGN MIND COMPANY STUDIO
LIHIT LAB. THE DESIGN MIND COMPANY STUDIO is a store directly managed by LIHIT LAB which manufactures and sells stylish and functional stationery. This shop has fully glass windows with a bright and open atmosphere. You'll be thrilled by the sight of colorful stationery on display inside. If you plan on purchasing anything, then go for the AQUA DROPs Clip File (560 JPY (excl. tax)). This lightweight clipboard is convenient to carry and perfect for carrying loose-leaf notebooks and documents. The board is firm and solid in structure, so you can write on it easily while standing. There is also a pocket at the back of the cover where you can put items like small memos and tickets, so it'll come in handy during your travels.
2. NAGASAWA Umeda Chayamachi Branch
Headquartered in Hyogo, NAGASAWA is a long-established stationery specialty store that was founded in 1882. It sells original stationery, miscellaneous goods, and accessories with designs that are inspired by the scenery in Kobe, an international city that is blessed with a beautiful cityscape and lush nature. Of all the items this shop carries, though, the one that is highly recommended is the kobeINK Monogatari (1,944 JPY (incl. tax)), a colored ink that was developed based on the history and landscape of the "towns of Kobe". It comes in a wide variety of colors, so you are bound to find a color you'll want.
3. Waki Stationery
Waki Stationery is a well-established stationery store in Osaka that opened its doors in 1926. It carries various kinds of stationery, but it mainly focuses on original products such as notebook covers and ID card cases. The original products are all made in Japan, with a particular emphasis on bringing in products made by craftsmen in Osaka. They stock plenty of products that you will want go out of your way just to buy. They also provide free engraving services, so it makes for a great souvenir for your trip!
※The engraving service takes a week to complete, so ordering online in advance and then claiming your item at the store is recommended.
4. Itoya Kyoto Branch
Itoya Kyoto Branch was born as a progressive space, as it has condensed the concept of Itoya in Ginza to transform stationery shops from a place to go shopping in to a place to spend time in. This branch is the biggest Itoya branch in the Kansai region, selling various products that range from top-class writing instruments such as fountain pens and ballpoint pens, to Itoya original goods and products that are only available at the Kyoto branch. The Kyoto branch also offers a “Note Couture” service where you can make your very own notebook (prices start at 1,500 JPY (excl. tax)). You can have your notebook in just about 30 minutes, so how about making one to commemorate your trip?
5. Keibunsha Ichijoji Branch
Keibunsha Ichijoji is a famous bookstore in Kyoto that has been named one of the “10 most beautiful bookshops in the world” by the U.K.’s daily newspaper, The Guardian. Unlike ordinary bookstores, Keibunsha offers books hand-picked by its own staff, custom-bound books that come in limited quantity, books published by the store, and various other reading materials across genres that are neatly lined on the bookshelves. People who look for books here end up finding book they would've never expected to pick up! Inside, there are many items that will enrich your life with books, such as the Seikatsukan (Life Pavilion), which sells miscellaneous goods related to life and living, and Enfer, which carries a collection of paper products and stationery, and is annexed to a gallery. It is a very pleasant space where you will definitely want to stay a bit longer.
Uragu is a shop in Miyagawa-cho in the Gion area that is known for its rows of ochaya (teahouses) and okiya (geisha houses) on cobblestone roads. Inside this store, a renovated former teahouse, you will find miscellaneous goods that will help you more easily express your feelings to others, such as letter sets made from high-quality paper with sophisticated designs, memo pads, postcards, and stationery. But the one thing you should definitely buy is the palm-sized memo pad called Mamemo (380 JPY (excl. tax)). You can use it for various purposes, such as jotting down things that interest you or taking notes of random thoughts, and as a paper for short messages instead of stationery. It is compact and comes in a wide array of packages, so it is also perfect as a souvenir.
7. TAG Main Branch
TAG is a stationery shop that carries a wide range of products, from office supplies that are essential to business and stationery for children and high-end writing instruments, to seasonal products and trending stationery items. You will be excited just by looking at the extensive selection of goods here. They have so many items here that you are sure to find something you want. First-timers may find it difficult to navigate the store, but the staff are extremely knowledgeable about the products and will help you have a smooth shopping experience.
8. Kyoto LOFT
Kyoto LOFT is a massive store occupying the 1st basement floor up to the 4th floor of the shopping mall “mina” that is found along Kawaramachi Street, one of the busiest commercial districts in Kyoto. This shop not only sells stationery and miscellaneous goods, but it also carries beauty and health goods, household products, travel essentials, and a wide array of other products. There are plenty of items that will make your everyday life more colorful, and many cute products that will make you feel happy just by holding them, so you might want to buy a present for yourself or a friend. There is also a tax-free counter on the 1st basement floor.
9. Maruzen Kyoto Main Store
Maruzen is a major bookstore with a cafe that is situated on the 1st and 2nd basement floors of the fashion building “Kyoto BAL” in Sanjo, Kawaramachi. It carries a wide array of books in Japanese, as well as the largest selection of Western books in western Japan, and stationery such as fountain pens, notebooks, and memo pads. The first Maruzen store that opened in 1907 became the setting of the novel “Lemon”, a very famous book in modern Japanese literature, so the stationery corner in the store carries Lemon-associated goods, tote bags, and other original products. This shop has a high ceiling and expansive layout, so you can have a relaxing shopping experience.
Stylish and functional stationery are great for long-term use, and you'll want to keep using them for a long time! Take a trip over to any of the stores on this list that you're interested in, and look for the stationery item made for you.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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