Take a Stroll in Jinbo-Cho: A Paradise for Stationery and Book Lovers!
Tokyo’s Jinbo-cho has around 180 first and secondhand bookstores offering a variety of new and old books, as well as shops selling stationery, art supplies and lifestyle sundries. From ordinary pens, mechanical pencils and notebooks, to colored pens and pencils, quality fountain pens, watercolors, drawing tools and planners, everything is a perfect mix of functionality and cute trendy design perfect for both self-use and as gifts for friends and family. If you are a stationery lover, check out these stores in Jinbo-cho!
Oct 31 2019 (Aug 07 2020)
Bumpodo Kanda Main Store
Founded in the 20th year of the Meiji period (1887), Bumpodo is an old stationery shop which originally sold and made oil painting supplies before evolving into an all-round stationery chain store. Bumpodo has branches in Ginza and Shibuya, but the Kanda main store is much larger with an 8-story building featuring a refined, classic design.
From the 1st floor basement to the 7th floor, Bumpodo sells all kinds of stationery, including papers, notebooks, comic art supplies, quality fountain pens, paper/plastic masking tapes, oil painting and printmaking supplies, engraving tools, picture frames, washi (Japanese traditional paper), fabrics and other goods of different prices, even imported stationery. On top of stationery for personal use, the shop also has products for company and business use. Another highlight in Bumpodo is their original oil pigments with highly-concentrated and long-lasting properties! Beloved by many painters for decades, go take a look if you love to paint!
Inside Bumpodo there is a café where you can take a break if you start feeling tired from all the walking around. Their coffee smells great and even the cakes they offer are limited edition collaborations created with a popular cake shop nearby. On other floors there are also galleries, lecture rooms and art teaching rooms for rent, allowing anybody to fully immerse themselves in art.
Sanseido Jinbo-cho Store
Sanseido is a famous bookstore chain in Japan. Its massive flagship store is located in Jinbo-cho and it consists of nine floors from the 1st floor basement up to the 8th floor, offering not only an extensive range of books but also all kinds of stationery and sundries. If you are looking for chic and adorable stationery or other well-designed goods, Sanseido is the perfect place.
One of the most popular items in Sanseido’s Jinbo-cho main store is the wooden stationery collection, including wooden tape dispensers, blades and staplers, all of which are unique, practical and very eye-catching when displayed on a desk. You can also find creatively designed items like dried flower charms, mini book earrings, and even indoor dry landscape sets for you to enjoy Japanese garden art at home.
Shosen Grande in Jinbo-cho is the main store of the Shosen bookstore chain. There are a total of eight floors including the basement, and you can buy different books and magazines as well as lovely stationery here. If you are a fan of Japan’s railway culture, then you really shouldn’t miss out on this place! On the 6th floor, there is a railway section offering everything from books and magazines to models of different sizes and creative goods to add to your collection. You can even find an exclusive collection of merchandise from railway companies not available elsewhere, which also explains Shosen Grande's popularity among railway fans.
Established in the 12th year of the Meiji period (1897) in Kyoto, Yamagataya Kamiten is a washi specialty shop. The Jinbo-cho branch is full of paper-made stationery and goods with cute patterns, ranging from low to high prices. All paper-related items are available here, including origami (paper folding) colored paper, wrappers, sticky notes, name cards, envelopes and letter paper, calligraphy paper and even craft paper.
It is worth mentioning that some paper categories like name cards and printing paper also come in washi forms at Yamagataya Kamiten. Washi paper is uneven in both color distribution and texture, giving it a uniqueness that ordinary printing paper lacks. For those who are especially fond of this distinct feature, this place is definitely worth checking out!
Sinseido is known as the “stationery and business supplies supermarket”. From stationery for students to office supplies for nine-to-fivers, everything you might need can be found here. Offering both Japan-made and imported stationery at affordable prices, the long-established store is quite popular in the Jinbo-cho area.
Stationery with both practicality and smart design has been gaining popularity recently, and this place offers plenty of items that fit the bill. You can find a selection of pens, fountain pens and refills of different brands at Sinseido too. Try holding one in your hand to write and see which one fits you best! You may even have your name engraved for free after purchasing a high-end fountain pen, which is a very thoughtful service.
Art Postcard Gallery - Kyoto Benrido Tokyo Jinbo-cho Store
Located on the second floor of Iwanami BOOK CENTER, Art Postcard Gallery - Kyoto Benrido focuses mainly on stocking postcards of all kinds. Here you can find postcards featuring famous paintings of art galleries and museums from all over Japan, unique Japanese styles, or other special designs. Large columns in the store are adorned with so many postcards that browsing through them feels like enjoying artwork in an actual art gallery.
The flagship shop of Kyoto Benrido is situated in Kyoto. For 130 years, it has been providing art printing and publishing-related services while adhering to their own way of color expression and unique technology. If you like to collect postcards or want to send some to friends and family during your trip, be sure to come here to pick some unique designs. Kyoto Benrido also sells stationery like memo pads, as well as fans, tableware and floral fabric, all with designs inspired by famous artwork. If you love art, this place is a must-visit!
Jinbo-cho is a place full of nostalgia. Aside from the shops mentioned above, there are many other quaint yet stylish stores selling secondhand books, stationery and miscellaneous goods in the neighborhood. So next time you are in Tokyo, why not pay a visit to Jinbo-cho to search for some unique stationery?
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Title Image: ケイセイ / PIXTA
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.