The Complete Guide to Stationery in Japan
Japan has a plethora of smart pieces of stationery. Here are recommendations to take home with you as a souvenir. They are practical and have a sophisticated design. They'll certainly satisfy your demand and enrich your daily life!
Jun 22 2016 (Sep 09 2020)
This article is split up into various categories for buying stationery in Japan:
Please use these categories as a reference in order to shop more efficiently for stationery in Japan!
Since first released in 1945, the pencil 8900 has been representative of all pencils in Japan. You can smoothly write or draw with it. The density ranges from 2H (the lightest) to 2B (the heaviest), so you can select pitch-black pencils or light black ones according to your favor or purpose.
Price: 520 yen (by the dozen)
2. Self-custom-made pens
STYLE-FIT (uni MITSUBISHI PENCIL)
Doing / Flickr
Here is a customizable multicolored pen! The bodies and the refills are sold separately. Some of the bodies are, as showed above, cutely decorated. The is a wide variety of colors for you to pick from. So, why not pick up your favorite body and refills, to make a pen just for you?
Prices: 250 yen (body), 70 yen (refill)
HP: mpuni.co.jp/products/ballpoint_pens/gel/style_fit/holder.html (Japanese only)
3. Mechanical Pencil
KURU TOGA (uni MITSUBISHI PENCIL)
This is literally a very mechanical pencil. The mechanics within the pencil rotates the lead every time it is pushed onto the paper, so the lead will stay sharp all the time. You may have felt troubled that the lead gets blunt while you keep writing with a mechanical pencil, but with Kuru Toga you will no longer need to feel the stress!
Price: 430 yen
HP: uniball-na.com/products (select "PENCIL" at the left side of the website)
Japanese stationery company Platinum produces mechanical pencils for drafting. These pencils have a functional but beautiful and highly sophisticated design. I recommend these mechanical pencils to those who want to possess something professional in their daily lives.
Price: From 300 yen to 1500 yen
Beetle Tip dual color (KOKUYO)
This highlighter has a unique pen point which is divided in two, like a beetle's horn. Each side has a different color. You just turn the highlighter to change the color of your highlighter.
Price: 150 yen
HP: kokuyo-st.co.jp/stationery/beetletip/dualcolor/ (Japanese only)
PROPUS WINDOW (uni MITSUBISHI PENCIL)
The feature of this highlighter is the transparent window put at the pen point. As you can see the characters or lines that you are going to highlight through this window, you can avoid highlighting excessive words.
Price: 80 yen
HP: mpuni.co.jp/products/felt_tip_pens/marker/propus/window.html (Japanese only)
FRIXION light (PILOT)
The ink of FRIXION light is special. It turns transparent when it is heated to reaches a certain temperature. The tail end of the highlighter has a rubber that can generate frictional heat and delete the lines drawn. As the ink is erased by the heat, it will recover the color if you cool it, such as in a fridge.
Price: 100 yen
B. Cut & Paste
SWINGCUT (Raymei Fujii)
Swingcut has a characteristic asymmetrical shape, which makes it possible to cut smoothly with relatively small power. The shape is designed to fit your hand perfectly and make the most of the strength put into cutting. This product achieved the Japan Stationery Prize and Good Design Award in 2014, both prestigious awards for well-designed and functional products.
Price: 750 yen
HP：raymay.co.jp/homestationery/contents/swingcut/movie.html (Japanese only)
STICKYLE SCISSORS (sun-star)
These pairs of scissors are folding scissors. They can be folded into compact sticks, so they don't take up so much space in your pencil case. Take care when going back to your country, as scissors are not allowed on airplanes in your carry-on luggage.
Price: 500-600 yen
HP: sun-star-st.jp/private_brand/stickyle_scissors.html (Japanese only)
6. Tape paste
Well, have you ever felt troubled by the wrinkled paper when gluing ? These tape paste can free you from that trouble. You can paste paper neatly and cleanly without annoying wrinkles. Cartridges are also sold, so don't forget to get them for a refill.
Price: 300-500 yen
HP: kokuyo-st.co.jp/stationery/dotliner/ (Japanese only)
Mono has been a popular and standard eraser in Japan since it was first released in 1969. It has a rich line-up including five sizes and a black version.
Price: 100 yen
HP: www.tombow.com/brand/mono/ (Japanese only)
This eraser is very innovative. Don't you notice that its unique shape has a lot of corners? These corners are useful in erasing small mistakes. Additionally, when one block of the eraser is shaved away, then new edges appear.
Price: 150 yen
HP: kokuyo-st.co.jp/stationery/kadokeshi/ (Japanese only)
8. Correction Tape
Whiper flex (PLUS)bungu.plus.co.jp
This correction tape has a flexible head and a unique shape. It is designed to reflect the movement of the hand effectively. The tape width ranges from 4mm to 6mm. This product also achieved the Good Design Award in 2008.
Price: 300 yen
HP: bungu.plus.co.jp/product/correct/whiper/flex.html (Japanese only)
Mono 2 way (Tombow)
This product is categorized as 'erasers' too because a correction tape is equipped at the top end and an eraser is set at the tail end. It is, as its name shows, actually two-way.
Price: 240 yen
9. Sticky Notes
This is an enjoyable item rather than a useful one. 100 different kinds of illustrations are printed on every sticky note. You can use it to deliver messages to other people with these cute illustrations. The Japanese sentence in the picture means, "why don't we go and have lunch together?"
Price: 250 yen
HP: fusen100.com/ (Japanese only)
Campus is a standard notebook in Japan. This series have many different variations; some of the Campus notebook have dots on every rule lines, which makes it easier to draw figures or tables.
Price: 200 yen
HP: kokuyo-st.co.jp/stationery/campus/ (Japanese only)
Premium C.D. NOTEBOOK (APICA)
The specialty of this notebook is its paper. It is advertised as the 'gentleman's notebook' and the paper used is like 'silk'! Premium C.D. notebook is designed to pursue comfortable writing. It's a little costly, but it's definitely worthwhile.
Price: 1200 yen
HP: apica.co.jp/cd_notebook/ (Japanese only)
NOViTA is an excellent file for arranging documents, since its spine can be shortened and extended to match your usage. It also has a rich variation of color and size.
Price: 300 yen
HP: kokuyo-st.co.jp (Japanese only)
12. Pencil Case
Neo Critz (KOKUYO)
After you collect these pieces of stationery, you need something which to put them into. This is the last recommendation, a pen case called Neo Critz. It is used not only as a pen case (of course), but also as a pen stand.
Price: 900 yen
HP: kokuyo-st.co.jp/stationery/neo-critz/ (Japanese only)
[Bonus] Where can we buy these stationery goods?
Here are some recommendations of stores where you can get the products. Hope you enjoy your shopping!
Caution: Not all of the products above are always found in these shops.
LoFt handles commodities, stationery, knicknacks and bags. You can enjoy wonderful shopping there. The shops are located near major stations in Tokyo (ex. Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ikebukuro), so you won't have much trouble in finding them.
Shop List: loft.co.jp
HP: loft.co.jp (Japanese only)
Tokyu Handsshibainu / Flickr
Tokyu Hands is a very interesting place to shop around. It deals with a wide range of goods, such as bicycles, DIY tools and, of course, stationery. As the shops of Tokyu Hands are also situated near famous places, it's easy to access them.
Shop List: tokyu-hands.co.jp
Ito-ya is well-known as a smart stationery store. The Ginza branch (pictured above) is especially famous and worth paying a visit to.
Shop List: ito-ya.co.jp (Japanese only)
HP: ito-ya.co.jp (Japanese only)
Mujirushi-ryohin is famous for its original simple-designed goods. The shop not only deals stationery, but also commodities, clothing, bedding and some snacks.
Shop List: muji.net (Japanese only)
HP: muji.com (Japanese only)
Sekaido is a bit more unique. It mainly deals with designing, drafting and drawing goods. You may find unfamiliar or highly specialized stationery there.
Shop List: sekaido.co.jp (Japanese only)
HP: sekaido.co.jp (Japanese only)
ShimojimaKunie Hiyamizu / Flickr
Shimojima was originally founded as a wrapping goods shop. It now provides not only wrapping goods, but also decoration merchandise and stationery.
[Must-buy in Japan]
[Must-buy in Tokyo]
If you want to know more about souvenirs from Japan, also check these articles:
[Must-buy in Kansai]
[Must-buy in Osaka]
[Must-buy in Kyoto]
[Must-buy in Hokkaido]
[Beauty and Cosmetics]
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.