Stationery makes for terrific Tokyo souvenirs, especially for long-term travellers, because it’s not only pretty, but it’s practical, affordable, and weighs nothing at all.
I’m an incessant scribbler, so wherever I go, I’ll buy a few notebooks. Postcards also make a light souvenir for the kilo-conscious traveller. I also use postcards as ‘thank you’ cards and to send ‘home’ with gifts. Notepaper always comes in handy and gimmicky cards like the sumo wrestler cut-out card and the fan card, above, make presents in themselves. Stationery stores in Tokyo also sell calendars, address books, calligraphy sets, fans, boxes, knick-knacks, and these days even mouse pads.
The Japanese are masters at creating paper or washi – the finest paper of all that’s almost like fabric – and creating things with paper, and Kyukyodo are the specialists with a long tradition of producing exquisite paper products. They opened their first store in Kyoto in 1663 and their Tokyo shop in 1880 in the same location as the current Ginza store, where I bought most of the lovely things above. The same family still owns the business too! Kyukyodo is always busy with Japanese, including kimono-clad women stocking up on washi paper and seasonal cards. They also wrap beautifully so when they ask you if it’s a gift say it is even if it isn’t!
I bought some wonderful postcards of woodblock prints, also above, which you can find at Kyukyodo and Tokyu Hands, as well as museum gift shops. You’ll also find old and new prints at Hara Shobo in the booksellers’ district, and, if you’re after collector’s quality prints, from Ebisu-Do Gallery which also sells reproductions by the likes of Harunobu, Hiroshige and Hokusai.
Where do you like to buy stationery in Tokyo?