Tokyo Fall Leaves trip~ I’ve been waiting for this trip since purchasing the plane tickets way back in May!!
The last time I’ve been to Tokyo was when I’ve just graduated high school. Since then, I’ve developed a passion for stationery and all thing planners related, and it was also then when Japanese stationery items are introduced to Taiwan’s market. Naturally, I was obsessed with it and couldn’t wait to go shop in the variety of stationery stores based in Japan. Even if I don’t have the budget to purchase everything in sight (no matter the temptation and urge to do so), just feasting on the giant selection is gratifying enough.
From giant outlets featuring pen and paper products to local stores selling stamps and postcards, I’m gonna visit them all! (as if it is possible)
The first leg of my stationery eye candy journey begins at Ikebukuro 池袋, the huge and busting district where we will be staying for the five day journey. LOFT is a Japanese chain store that sells everyday commodities, from kitchen supplies, electronic goodies, home decor, and of course, the reputable stationery selection. By the West entrance of the busy Ikebukuro train station is Seibu, a large department store. LOFT itself took up the whole 9-12th floor of the building, one of the largest LOFT chain store in the city.
On my list are cocofusen label stickers, Hobonichi (of course), schedule stickers, and anything interesting I can find. From the 9th floor a showcase of 2015 planners are set up right by the elevator. This is just a small fraction of what I’m going to see on the 12th floor (the stationery floor).
Piles and piles of planners/journals all stacked up. Japanese really do value the use of planners in professional work. These plain covers are marketing to the everyday business man, and they even have famous actors as testimony in their ads.
While relaxing in the hotel I was surprised to see a television ad featuring planners! That is how huge this market is in Japan.
Sporting the quote “2015年, 未来が始まるよ” (in 2015, the future begins)
On the far right, NOLTY, “能率手帳” (efficiency planners)
Discover Day to Day Diary, the time marker is located on the top (which is efficient for Asians that write vertically)
“夢をかなえるの人” (People whose dreams come true)
I myself am using planners with vertical time-lines as well.
The famous Kumamon that is the mascot for the area Kumamoto, and is one of the hottest character of the year.
My favorite Suica character (mascot for the JR train line in Tokyo) also has its own planners!
Going up to the 12th floor, this is where all the fun begins. LOFT’s stationery section features a gigantic selection of planners. They even separated by which month you can start using the planners (most planners started selling around September).
Good thing I’ve already got my English planner from Hobonichi, and a plain one for professional use from Muji, or I would have gone crazy in here. Even with 2 hours to shop I would not be able to decide which one I want!
This planner can be used consecutively for three years! Perfect for people with long term projects.
Floral covers are irresistable too.
These have plastic holders on the cover to hold paper or stickers.
Some covers have pen-holders just like hobonichi. Of course all of these have samples and you can flip through them to see the layouts.
Aside from the plain covers (targeting adults, I think), there are also many cute covers on sale. I especially love the colorful ones from Craftholic and the grey and white striped bear. It would go perfectly with my pencil holder.
Disney characters and cute mascots are also very popular for the student market. I remember showing off my Rilakkuma planner back in University.
I didn’t show the usual Moleskine and Rhoto since they are very popular in most countries. Here are some professional looking filofax covers. Some have very good leather covers and some are more colorful. In this section many men in business tuxs are making their selection.
These colorful floral books are targeting the daily housewives. They are budget books with grids and boxes that allows you to record daily expenses such as electricity, monthly rent, shopping expenses, and more. You can expect to see one in the kitchen of every Japanese family. These usually come with covers that have a seal-able bag that can store receipts and small newspaper cuttings.
Finally, the Hobonichi Section! The selection is surprisingly small, and after asking the staff told me many are out of stock! Since they are on sale since September, I think this is reasonable. Maybe it is also because I’m visiting on a Sunday, and the swarm of customers are picking it up as if it is free!
They put together the covers and the whole set as samples, so you can flip through it and see how each cover feels in your hand.
I’m looking for the Tree cover on cover but they are all sold out!!!
The Weeks diary are beautiful, but I have my Muji already so I cannot buy it anymore (locking my wallet in my bag). I try holding the cousin and find it to be extremely heavy! I wonder how everyone totes it around on everyday use.
The accessory wall of Hobonichi. From pencil boards to stickers to spare notebooks, there are a lot to choose from. The more popular Hobonichi papers are all sold out. I would have bought a spare to use for my art journaling.
After a thorough browse through the planner section, I move on to stationery and accessories. Japan-made stationery are famous for their creativity and quality. Many of them are exported to Taiwan via individual sellers or local stationery stores, but it is still amazing to see so many displayed together.
Firstly, I meet the label sticker/memo note section. Tired of using the old and boring 3M post-its, I’ve discovered Coco fusen via Hobonichi’s web store. The soft color and patterns are really inviting to the eye. It also make the dairy more exciting. Some are designed to have question marks so you can note particular pages in your textbook or other folders.
This selection of label stickers are little creatures poking out from the side of your book! Cuteness beyond imagine!
I almost bought these lovely to-do lists. They are adhesive on the top so you can just stick it anywhere you like. The lines make your to-do notes more neat, and the little creatures are just there to make you sigh.
Moving on, my other target are schedule stickers. Although I already have a mountain of little stickers at home, I can’t help but want to buy more. Like masking tapes, they seem to multiply on their own in quantity…
Anyway, I wanted some unique stickers that have goofy characters. These are very small so you can stick them among your writing or on the monthly calendar pages. They are colorful and help add a bit of liveliness to your daily entries. Sometimes they can be used to note important dates on your planners.
There are approximately three walls of these stickers. Waving to me and jumping into my shopping bags. It took a lot of “go-in” and “place-back” actions before I finally settle on a few.
“Suteki Na Ojisan” (Super Ojisans) I’m in love with these goofy “Ojisans” (grandpa, or old man, in Japanese). They are doing the cutest things. The stickers on the right feature the postures from daily exercises that are mandatory for little kids in school. The left side are multicultural characters, also very cute.
Then there are stamps. So many cute stamps! I have a small collection but I don’t have the energy to take them out for everyday use, but these penguin stamps are killing me! I happen to own three of them, and this whole collection makes me drool right there on the clean floors.
Below the piggy stamps are the office series where the demanding boss asks you to fix the report and hand it to him again.
Colorful notebooks with cute animal pictures are evil. They lure you to buy them with the cheap price, and you end up with a whole stack that I barely use. When I was in my grade school years, I would use colorful notebooks as diaries, writing and drawing in them. Since each book runs out pretty fast, the best part is to have a new cover for each period of your life!
MD notebooks have higher quality papers. They are more expensive too of course.
The last item on my list are Mildliners. After researching a bit, most people recommended the gray color, so I chose the middle set. This kind of highlighters have mild coloring so it is good for your eyes. They are double-headed so you can write with it and use the broad end to highlight.
Kakuno fountain pens have a small smiley face inscribed on the pen tip. I don’t want to fall in to this fountain pen “pit” (as the Taiwanese quote it, to describe the endless wish list and speedy increase in quantity). So I was good and didn’t get any.
Portable scissors for the heavy journal users that wants to stick and paste everywhere. The brand Stickyle has a variety of colorful patterned pen-like stickers.
The pen aisles of the stationery section (faints)
The bright and comfortable walkways are designed to let you shop at ease and preferably make more purchase. As if all the products are not doing a good job on their own as it is!!!
There are also a lot of art supplies, post cards, masking tapes, and more. LOFT is a must-go place for all stationery-addicts in Japan. At the end of the day, I restrained myself and bought only the below items:
The beautiful apple red cover and the flower cover on cover. Different from last year’s green apple the fruit is ripe and ready to pick! I love how they use the creamy beige color to show the insides of a apple. The golden flowers are sure to add a lively spring atmosphere.
Too sets of coco fusen label stickers.
The treasure of the bunch is the Winsor and Newton pocket color paints! 12 colors and so portable. I don’t know when I would start using them, but I’m glad I found them at a cheaper price here.
This set came with a blank postcard pad for you to draw on. The small brush is just the write size for painting in a A6 Journal.
In conclusion, LOFT is THE PLACE to go if you can only fit 1 stationery spot in your itinerary when traveling to Japan. It is conveniently located on top of the Ikebukuro train station. Although there was a LOFT chain store in Bangkok when I was still living there, their selection are not as impressive and affordable as the ones in Japan.
Plus, if you have time, you can always pop by PARCO next door and Don Quijote right across the street for more stationery heaven (wink wink).