When the family got cheap tickets to Osaka, my first reaction was to get really excited because I’d get to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Osaka. My second thought was that I should buy some stationery while I was there and research the hell out of it. But then, I’m really not the type to thoroughly plan out trips, so I did a quick Google search and that was it. Once I got there, I just relied on the standards Maps app and some wandering around to find stores.
I honesty just kept returning to stationery stores again and again, whenever there wasn’t something lined up, and by the time I had visited more than three, I thought that I should sit and write a blog post about them at some point. I only got to explore stationery stores around Dohtonbori, Shinsaibashi, and Namba, but I personally found a lot of things that tested my restraint, so these stores are definitely enough.
A quick heads-up: foreigners are tax-exempt in a lot of stores, but you usually have to hit 5,000 yen or 5,400 yen to get the discount. I’ll do my best to weigh in if I think it’s easy to hit that or not.
If you go to just one store out of this whole list, make it Tokyu Hands. Sure, it had a stationery floor, but all the other stores had stationery too. What sets Tokyu Hands apart was its stock of art supplies. There was everything from artist-grade brushes, Copic markers, and I was seriously tempted to get a bottle or two of Dr. Ph. Martins watercolor, seeing them all nicely lined up.
Like, seriously, don’t miss miss Tokyu Hands.
Branch: Tokyu Hands Shinsaibashi, and there were 2 floors of supplies. There were also other floors of bags or home supplies, so you can definitely hit the tax-free price point here.
So I managed to visit the Namba Loft, and there were washi tapes, stickers, invitations, and some cool and cute rulers, but the floor was divided between stationery and tech accessories. It was a really tiny space, and I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to go visit it, unless . . .
Loft was just right above this fantastic Muji branch, so check it out only if you got the energy, because Muji was more than enough. Muji is a lifestyle brand, so the two (or three?) floors was dominated by clothing and other things, but the at the basement was a section for stationery. Muji has good ballpens and all sorts of tools, but they also have notebooks in a lot of different sizes and styles.
While some branches only have the usual lined ones, in this branch, there were both plain and dot-grid notebooks in A5, which is my favorite type so I was so happy. Searching for a specific kind of notebook at Muji can sometimes be a hit-or-miss.
Branch: Namba Center Building, and you can definitely hit the price point here.
Daiso is a 100 yen store. There are other items that aren’t at that price, but they’re usually labeled as such, so otherwise, it’s stocked with all these things that you can buy for a 100 yen. Their stationery is really cute, too, but the products and selection do differ from store to store.
Daiso isn’t really quality art supplies, though. I’ve bought a sketchbook from them before, and the paper was really see-through. So if anything, I would recommend their notebooks for drafts instead of final work.
Branch: I don’t think this even matters because Daiso is everywhere, so just go to the one nearest you. There was even one at Kansai International Airport. Since everything is a 100 yen, hitting the tax-free price point could be possible with friends or family. Because trying to hit 5,000 on your own with 100 yen items is probably going to give you luggage problems at the airport, at the very least.
It’s a discount grocery of sorts (bonus: it has an adorable penguin icon). It’s mostly food or beauty items, but for the one I went, it had a stationery section. I only managed to remember Posca marker prices, but in Don Quijote, they were definitely cheaper than in Tokyu Hands.
The selection wasn’t huge, though. There were some cute stamps, normal pens, and Posca markers, as mentioned. There were also Rhodia notebooks and some brush pens, but it really wasn’t a lot.
Branch: Namba, and again, since it’s mostly a discount store, you can easily rack up hit the price point by buying souvenirs like green tea KitKat here.
While the name says its a bookstore, it still had quite a good selection of washi tape and Japanese products, like the Traveler’s notebook. It had a more unique array of products available, so I recommend checking it out.
But, it also had a great selection of books. As in, once you go through the door and you see this main walkway with a shelf and a table laid out with books, and when I looked at them, they were all lettering books or design books. Japanese bookstores generally don’t have English books, so as much as I wanted to bring back a magazine (there were so many that looked so good!) I wouldn’t have been able to read it.
There were so many good books, on topics from book art to Japanese versions of Louise Fili’s books. The really nice thing about Japanese bookstores is that they tend to keep all the other copies wrapped, but there’s one copy open for you to look through, so you can a more informed decision about whether or not you want to buy the book. Plus, they wrap your books for you in this lovely paper cover.
Just save all your money for the bookstore and buy all the beautiful books.