A Walk through the World Hall, Legendary Japanese Art Supply Store: Sekaido!
I’ve taken deep interest in the arts since I was a little kid. Though, I could never really feed my imagination because the only two art supply/stationary stores where I lived didn’t have much to offer. The most I could ever get was a ‘kid set’ of color pencils, watercolors, etc. Basically, all I could ever find was very basic art sets and non-quality art supplies. As I grew older, I found this to be a pain since I wanted to extend my range of study and invest in proper supplies to produce better quality work. Due to the limited resources, I worked with what I had at the time, but always wished for better…
Then, I moved to Japan. I declared my area of study as Fine Arts, went to school, and my professor gave me a weird looking student discount card for the art supply store and started talking about art like it was philosophy.
After that, I didn’t think of the art store as anything too special. My expectations were probably dumbed down by the previous stores I’ve grown up with back home. Finally, the day came when I had to go to the art store, called Sekaido… and [as an art student], it’s one of the best places I ever!
Sekaido (World Hall), established in 1940, has its main store branch in Shinjuku. Sekaido contains all the supplies you can imagine, from daily stationary items to professional art supplies to photo frames to various craft supplies, starter kits (for almost any art that you’re interested in), reference books, and more. It’s all organized and spread out within the six floors of the building, so feel free to take your time and carefully decide which materials you want!
What makes Sekaido unique in terms of art supplies when compared to other stores is that it also sells supplies that are used specifically in Japanese type artworks, like ukio-e (Japanese woodblock), and manga (Japanese comics). For example, more traditional tools (barens, brushes and blocks) for ukio-e are available here. Additionally, manga screen tones that are normally difficult to find outside of Japan are laid out neatly in the “Mangaka/Comic Artist/Ink Arist” section of the store.
In terms of pricing, anything “art” in general can range from being considerably affordable to insanely expensive. The good news is that Sekaido falls under “considerably affordable”! There are some things that are expensive here, like Moleskin sketchbooks or any other art brand that has been imported from Europe. But other than those, your wallet should be fine!
Sekaido offers 20% off on various supplies. Plus, if you’re a student, you have the chance to apply for a student discount card. With the student discount card, you get an additional 7% off on top of the usual 20% off, meaning you get a whopping 27% off! Wait wait, that’s not all. In addition to that 27% off, you can get a coupon that can be used to obtain discount on your next purchase. In order to get this coupon, you must pay with cash only and show your student discount card. It’s great isn’t it?
Lastly, even if you’re not interested in artsy things, it could be a nice place to stop by and window shop! On the 6th floor there’s a small gallery, and the 1st floor has cute stationary items (like animal shaped paper clips or adorable washi tape) that could make a nice gift for your stationary obsessed friend. Sekaido is also conveniently located in Shinjuku 10 minutes away from the station (East Side), so stopping by while on your way to or from the station isn’t too much of a hassle.
3 Chome-1-1 Shinjuku, 新宿区 Tokyo 160-0022
JR Shinjuku Station -> JR Yamanote Line -> East Exit
Shinjuku San-Chome Station -> Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line -> C1 Exit
Step into Sekaido and feed your imagination! Have fun folks!
The New Dug is a cafe/bar with a history, as it came after the original jazz cafe DUG which hosted some of the largest names in the jazz world as they visited Tokyo. It was sadly closed permanently, as the original building it was a part of was was torn down. The original cafe was owned by a photographer by the name of Hozumi Nakadaira and the place was considered to be one of the most legendary in Japan. The New Doug has all of the same music and features Nakadaira’s photographs throughout the shop and it even has his pictures in the form of postcards that you can get for just 100 yen! The ambiance can be described as an underground space that is dark and intimate, perfect for those hard-boiled jazz cats who like their whiskey on the rocks. This place was also features in Haruki Murakami’s award winning novel called Norwegian Wood, a must read. Come here to experience a piece of history, preserved through the photographs that accent the walls of the space.
Photos found on Foursquare