Do you remember watching those historical period dramas and movies with beautiful Victorian men and women picking up their feather pens to write their significant other a meaningful letter? The way the pen dips into the black ink and splatters playfully onto the crisp parchment paper, and the beautiful written prose filling up the page as the candlelight flickers in the dimly lit room🕯...
Writing letters is a pastime that our world today has all but forgotten. When was the last time you received a message that was well… written? The joy of receiving a written sentiment from someone is exhilarating in this day and age. In the past everyone wrote letters so it wasn’t exciting but a part of daily life. The efficiency of text messages and emails are an amazing part of the modern world, but who says we can’t have both?🤷🏻♀️I learned from a young age to love writing letters to my teachers, friends, and family during Christmas, birthdays, and important events throughout the year. On certain occasions, I would write apology letters🙇🏻♀️ when me and my mom would have a disagreement. It's a way that I was able to become closer to others and express to them on paper what I couldn’t say in person🙊. Make a difference in someone’s day by sending them a piece of your thoughts, as nothing beats opening a sealed envelope to find that somebody somewhere is thinking about you.
Japan has the highest quality stationary than anywhere else in the world. Letter paper here has a thick yet soft feel to them, while the designs are beautiful and unique. The gold embossed motifs, holographic symbols and shapes, and perfectly designed envelopes will turn anyone into a letter writer. Let’s explore some of my favorite stationary items as well as the places where you can get them!
Fountain Pens 🖌
There is no better way to write a letter in style than the the classic fountain pen. Whether you are an avid collector of limited edition pens or just a beginner looking for a cheap yet durable pen to begin your writing journey, Japan has got you covered. They have wide range of pens, ranging from exquisite 18 karat gold nibbed pens to Pilot starter pens with refillable cartridges, which you can usually find in the same shop. Ask the shop clerk for more information about which pen would suit you the best.
Glass Dip Pens⚗️
These pens not only give you clean lines, they are also mesmerizingly beautiful to look at. Easier to clean than your average fountain pen, this glass pen is a good alternative for those who want a hassle free writing experience without the big price tag. These pens work with any type of ink and are used with ink barrels. Stroke sizes differ with each pen and can be hard to determine just by looking, so it’s best to ask the staff to find your preferred size.
Feather Quill Pens ⚜
For those of you that feel that the modern pens take away from the romanticism of writing, there is no better option than these quills. Used in medieval times and paired with parchment, some scribes considered this to be sharper and more flexible than metal pens. Now, most of the feathers on these pens are just for decoration, of course. These pens can usually be found as a part of an ink set and comes in all colors and sizes.
Sailor Rotating Tip Pen🖊
This is my absolute favorite writing instrument and is perfect for tests, papers, and mark-ups. They are-multi-functional in which you can switch from a mechanical pencil, black pen, and a red pen with just a simple twist. These maki-e pens are affordable as well, ranging from $10-$35, depending on the collection.
G.C. Press Stationary📜
This brand of stationary can be found in any large department store. In my opinion, they have the most stylish and highest quality paper than anywhere else. They feature multiple collections that vary by different sizes. For example, those that want to write a small thank you note can use their mini stationary sets, which also have small envelopes to match. Larger letter sets have thinner paper and carry more pages, making it more affordable for those frequent letter writers. A letter is not complete without the seal, which they carry in a variety of high quality stickers that can feature your initials or a beautiful gold embossed feather. Their website carries a much larger range of options from calendars to wedding cards. My favorite collections are My Blissful Noon, Feather, Porte Bonheur, and pretty much all of the ones that have sakura blossoms.
You can find different writing instruments and letter papers in these locations:
Ginza Retail Store: This store carries more G.C. Press items than the other department stores, and is their main shop.
Tokyo Station has a big department store where you can find a floor dedicated to household items and stationary.
Tokyu Department Store in Shibuya carries everything, so you can certainly find stationary here.
Ito-Ya is a store that specializes in all things stationary, a safe bet for anyone looking for a specific item.
Muji Store is popular store with international branches that sells affordable stationary and clothing items.
For a more economical option, Daiso is the way to go! They offer a large range of paper with more paper per set for a very cheap price. A lot of their letter sets also include the envelope so you don’t need to make a second purchase. My favorites however, are not their letter sets but their stickers. These cheap stickers are the perfect option to decorate any envelope and are all in all, super cute.
Inkstand by Kakimori💧
This venue is one of a kind and lets you create your own ink either by yourself or with one of their staff. Start from 17 basic colors, choose two or three, and blend them until you get the perfect color. Blending takes 45 minutes, and bottling takes an hour and a half. In that time, you can visit their sister shop Kakimori nearby to browse their stationary items. This shop was created for those who love calligraphy and ink, so if that’s you then this is your next destination.
Whether it is writing a thank you letter to a teacher or a birthday card to your best friend, Japanese stationary and cards are a perfect gift for friends and family.