Whenever I post something from my Hobonichi, I sometimes get questions about where I obtain such cute stationery. The truth is, I get most of it in Japan but that’s not a helpful answer for most people. But don’t worry, there’s also a lot of stationery I buy online that you can get from anywhere in the world! Here are a few of my online and in-store picks for how to get all the Japanese stationery your heart desires, without ever having to set foot in Japan.
We are lucky to live in an era where just about anything you want can be purchased online with various means. You can even use proxies to buy from actual Japanese online markets that don’t normally ship overseas, which opens up infinite possibilities for shopping! Here are a few online markets where I’ve had the most success in obtaining high-quality Japanese stationery.
There are so many Japanese sellers on Etsy selling stationery and you can find just about anything you’re looking for: memo sheets, stickers, stamps, journals, pens… I could list forever, but if you can dream it it’s likely Etsy has it. I find that for the most part Japanese sellers are very honest with their prices and don’t drive up the profit margin to an extreme. There are often times I find sticker packs or washi tapes for only about $1 more than what they retail for in Japan! Here are some shops I have personally ordered from that I had a good experience with, but there are countless others. Just start searching!
From Japan With Love (Japanese stickers and stamps)
Japan Korea Hong Kong (stationery from various parts of East Asia)
Sweet Supplies Store (tons of various stationery from Japan)
Cute Things From Japan was another Etsy store I really enjoyed that now has its own website! I’ve made countless orders from this shop, and highly recommend it as well.
eBay requires a bit more hunting than Etsy, but it’s still a good option. Beware that a lot of options for cheap washi tape and stickers come from China, where the quality is less than ideal. I made the mistake when I first started journaling of buying a bunch of cheap $1 washi from Chinese eBay sellers, only to have them arrive and they hardly even stick to the paper, making them useless. There is a huge difference in quality between these cheap tapes and proper Japanese tapes, so try to find items that come from Japan! You can use your search term + “Japan” or “Japanese” to help narrow down results.
Mercari is a flea market website and app that originates from Japan and is incredibly popular there. Because of this, there are a decent amount of Japanese sellers on the USA version of the app who use it to unload their personal stationery stashes. You have to get a bit creative with search terms sometimes, but it’s worth the hunt to find USA sellers that have extra stationery laying around.
Not sure what you want? Subscription boxes are a great way to dive in and dabble. Curated by people living in Japan, you get the personal touch of someone only picking products they really enjoy themselves. ZenPop is my favorite, I used to order their boxes month after month and was never disappointed. I only stopped because I started accumulating more stationery than I could use, but I keep an eye on their monthly packs and buy them one-off if I see one that really appeals to me. Other subscription box options include Sticky Kit and Neko Box’s Zakka Kit which both ship straight from Japan.
Did you know there’s a USA store for popular Japanese brand Muji? You can get all of the popular stationery that the simplistic brand carries right on their store, along with a bunch of other clothing and home goods that emphasize the importance of simplicity.
Jet Pens doesn’t only carry just pens, but a wide arrange of notebooks, washi tapes, pencil cases, and more! Best of all, free shipping over $25, so you can shop guilt-free and get a great haul for a good price!
Online Japanese Shops
This is undoubtedly the best and cheapest way to buy Japanese stationery if you want to buy a lot, but is also a bit more involved than just buying from any of the shops above. You can buy directly from Japanese stationery shops like LoFT and Tokyu Hands to get items for what they retail for in Japan. The process to do this would be paying a proxy (like FromJapan) to order the items for you and then ship them from their warehouse to you. To me, this is worth the hassle because there is so much more on these websites than what you’ll find on any of the websites above, and once you have the ability to proxy, you can buy from all sorts of various Japanese websites with confidence!
While shopping online is great, there is a simple pleasure in going to a store and picking out something for yourself. Depending on where you live, this can be difficult or a piece of cake. It’s worth looking up your location to see what kind of stationery shops are around. It’s fairly common for most to carry washi tape and stickers (even if they may not be Japanese imports), and even chains like Michaels and JoAnn have items to get started with if you really can’t find anything else.
If you’re in New York City, view my NYC-specific post here!
Kinokuniya / Maido
If you are lucky enough to have a Kinokuniya or especially a Maido near you, count your blessings. Kinokuniya alone carries a bunch of Japanese stationery like washi tapes, memo pads, pens, and fancy tools – but Maido is a store solely dedicated to Japanese stationery. However, as one might expect, these stores are pretty expensive and the markup can often be well over double.
Daiso is a Japanese shop that acts on the dollar store model where most items are under $1.50 (¥100 in Japan). They have loads of adorable stationery for cheap, mostly paper goods with adorable characters on them!
Paper Source has a great assortment of washi tapes, including popular Japanese brand MT. I haven’t had much luck with anything other than tapes and various journals, but it’s worth a browse.
Mitsukoshi at Epcot
This one only applies if you’re going to Disneyworld in Florida, but the shop inside Japan’s part of Epcot is fantastic for stationery! The prices are surprisingly reasonable (considering it’s Disneyworld), so don’t miss it if you’re planning a trip there!
I hope this little stationery guide was helpful to you and helps ramp up your stationery collection to the next level! If you have any suggestions to add to this guide, please let me know in the comments!