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After moving to Japan I learned how amazing their stationery is. As someone who has always had a love of pens and notebooks, I don’t know how I’ve gone this far in life not knowing Japanese stationery is as amazing as it is. So, if you’re out there, wanting to get some new stationery, or wanting to learn about Japanese stationery, I wanted to put this together. It includes many of my favorite items and some items that others have told me are exceptionally Japanese and useful.
But first, if you don’t know about Japanese stationery, you might be wondering why it’s so special. First, it’s inexpensive in relation to other items of the same quality you might find in the U.S., the U.K. or Australia. It’s also full of Japanese ingenuity. Check out our Stationery Gift Guide for more recommendations.
You can find amazing Japanese stationery, check out Stationery Pal. Use code MACKENZIEJERVIS for 12% off.
Since its release in 1945, the pencil 8900 has been representative of all pencils in Japan. You can smoothly write or draw with it. The density ranges from 2H (the lightest) to 2B (the heaviest), so you can select pitch-black pencils or light black ones according to your favor or purpose.
uni Kuru Toga
This is literally a very mechanical pencil. The mechanics within the pencil rotates the lead every time it is pushed onto the paper, so the lead will stay sharp all the time. You may have felt troubled that the lead gets blunt while you keep writing with a mechanical pencil, but with Kuru Toga you will no longer need to feel the stress!
Platinum Stainless Steel
Japanese stationery company Platinum produces mechanical pencils for drafting. These pencils have a functional but beautiful and highly sophisticated design. I recommend these mechanical pencils to those who want to possess something professional in their daily lives.
Pentel Orenz Mechanical Pencil
The Orenz mechanical pencil features 0.2 mm lead for amazingly thin, clean lines. It’s great for writing notes, math problems, graphs, and more!
Despite being so fine, the lead doesn’t break as you write, due to the innovative Orenz mechanism. The guide pipe protects the entire length of the lead, and you write without extending the lead out of the guide pipe, which glides right along the surface of the paper. Since it has rounded edges, the guide pipe doesn’t catch on the paper or scratch it. As you write, the guide pipe gets shorter. When you need more lead, just click the top button as you would with any other mechanical pencil. The guide pipe will extend again, along with the lead inside.
Because there’s no lead breakage, your papers remain clean without smudges from broken lead dust. You can also retract the guide pipe so it doesn’t poke you or your belongings when you’ve stowed the pencil away.
Muji Gel Ink Ballpoint Pens
Gel-ink ballpoint pen with a frosted body for writing or drawing. The tip of the pen uses a mechanism to keep the ink from flowing in the reverse direction and drying out. The water-based ink allows for smooth writing and no bleeding through papers. It also produces bright colors.
Read Also: What to Buy at Muji in Japan
Tombow Dual Brush Pens
Available in a dazzling array of colors and featuring a convenient double-sided design, Tombow Dual Brush pens are wonderful for drawing, lettering, and crafting. It’s no wonder that they are so popular among artists and crafters alike!
- Flexible and resilient nylon brush tip for creating fine, medium, and broad strokes.
- Sturdy bullet tip for drawing consistent fine lines.
- Water-based, blendable, acid-free, odorless ink
Pilot Hi-Tec-C Gel Pens
The Hi-Tec-C is a humble-looking pen with a well-deserved and enthusiastic following. Its precise needle-point tip is specially designed to provide minimal drag and effortless ink flow. The pen’s vivid gel ink is made of a special biopolymer resin whose high viscosity prevents feathering and bleed-through. The ink has enough water resistance to prevent your notes from getting ruined by spills or rain, but it is also soluble enough that artists can create subtle shading and wash effects with a water brush.
Sakura Gelly Roll Classic Gel Pens
Invented in the 1980s, the Gelly Roll was the world’s first gel ink pen. Since then, Sakura has continued to refine and improve its gel ink formula. These Gelly Roll Classic pens feature-rich, smooth ink that is archival, waterproof, fade-resistant, and resistant to chemicals used to commit check fraud. The ink also resists feathering and bleed-through on most papers. These pens are perfect for writing letters, decorating scrapbooks, and highlighting stamps and artwork.
Uni Jetstream Multi Pens
The Uni-ball Jetstream is one of our all-time-favorite pens, and it’s not hard to see why. Featuring a special low-viscosity ballpoint ink, the Jetstream combines the smoothness, waterproofness, and fast-drying times of a ballpoint pen with the vibrant color and crisp, consistent lines of a gel pen. Its ink cartridges feature a special spring mechanism that prevents ink leakage, plus a twin ball in the back of the tip to prevent backflow.
This multi-pen features a slim, monochromatic body—perfect for slipping into a pocket or pen pouch. It has wide push tabs to easily switch between black, blue, or red ink.
Pilot FriXion Gel Pen
The long-awaited retractable version of the popular Pilot FriXion line. FriXion pens are extremely popular in Japan and can be found absolutely anywhere eve in convenience stores. The pen features the same beloved thermo-sensitive ink that can be erased by friction but now comes in a sleek, retractable body. Just push the clip to extend and retract the tip. A subtle yellow color appears along the barrel side to show when the pen is extended. The special rubber tip at the end allows you to erase conveniently without having to cap or uncap your pen. The pen writes smoothly and erases without a trace! Refills are available for select ink colors and point sizes only.
Kokuyo Beetle Tip Dual Color
This highlighter has a unique pen point that is divided in two, like a beetle’s horn. Each side has a different color. You just turn the highlighter to change the color of your highlighter.
uni Propus Window
The feature of this highlighter is the transparent window put at the pen point. As you can see the characters or lines that you are going to highlight through this window, you can avoid highlighting excessive words.
Pilot FriXion Light
The ink of FRIXION light is special. It turns transparent when it is heated to reach a certain temperature. The tail end of the highlighter has a rubber that can generate frictional heat and delete the lines drawn. As the ink is erased by the heat, it will recover the color if you cool it, such as in a fridge
Featuring softly colored ink, the Zebra Mildliner is perfect for the times when you want to highlight something without overwhelming everything else on the page. It features water-based ink and a convenient double-sided design—a standard chisel tip on one end for normal highlighting and a fine bullet tip on the other for underlining, circling, and writing notes
Well, have you ever felt troubled by the wrinkled paper when gluing? These tape paste can free you from that trouble. You can paste paper neatly and cleanly without annoying wrinkles. Cartridges are also sold, so don’t forget to get them for a refill.
Tombow Mono Removable Adhesive
This convenient adhesive tape runner is great for paper crafts, scrapbooking, and other art projects. The runner dispenses the adhesive cleanly and precisely, and the adhesive is acid-free, archival safe, and photo safe. Replacement adhesive cartridges are easy to install and can be found under Recommended Refills/Parts.
This adhesive tape runner features removable adhesive. Items glued together with this adhesive can be easily removed, and the adhesive wipes off cleanly without leaving any stains or residue.
Nichiban Tenori Adhesive
Nichiban’s Tenori adhesive stamp lets you apply adhesive in two ways—stamp or roll! It’s perfect for pasting photos, scrapbooking, making envelopes, and other craftwork. The Tenori contains a roll of adhesive tape. For stamping, first, position the stamp using the white guide, then simply press the plunger, and a small rectangle of adhesive is instantly applied. Thanks to the guide, you do not need to hold the paper in place. This makes it easier to apply adhesive to small pieces of paper that are difficult to hold in place using your fingers. To use the stamp as a roller, push the guide into the body, tilt the stamp to align the red guide dot with the surface to be glued, and start rolling. A continuous strip of adhesive is applied.
The strong, acid-free adhesive is light blue with a dot pattern. Stamped rectangles measure approximately 7 x 10 mm each. One roll of adhesive tape is 6.5 m (21.3 ft.) long and can stamp approximately 600 rectangles. Refills are available.
Mono has been a popular and standard eraser in Japan since it was first released in 1969. It has a rich line-up including five sizes and a black version.
This eraser is very innovative. Don’t you notice that its unique shape has a lot of corners? These corners are useful in erasing small mistakes. Additionally, when one block of the eraser is shaved away, then new edges appear.
Iwako Kawaii Erasers
I’m not lying when I say there are endless eraser options too! From professional use to cute puzzle rubber erasers, you’ll definitely want to check them out! There are kawaii erasers in the form of fruits and vegetables that are very well known among teenagers. There are scented erasers as well; the Cola scented ones are especially famous! In particular, we recommend looking for Iwako brand erasers, available in dozens of colors and varieties. They are also Japan-made, high in quality, and are found sold in sets at a variety of stationery stores across Japan for a few hundred yen. For a lower price, you can often find 100-yen stores carrying their own versions.
Kokuyo Mirikeshi Eraser
From small writing in your planner to entire lines of notes, this handy eraser removes marks easily. Each of its five sides is a different width to precisely erase mistakes of any size.
- Corner, 3 mm, and 4 mm sizes for single characters or small spaces.
- 5 mm and 6 mm sizes for entire lines or larger handwriting.
- Labels for each size that remain visible even as the eraser is used.
- Latex- and phthalate-free
- Corner, 3 mm, and 4 mm sizes for single characters or small spaces.
- 5 mm and 6 mm sizes for entire lines or larger handwriting.
- Labels for each size that remain visible even as the eraser is used.
- Latex- and phthalate-free
Tombow Mono Zero
Introducing the world’s thinnest eraser!
Tombow has created (according to their research) the thinnest and most agile eraser line on the market! The insightful designer created an eraser that logically fits its function. With pencil leads so thin, the correction tool should be an eraser that is shaped similarly to its nemesis. Two shapes are available, a 2.3 mm round shape and a 2.5 mm x 5 mm rectangular shape.
The eraser can be advanced forward with a push of the top. The body features a metal holder at the end to withstand hard pressure. The design of the holder facilitates precise movements and includes a clip for easy carrying. The eraser is refillable and is the same high-quality eraser that Tombow is famous for.
Plus Whiper Flex
This correction tape has a flexible head and a unique shape. It is designed to reflect the movement of the hand effectively. The tape width ranges from 4mm to 6mm. This product also achieved the Good Design Award in 2008.
Tombow Mono 2 way
This product is categorized as ‘erasers’ too because a correction tape is equipped at the top end and an eraser is set at the tail end. It is, as its name shows, actually two-way. Those of us who often use both pen and pencil (or a pen + pencil multi pen!) will find that the Tombow Mono 2way Correction Tape + Eraser is the perfect all-in-one correction tool. One end has a slide-out correction tape head, while the other has a twist-out eraser. Both can be retracted when not in use, ensuring protection against damage. The correction tape and eraser are refillable.
Kokuyo Dual Head Keshipita
Standard dispensers have immobile heads that can cause scratchy tape lines and incomplete tape. This correction tape dispenser features a movable dual-head capable of staying flush against the paper. Now you can have clean, full tape dispensed at every use. The dispenser head rotates and flexes as it glides across the paper, making it easy to use, comfortable to hold, and excellent at covering mistakes. 4 mm, 5 mm, and 6 mm tape widths and refills are available.
Pentel Power-Corre Correction Pen
Correcting mistakes is as easy as writing over them with the Pentel Power-Corre Correction Pen. There’s no need to shake it or fumble with a cap—simply extend the tip with a click of the top button, and it’s ready to use!
- Convenient retractable design.
- Pressurized ink cartridge ensures a smooth and even flow every time you press the tip down against the page.
- Needle-point tip provides a clear view of the correction area.
- See-through grip section lets you see when the pen needs to be refilled.
- Safety mechanism that automatically retracts the tip when the clip is used, preventing accidental leaks if you forget to retract the tip before pocketing the pen.
Uni Whitia Correction Pen
Finally, here’s a correction fluid that’s functional AND cool looking! The Uniball Whitia is retractable, stylish, and in a pen-shaped form for extra precision.
Campus is a standard notebook in Japan. This series have many different variations; some of the Campus notebook have dots on every rule line, which makes it easier to draw figures or tables. The silky-smooth paper in this notebook is subtly printed with a unique layout: a dot grid with horizontal lines running through the dots. With this paper, it is suddenly easier to write organized evenly-spaced notes and to neatly align all those triangles and cubes on your geometry homework. The paper was developed by observing the note-taking habits of students from Tokyo Daigaku (Tokyo University, or Todai), one of Japan’s top universities. As a result, it caters to students’ specific needs. Students, scientists, and anyone else who needs help corralling their notes into organized text and diagrams will find this notebook delightful.
APICA Premium C.D. NOTEBOOK
The specialty of this notebook is its paper. It is advertised as the ‘gentleman’s notebook’ and the paper used is like ‘silk’! Premium C.D. notebook is designed to pursue comfortable writing. It’s a little costly, but it’s definitely worthwhile. From its silky-smooth paper to its richly detailed covers, this Apica Premium C.D. notebook exudes a superb sense of quality and sophistication. You might even hesitate to write in it, but that would be a shame. Once you experience the effortless glide of your favorite rollerball or fountain pen across its pages and the beautiful way the pages hold and show off the ink, you’ll be looking for excuses to keep writing.
In addition to filling the notebook with its luxurious “A.Silky 865 Premium” paper, Apica obsessively fine-tuned every aspect of it to satisfy the pickiest of notebook users. Designed for discerning users who seek sophistication, the notebook has a subtly shimmering thick paper cover beautifully printed with scroll patterns and a silver embossed name. Thread binding provides an additional classic touch and allows the notebook to lay flat when open. Accent threads, which can be glimpsed inside the notebook, match the cover color.
NOViTA is an excellent file for arranging documents since its spine can be shortened and extended to match your usage. It also has a rich variation of color and size. Life is more fun when you’re organized! Kokuyo’s innovative Novita Alpha series is an amazing filing system that lets you create your own file book that is customized to your needs. The Clear Books are the book covers, and the holders (called “Files”) hold your documents. Mix and match the Clear Books with the holder types you want to use! Simply slide the holders into the grooves in the Clear Book spine, and they stay put securely. The holders are very easy to insert and remove, and you can insert as many or as few as you want. They come in a variety of formats and the Pocket Files come in a rainbow of colors. This helps you organize your files and makes them easy to find.
Because it’s so easy to add and remove the holders, you can just take the documents you need to your meetings and classes, instead of carrying around all your documents all the time. Using different-colored holders for different projects or discussion topics makes this even easier. Use them for your personal files or meeting notes, or insert meeting presentation materials and distribute them to meeting participants. At home, sort your receipts or other files by month or type. For school, divide your notes by subject!
Each Clear Book has flexible yet thick and sturdy translucent covers that protect your documents. To label your book, you can pull out the included spine label and insert your own if desired. The book is slim if you have not filled it much, but also expands to accommodate many documents. You can insert up to six holders, and each Clear Book already comes with two Clear 12-pocket Pocket Files (24 total pockets).
The holders are ultra-thin with a thin spine. Most have multiple pockets, which is great for organizing. Each holder is very flexible and therefore easy to carry around, but the protective covers are durable enough to protect your files even when the holder is carried outside of a Clear Book.
Kokuyo Neo Critz
After you collect these pieces of stationery, you need something which to put them into. This is the last recommendation, a pen case called Neo Critz. It is used not only as a pen case (of course), but also as a pen stand. This cleverly designed pencil case is easy to carry around and transforms into an easy-access pen stand on your desk! Use it for pens, art supplies, or even as a travel pouch. Thanks to the double-zipper design, you can unzip just the top part of the case to quickly access the contents without fully opening the case. This is especially useful when you want to grab pens while the case is still in your bag.
To use the case as a pen stand, unzip it and fold the upper half back. As a stand, the case has a wide triangular footprint that gives it great stability and topple resistance. A slot in the front of the case is great for holding erasers or clipping on hairpins or paperclips. The slot is not attached at the bottom of the case, however, so very small items can slip underneath it into the main compartment of the case.
Sun-Star Delde Slide Pen Pouch
This convertible pouch has plenty of carrying room and transforms into a convenient pen stand on your desk! Use it to carry pens, pencils, scissors, cosmetics, or other accessories. Choose from a variety of fun patterns and colors. You can even personalize it with pins and appliques.
Inside, the pouch has a large storage space with two single-pen pockets and one larger pocket on the sides for keeping things organized.
To transform the pouch, set it on your desk, open the zipper, and pull down on the two side tabs. You can view a demonstration video in the photos section. The pouch can also be carried with the top slid down for saving space or holding smaller items.
This Natural style pouch has a solid-colored base section, a natural-colored top section, and a metal zipper.
Lihit Lab Smart Fit PuniLabo Stand Pen Case
Give your pens an adorable animal attendant with this innovative telescoping pen case! Based on the ISOT 2016 prize-winning Actact Stand Pen Case, it transforms quickly and easily into a pen cup for your desk. Use it for carrying pens, cosmetics, and other accessories up to 6.5″ (16.5 cm) long. An elastic band inside the lid is perfect for holding an eraser. The bottom of the case pops up when you press it down on a desk, lifting the contents and making them easy to pick through. When it’s time to take the case with you, simply pull the bottom out and zip the lid closed. The case is made of soft silicone that’s pleasant to the touch and easy to clean with water.
Lihit Lab Teffa Pen Case
This book-style pencil case from Lihit Lab features a three-sided zipper opening and contains an internal sectional divider. The front of the case features two slim pockets for holding thinner or small items. The left side of the opened case features two straps across both the front cover and center divider to hold a multitude of writing instruments. On the right side of the opened case, there are three small mesh pockets on the divider for holding smaller items like erasers and lead packs, and one larger mesh pocket on the back cover to hold larger items. Several different colors are available.
Are you looking for a way to sort out your schedule and every day in a fun way? Hobonichi Planner is a journal that allows you to log your daily plans, track goals, and write down any other thoughts you have. Many people also paste cuttings from newspapers and other study materials inside, as the pages are light but high-quality.
The style of these planners is sleek and unique. They come in a variety of colors, sizes, and styles, and there are even covers you can purchase these planners to further customize these journals. Even if you are not used to journaling or writing down your schedule, this planner makes it easy and fun to become more organized.
Behold the sensational Hobonichi Techo, one of Japan’s best-selling daily planners! More than just an agenda, the Hobonichi Techo planner is designed as a blank canvas for documenting the small moments of everyday life. Use it as a diary, scrapbook, photo album, sketchbook, or simply as a place to record your thoughts. The name Techo is the Japanese word for “planner,” derived from the Japanese words for “hand” and “notebook.”
You can purchase Hobonichi products at stationery stores throughout Japan, including LoFt, and also at their official website.
Check out our full guide to Hobonichi Techo Planners.
Kokuyo Jibun Techo
Not just a planner, the Jibun Techo is a customizable 3-in-1 system for chronicling your life from year to year. The name Jibun Techo comes from the Japanese words for “self” and “planner.” It’s meant to be a place for you to record the story of your daily life and—perhaps—discover things about yourself.
The Jibun Techo system consists of three separate booklets: an annual “Diary” booklet for planning out schedules and to-do lists, a “LIFE” booklet for recording more permanent information, and an “IDEA” booklet for jotting down anything else that comes to mind. You can choose to use one, two, or all three booklets.
Read our complete guide for Kokuyo Jibun Techo Planners.
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