Trip to Tokyu Hands, Tokyo

My hubby and I started our second day in Tokyo by visiting the Meiji Jingu Shrine, which was so beautiful – it had a stunning iris garden.

Irises at Meiji Jingu Gardens

Afterwards, we decided to split up – I wanted to check out Tokyu Hands and he wasn’t interested. Can you blame him? Tokyu Hands is considered the craft store in Tokyo. I was going to spend a lot of time in there.

We decided to meet up again at 11:30 a.m. We made sure our phones were in sync and could accept text messages, then off we went.

I had the location of the store pinned on Google Maps, so I followed the directions for what subways to take. When I exited the station, I discovered that the store was not where the map said it would be. I went back to Google Maps and it told me that the store was 40ish minutes away – huh?

So I reset Google Maps to tell me how to get to the store. I finally made it there by 10:30 a.m. I was feeling pretty good about myself for having navigated the subways independently.

When I laid eyes on the store sign I was so happy!

Store sign outside of Tokyu Hands Tokyo

Tokyu Hands is one big ass store. You know you’re in a big ass store when they offer you printed floor guides by the entrance. The first four floors had various household and personal items, like toiletries. It felt very much like a home-focused department store.

I decided to start my journey on the 7th floor – Variety and Hobby Craft. After another episode of multiple escalators, I arrived. I was on a mission to find bookbinding supplies. Thanks to this awesome post by S.T. Leng (a.k.a. Bukurama), I knew what to look for during my search.

The floor was a sprawling collection of everything awesome and I just had to see it all. How could one pass up viewing the Magic props section? Or Physical and Chemical Instruments? It was all good.

I was super-psyched to come across what I’m pretty sure were Dremel bits – at least they were the right size.

Dremel attachments at Tokyu Hands Tokyo

After 20 minutes of wandering, I finally found the bookbinding section. Hello Binding goods!
Binding Goods sign at Tokyu Hands Tokyo

The section was smaller than I had anticipated. It was mostly stocked with the basics – bookboard, bookcloth, glue, and an unusually large selection of repair tapes.

Bookbinding supplies at Tokyu Hands Tokyo

I did find this cool package of headbands – the colors were so much brighter than those I usually encounter. And only ¥500 – that’s under $5.00 USD! 

Bookbinding supplies at Tokyu Hands Tokyo

There were quite a few products here that were offered by this company Book Material. I had never heard of them before. I tried searching for them online, but had no luck. Is anyone familiar with them? They have to be out there somewhere.

Once I was done conquering the 7th floor, I went up to the 8th floor – Stationery. Right at the entrance I was greeted by a massive display of washi tape. So.much.tape. I just circled the display for about 10 minutes, taking in all of the colors and patterns.
Washi tape display at Tokyu Hands Tokyo

Once again, I wandered around the aisles aimlessly, easily distracted by the extensive awesomeness. I ended up in the rubber stamps aisle and found this cool Japanese alphabet set. Have I ever mentioned that I collect alphabet stamps? That’s for another post.
Japanese alphabet stamps at Tokyu Hands Tokyo

It didn’t take long for me to find the paper section. All of their papers were wrapped up in plastic. It made me sad and I was convinced that they were all suffocating.Shelves of handmade papers at Tokyu Hands Tokyo

The selection was small and sadly didn’t have anything that grabbed my attention.

Shelf of Chiyogami papers at Tokyu Hands Tokyo

As I continued my path around the store, I found myself in the Leather handicrafts section. Holy crap, they had an amazing selection of leather – oh, the colors!

Leather display at Tokyu Hands Tokyo

Some of the leather was available precut so you could use it for smaller projects.

Leather display at Tokyu Hands Tokyo

And then there were the exotics…Exotic leather display at Tokyu Hands Tokyo

What kind of leather is that blue one?

Exotic leather at Tokyu Hands Tokyo

And this green one? I wanted it.

Exotic leather display at Tokyu Hands Tokyo

So what did I choose? Nothing!

While I was in love with the leather, I didn’t want to put it in my suitcase and have it get my clothes all stinky. Or carry it on the plane home and have it get the plane all stinky. I’m still dreaming about that green skin…

And in general, what was in my haul from Tokyu Hands? Well, it just wasn’t happening for me that day. I shopped at this fantastic store and walked away with nothing. I can’t explain it.

And as if that wasn’t enough of a bummer, my hubby and I had a nightmare getting reconnected at 11:30 a.m. It turns out that he went to a different store location and for obvious reasons, couldn’t find me there. On top of that, we experienced multiple technology fails. Damn you rented wifi.

It took about 1.5 hours for us to finally find each other. By the way, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Krispy Kreme for offering us a highly visible place to rendezvous. Go donuts.

Drama aside, the store is totally worth a visit if you’re ever in the area. Here’s where I ended up, in case you want to go there:

  • Address: 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
  • Phone: 03-5361-3111
  • Public Transportation: 2 minutes on foot from New South exit of Shinjuku Station

Total sheets of paper purchased to date: 10

So what do you think? I'd love to know!

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