Trip to TAKEO, Tokyo

After my visit to Misuzudo, I descended the stairs and soaked in all that was TAKEO.

Storefront of TAKEO, Tokyo

Storefront of TAKEO, Tokyo

TAKEO was founded in 1899. Their store carries approximately 300 brands, with 9,000-ish specific types of paper. You have to love a store that has a “mission for paper“:

Paper has long played an important role in our society and economy, always present in our surroundings like air or water. As well as its function as a recording medium, paper is appreciated as a beautiful material that adorns and enriches our daily lives with its presence.

Comparing paper to air and water…yes.

The store is a serious vision in white. I felt like I should have taken a shower before entering.

Interior of TAKEO, Tokyo

The interior is just so darn shiny! The walls were lined with numbered drawers, each containing a different paper.

Paper drawers at TAKEO, Tokyo

I wanted to open all of the drawers and look inside them. I’m pretty sure that they would have thrown me out of the store if I did that. Maybe I should have tried doing it after I completed my purchase. Too late now.

Paper drawers at TAKEO, Tokyo

Sign at TAKEO, Tokyo

Thanks to Jill for translating this signage for me. I was wondering about it.

Search by Brand –>
Search by Color and Texture –>
Search by Use (Purpose) –>

Look – it’s another library of sample books! If this set reminds you of the one I saw at Itoya, that’s because in 2015, TAKEO collaborated with Itoya in designing the 7th floor of their Ginza store. The sample books at Itoya are the same as the ones at TAKEO (although the wood bookshelf at Itoya is way cooler).

Paper sample books at TAKEO, Tokyo

TAKEO’s website describes the arrangement of their paper samples as being done by “color gradation”. I’d call it “arrangement by rainbow”.

Interior of TAKEO, Tokyo

Paper sample table at TAKEO, Tokyo

Interior of TAKEO, Tokyo

Paper sample tables at TAKEO, Tokyo

When you find a paper you like, you take the sample card up to the sales counter and a clerk will retrieve your papers for you. The back of each card offers details about the specific paper.

Paper sample and table at TAKEO, Tokyo

Mmm…cheese paper.

So yeah, I bought some paper there. All papers are available to purchase by the sheet in the A4 size (210 mm x 297 mm, approximately 8.25″ x 11.82″).

In my post about Itoya, I mentioned how the pattern of the three papers that follow were known as “dotted washi” when I worked at Paper Source in the mid-nineties. I have since discovered that it’s actually called Takeo Tamashiki Arare and it’s manufactured at TAKEO’s own mill in Japan. 

I’ve always thought that the paper’s dotted pattern was printed, but it’s not – it’s a watermark. During the papermaking process, a traditional Japanese technique called Sukashi is used, during which designs on the paper mold create areas of pulp that are thinner than the rest of the sheet.

All of these papers are grain long.

Takeo Tamashiki Arare paper made in Japan

Takeo Tamashiki Arare paper made in Japan

It’s hard to tell from this image, but the polka dots on the orange paper are smaller than the ones on the previous two sheets.

Takeo Tamashiki Arare paper made in Japan

Upon examining the next two papers, I decided that the pattern is also a watermark and not printed. Both sheets are grain long.

Machine-made paper from Echizen

Machine-made paper from Echizen

I had a hard time getting decent pictures of the next three papers (grr…). I have no idea how the iridescent pattern is created. On their own, the colors seem really pale, but you can see how they relate to each other in the group shot. All three sheets are grain long.

Machine-made paper from Echizen

Machine-made paper from Echizen

Machine-made paper from Echizen

Machine-made papers from Echizen

I’m pretty sure that the next sheet is made of two layers of pulp and the fibers look like hemp. It’s quite a lovely sheet of paper. Like the other papers, this sheet is grain long.

Machine-made paper from Echizen

The last sheet of paper is known as Tairei and sadly, it’s another one I couldn’t quite capture in a photo. The fibers are silver and the surface of the paper has an overall sparkle to it. The sheet is grain long.

Tairei Black paper with Silver

If you ever visit Tokyo, you must go to TAKEO. I’m afraid I have to insist. Here’s how to get there:

  • Address: 3-18-3 Kanda Nishiki-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
  • Phone: 03-3292-3669
  • Public Transportation: 8 minute walk from the Hanzomon Line/Toei Mita Line/Toei Shinjuku Line: Jinbocho Station (exit A9); 8 minute walk from the Tozai Line: Takebashi Station (exit 3B/KKR exit); 8 minute walk from the Chiyoda Line: Shinochanomizu Station/Toei Shinjuku Line: Ogawamachi Station (exit B7); 15 minute walk from the JR Chuo Line/Sobu Line: Ochanomizu Station (Ochanomizubashi exit)

If you can’t get there any time soon, check out the Google Map for TAKEO. On the bottom left-hand side of the screen, you’ll see three photos of the store. If you click on one of them, you can get a 360 degree view of the interior.

Total sheets of paper purchased to date: 20

7 Responses to “Trip to TAKEO, Tokyo”

By Kris Stewart - 13 July 2016 Reply

Drool. That is all.

By Elissa - 14 July 2016 Reply

Kris –

Right? I’m looking at the pictures and drooling along with you.


By daria wilber - 13 July 2016 Reply

Glorious! It’s like a cathedral to paper. I love that the paper one buys is not exposed to light and dust, (though I don’t think dust would dare to enter the portals of Takeo!)

By Elissa - 14 July 2016 Reply

Daria –

That place is frighteningly clean. They must have a dude with a title like Surface Whitener, whose only job is to wipe things down. I wonder what cleaner they use?


By Craig Anczelowitz - 11 December 2018 Reply

Thanks – Awagami now makes a brand new super-thin washi Tamashiki for Takeo……I was the first to import it into the US circa 1991 when I ran paper division at Kates Paperie in NYC…….Tamashiki still going strong 🙂

By Elissa - 4 January 2019 Reply

Craig –

I love that paper so much! Thanks for introducing it to the U.S. Can the thin Tamashiki be purchased domestically?


By Craig Anczelowitz - 21 August 2019 Reply

Oh, I think Tamashiki thin “washi” is still only available in Japan, sorry to say……

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

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