Category : Japan

Trip to Masumi, Tokyo

It all started with this Instagram post by Steph Rue, a book artist and former Fulbright Junior Researcher. She visited Masumi, a conservation and restoration shop in Tokyo and posted a picture from her visit.

She had me at “Rows of beautiful silk textiles…”

That one post inspired our trek to Masumi on our third day in Tokyo (yes, I’m still on my third day).

Before leaving for Japan, I printed out a picture of the storefront, so I knew exactly what we were looking for. Except that we couldn’t find it. We wandered up and down several quiet, narrow streets, looking for a store that just didn’t seem to exist. Did I mention that we were using Google Maps (and had the address) at the time? Fail.

We were walking on one street for what must have been the third time when we passed a building that caught Chris’ eye. It did not look like my picture, but he said that he thought it was the place. To me, it looked like a residence with a long driveway. It definitely did not look like a business. Nevertheless, I agreed to take to take a look.

We walked toward the building and it was then that I noticed what looked like conservation-ish supplies in a glassed-in room. Hrm…maybe this was the place. I approached a man and told him that I was a bookbinder looking for supplies. He went inside and brought out another man who thankfully, spoke English. He told us that he’d take us over to the shop. Victory!

It turned out that our own personal Superman was none other than Yasushi Yokoo, owner of Masumi.

After an embarrassingly short walk, we were in front of the shop…and it looked just like my picture.

Exterior of Masumi, Tokyo

Holy crap, that place is fantastic!

In one part of the store was a small section packed with conservation tools and supplies. I am sooo kicking myself for not buying a whale bone folder that Yasushi showed to me. It was flexible and felt like plastic. At the very least, I should have taken a picture of it.

There were floor to ceiling wooden shelves containing dozens of types of handmade washi. Want.

Paper shelves at Masumi, Tokyo

Yasushi brought out several types of washi for me to look at, each one amazing for different reasons. One type of washi was no longer being made because no one had learned the papermaker’s methods before he passed – this paper’s tradition and history was basically lost. He said that this was all too common – the younger generation wasn’t interested in the “old way”.

He showed me the thinnest washi I’d ever seen. It was more delicate than onion skin – super floaty. It almost wasn’t there. I can’t believe that he let me touch it. I can still feel it between my fingers.

I also got to see paper that was made specifically for constructing traditional Japanese hanging scrolls. These sheets weren’t the same size as what I’m used to seeing – these were narrow and much longer. I can’t even imagine the size of the papermaking mold that was used to create it. The paper arrives packaged in a beautiful handmade paper wrapper – there’s just so much respect for this art in Japan.
Sheets of handmade paper at Masumi, Tokyo

One side of the store was lined with rolls of gorgeous silks and brocades. I didn’t get a shot of that wall (so many picture fails), but you can see some of the rolls in the upper right-hand corner of the photo above. You can also see some pictures of the fabrics on Masumi’s website. Fabric manufactured specifically for scroll work is called kireji.

I knew that paper-backed fabrics were used in the construction of scrolls, so I assumed that all of the rolls were essentially bookcloth. In reality, the majority of them were not paper-backed at all. Yasushi backs fabric by hand on an as-needed basis when he has to perform scroll work. He typically adds three layers of paper to the back of a piece of fabric. 

I learned that there’s more paste to meets the eye (or nose). For scroll work, Yasushi uses paste that is aged. I had never heard of this before. I found this article from the Journal of the Institute of Conservation that talks about it – it’s called furunori. This wheat starch paste is stored for a period of 8-10 years and as a result, it becomes more malleable. The softness of the paste helps to keep the scroll soft. I totally have a new respect for paste.

Yasushi told me a bit about his work, which includes commissions from a number of museums (several in the United States). He said that he could reproduce any design, on either paper or fabric, provided that he had a big enough sample to work from. He also crafts custom boxes and the rods (jikugi) used to roll/unroll scrolls from the bottom. He can basically do anything – he’s kinda magical.

He spoke about the value of tradition, of doing things the way they had always been done. You could trust it. Things lasted for so many years because they did it in a specific way and continued doing it that way. Why stop doing what works? He showed such love and compassion for his craft – it was very inspiring.

Here’s a picture I did get – it’s me and Mr. Nicest Guy Ever:
Yasushi Yokoo and Elissa Campbell

Towards the end of our visit, he told us that he was hosting an exhibit of cut paper art by Japanese artist Atsumi Yukihiro. Would we be interested in checking it out? Um, hell yeah!

We ascended the stairs, not knowing what to expect. We were not disappointed. Atsumi uses washi for all of her pieces and boy, is she good at it. We were told that she uses a super teeny knife – something like this X-Acto swivel knife.

I couldn’t avoid getting my reflection in the glass when I took these pictures – sorry about that.

Cut paper art by Atsumi Yukihiro


This piece simply blew my mind.

Cut paper art by Atsumi Yukihiro

Cut paper art by Atsumi Yukihiro

Cut paper art by Atsumi Yukihiro

Cut paper art by Atsumi Yukihiro

Cut paper art by Atsumi Yukihiro

Cut paper art by Atsumi Yukihiro

Cut paper art by Atsumi Yukihiro

Cut paper art by Atsumi Yukihiro

This piece incorporated cut magazine pages.

Cut paper art by Atsumi Yukihiro

Cut paper art by Atsumi Yukihiro

When we finished viewing the exhibit, we went back downstairs and if you can believe it, the exhibiting artist arrived! I gushed like a total fan girl, telling her how wonderful her work was.

No paper was bought at Masumi, but I did get 2 meters of bookcloth. Check out this lovely pale bluish-green:

Roll of Japanese bookcloth

In a nutshell, our trip to Masumi was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! Yasushi was just too good to be true. Our visit with him was definitely one of the highlights of our time spent in Japan.

If you’d like to check out the shop for yourself, here’s how to get there:

  • Address: 4-5-2 Sugamo, Toshima-ku Tokyo (Google Map)
  • Phone: 03-3918-5401
  • Public Transportation: 7 minute walk from Otsuka Station (Yamanote Line)

Total sheets of paper purchased to date: 20

Trip to Kinokuniya, Tokyo

As I’ve been writing these posts about my trip to Japan, I’ve become aware of how much it seems like all I did was shop. I assure you, that was not the case. I have to admit that Tokyo was shopping-heavy, but trust me, things changed once I got to Echizen.

After my stressful reunion post-Tokyu Hands, my hubby and I dragged ourselves over to Kinokuniya – a bookstore with books in both Japanese and English. Thankfully, this stop actually held interest for my husband.

Store sign outside of Kinokuniya Tokyo

Kinokuniya not only has stores in Japan, but also in the United States. I’ve been to their stores in San Francisco and Beaverton, OR. I was looking forward to conquering one of their Tokyo locations. My mission – bookbinding books written in Japanese.

Yes, you read that correctly. And no, I don’t speak Japanese.

I do, however, have a small collection of bookbinding books that are written in Japanese. They offer a different visual style than books published in the United States and I like that. They usually offer project directions that are accompanied by clear and easy to follow photos and/or diagrams. You can pretty much do the projects without knowing Japanese. They’re very cool.

So I already had 7 Japanese books in my collection and while traveling, there was no way I’d remember which titles I already owned. The fact was that I had to do some advance preparation for this particular stop on my tour. 

BookBuddy to the rescue! This app allows you to manage your home library on your phone. Under normal circumstances, you can just scan a book’s barcode to add it to your collection. Unfortunately, I had to enter most of my books manually because the app didn’t recognize the barcodes. Good thing there were only 7 books!

Yet another escalator adventure awaited me as I entered Kinokuniya.

Store sign outside of Kinokuniya Tokyo

Once I got to the floor with craft books, I approached the sales counter and showed the clerk one of the book covers I had in BookBuddy. She nodded her head and led me to the area of the store that had the bookbinding books.

Out of curiosity, I scanned the shelf sign using Google Translate and it came up as Miniature Books.

Japanese bookbinding books at Kinokuniya Tokyo

There were about a dozen bookbinding books there and I already owned several of them. I think there were six that I didn’t already own and let me be clear – I wanted ALL of them. The fact is that funds, weight, and space were issues for me (only so much room in the suitcase), so I had to control myself.

After about 30 minutes of deliberating, I finally settled on 4 books. I’m telling you – shopping for Japanese books in person is sooo much better than doing it online. There’s nothing like being able to flip through the pages yourself. Online shopping can be such a crapshoot.

By the way, I’m not writing much about my purchases now because I plan to write detailed reviews of each of these books in the future. Stay tuned!

Here are the books I purchased:

The first half of Handmade Miniature Books focuses on various bookbinding tips and techniques, with clear and easy to understand photos. The second half of the book includes 12 projects. All written content is in Japanese. ISBN: 978-4-88393-630-4.

Handmade Bookmaking offers 8 projects with directions written in Japanese, accompanied by photos and diagrams. It also includes an introduction to tools and materials, and general bookbinding tips. ISBN: 978-4-88393-555-0.

Making Beautiful Handmade Books with Misuzudo: 12-Lesson Bookbinding Textbook starts off with general bookbinding techniques, written in Japanese. 12 projects follow, accompanied by photos and diagrams, and dimensions for all needed supplies. ISBN: 978-4-309-27681-6.

The Enjoyable Guide of Making Miniature Books includes 9 projects, all with directions written in Japanese. It includes photos and diagrams to help you complete each project. ISBN: 978-4-05-800167-7.

I’m so psyched that I found some new books – and they’re direct from Japan. Now that the trip is over, I have to admit that carrying them in my backpack was a major pain (in my back). It was probably a good idea to not buy more than I did.

Buuutttttt…that didn’t stop me from buying 4 rolls of washi tape when I was there. Rationale – rolls of tape are light and small. 

Here’s a rundown of the patterns I bought (from top to bottom):

4 rolls of washi tape

I love love love the roll with the books pattern on it!

If you’d like to visit Kinokuniya, here’s the store I went to:

  • Address: 3-17-7 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
  • Phone: 03-3354-0131
  • Public Transportation: 5 minute walk from Shinjuku Station (Yamanote and Chuo lines, east exit; Marunouchi line, exits B7 and B8; Oedo and Shinjuku lines, exit 1)

Total sheets of paper purchased to date: 10

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

Trip to Kyukyodo, Tokyo

The second paper-related stop on my trip to Japan was also in Tokyo’s Ginza district – Kyukyodo. Its neighbors included Tiffany’s and Harry Winston. I was definitely out of my element – fanny packs are simply not fashionable.

Interestingly, the store was founded in Kyoto in 1663 and began as a medicine shop. The Tokyo location was established in 1880.

I didn’t mention this in my last post, but something I did to prepare for my trip was to print out pictures of the storefronts on our itinerary. I was able to find the images on travel blogs and business websites. We fully expected that the majority of the store signs we encountered would be written in Japanese – with the photos, we figured that we’d have an easier time finding our destinations.

It worked like a charm.

Luckily, it was easy to find Kyukyodo as its sign was in English (and its entryway was hard to miss).

Store sign outside of Kyukyodo Tokyo

I have to admit that Itoya was a tough act for Kyukyodo to follow. Sadly, I didn’t have that sense of ooohhhh when I entered the store. It was mostly focused on stationery with one wall devoted to papers.

Shelves of Chiyogami papers at Kyukyodo Tokyo

Now don’t get me wrong – that wall was spectacular. It’s just that the place was mobbed and I had a hard time getting access to the papers. And I was tired and cranky. And, well, Itoya.

Shelves of Chiyogami papers at Kyukyodo Tokyo

Their selection mostly consisted of Chiyogami papers and they were patterns that I had seen before. I finally found one that was new to me and it just made me happy – a pearlized paper with fluorescent reddish-pink and blue goldfish on it. It measures approximately 37″ x 25.5″ (grain short).

White pearlized Chiyogami paper with red and blue goldfish

Now it’s mine. Just look at it…it’s so sweet!

White pearlized Chiyogami paper with red and blue goldfish

I was in the store for no more than 10 minutes, which made my hubby happy. Unfortunately, I never made it upstairs, which apparently has lots of calligraphy supplies. I’m bummed about not having gone up there, but the fact is that I had hit the wall and was shopping fried.

And on my first day – for shame! I’m not as tough as I thought I was.

If you’re interested in checking out the store yourself, here are the details:

  • Address: 5-7-4 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
  • Phone: 03-3571-4429
  • Public transportation: Ginza Station (Ginza, Hibiya, Marunouchi lines), exit A2

Total sheets of paper purchased to date: 10

Trip to Itoya, Tokyo

Welcome to the first of many blog posts documenting my recent trip to Japan. Warning – most of these posts will be long and image-heavy. I took over 1,000 pictures while I was there!

The first paper-related stop on my trip was a store in Tokyo – Itoya. It’s considered one of the best (if not the best) stationery stores in the city. The location I went to is their flagship store and is located in the Ginza district. Ginza = very upscale shopping area (a.k.a. fancy schmancy). 

Thankfully, the store was easy to find – the sign greets you with a ginormous red paper clip.

Store sign outside of Itoya Tokyo

I decided to start the visit off by checking out their current exhibit – Paper & Technique – The World of Katazome and Handmade Washi. Featured work included handmade washi by artist Chiaki Morita and Katazome by artist Kimiko Shiga.

The exhibit was on the 7th floor of the building, so up the escalator I went (and went and went). Most of the exhibit signs were in Japanese (no surprise there). Since I had background knowledge of the making of paper and Katazome, it was easy enough for me to understand the displays.

Right by the Katazome display was a small sign with information about the process (click on the image to enlarge). My husband was happy to see (and read) it.

Katazome exhibit sign at Itoya Tokyo

I appreciated being able to feel Katazome samples at various stages in the process. It’s not often that you get to put your hands on something.

Overall, the exhibit offered a nice introduction to the Katazome and washi-making processes. It’s perfect for folks who are new to this kind of work.

Katazome papers on display at Itoya Tokyo

The majority of the 7th floor at Itoya is focused on fine paper. I assumed that this meant decorative paper, but I was wrong – it’s paper intended for design and designers. When you enter the area, you’re greeted by an amazing wall of paper samples.

Wall of paper samples at Itoya Tokyo

As soon as I laid my eyes on the wall, my brain immediately went to How much would it cost to get one of each? Unfortunately, since this was my first paper store, I had to pace myself with purchases – there was so much more paper to be seen (and bought).

Each little section in the wall contains multiple samples of each paper that you can take out and feel (and smell, if you’re into that). 

Wall of paper samples at Itoya Tokyo

You can also check out available papers by flipping through their petite library of sample books. I want a little wood bookshelf for my sample books!

Paper sample books at Itoya Tokyo

Paper sample book at Itoya Tokyo

And there was yet another area of sample books that were larger. These were organized by color and texture – there were names on them like “crispy” and “moist”.

Once you made your paper choices, you had to bring them to the Paper Concierge. Yep, that’s a thing and I want that job. The concierge took my six samples (yes, only six) and pulled full size sheets from the wooden shelves that ran from floor to ceiling. I want those shelves.

Paper shelves at Itoya Tokyo

My first three acquisitions were a light brown/kraft color and the patterns are ever-so-slightly embossed on the surface. These sheets measure approximately 15.5″ x 21.375″ (grain long). They refer to this as yotsugiri size, approximately 540 mm x 390 mm.

Embossed patterned kraft paper

Embossed patterned kraft paper

Embossed patterned kraft paper

The next sheet was a white paper with embedded red threads – it measures approximately 21.5″ x 15.5″ (grain short). Later on in my trip, I found out that this paper is manufactured in Echizen, one of our future travel stops.

White paper with embedded red threads

Then came a bright orange paper with light orange polka dots, measuring approximately 21.375″ x 15.5″ (grain short). This paper brought me back to my days working at Paper Source. We sold it in the mid-nineties and it was called “dotted washi”. LOVE the orange.

Orange dotted washi

The last sheet was a very subtle peach-colored paper with flowery-bursty patterns on it, measuring approximately 21.375″ x 15.5″ (grain short).

Peach-colored paper with white flowers

After I paid for the paper, I went up another escalator to the 8th floor, which was named “Craft”. Then I saw it – a big wall, full of Chiyogami and other Japanese papers. The papers were wrapped around flat cardboard cores in a manner similar to bolts of fabric. None of them were covered in plastic (free range!) – you could touch them as you pleased.

Shelf of Chiyogami papers at Itoya Tokyo

Shelf of Chiyogami papers at Itoya Tokyo

After some exploration, I decided on this lovely pale green sheet of Chiyogami with rabbits and frogs (I loves me some frogs). It measures approximately 37″ x 25.5″ (grain short).

Chiyogami paper with frogs and rabbits

Chiyogami paper with frogs and rabbits

I also bought the first of several Shibori papers encountered on my trip. Each measures 19.375″ x 25″ (grain long).

Shibori paper

Shibori paper

After I finished paper shopping (and did a happy dance), I checked out the rest of the store. They had a small selection of bookbinding tools, including tips for a Japanese screw punch. I was psyched to discover two tip sizes that I didn’t already have – 1.2 mm and 1.8 mm. They are now mine.

Japanese screw punch tips

Overall, Itoya was a nice first stop on my completely unrealistic book arts/paper arts tour through Japan. As a bonus, they had an area where my husband could sit, chill, and monkey with his phone while I shopped. That’s a win.

If you’re interested in checking out the store yourself, here are the details:

  • Address: 2-7-15,Ginza Chuo-ku,Tokyo (Google Map)
  • Phone: 03-3561-8311
  • Public transportation: 5 minute walk from the Ginza subway station on the Ginza line

Total sheets of paper purchased to date: 9


Shelves of handmade papers at Kamiji Kakimoto, Kyoto

So I just got back from Japan yesterday.

Sorry that I wasn’t more up front about the timing of my trip. I’m one of those people who isn’t comfortable revealing travel plans online, especially when my house is being left unoccupied. It’s tough for me to exist in that intersection of social media and safety.

I spent a lot of my trip fighting the urge to post pictures on Instagram.

That said, I have so much to share with you.

I loved Japan. It’s that simple. The place is magical. The people are beyond friendly (and polite and kind and generous).

I’ve got at least a dozen blog posts cued up. This is going to be an extensive blog journey.

At this point, I have to admit that I suck at history. I wish I were one of those people who remembers the specifics of how things happened and why. The fact is that when it comes to some of the details about my trip, I going to have to do research.

What I can say is that I’m great at remembering how things felt. I really hope to convey the sense of excitement and how full my heart was when visiting Japan. The love I now have for this country runs deep.

So let’s start here – my itinerary of craziness.

Yeah, that list was completely unrealistic (but I already knew that). My poor husband spent way too much time sitting on chairs, looking at his phone while I shopped. To tip the scales, he did rope me into one especially evil hike, so I consider us even.

Here’s the recap of what did happen:




My blog posts will be written in the order in which we visited each location (Tokyo > Echizen > Kyoto).

By the way, if you’re interested in having your own Japanese experience, feel free to contact me about any of the places I’ve been. I’m more than happy to give you the specifics of where we slept, what we ate, and who we met. My itinerary is totally accessible, I have no secrets.

Welcome to my adventure!


Kyoto shrine

Holy crap, I’m going to Japan this summer.

Perhaps you’ve taken a look at my Book Arts/Paper Arts in Japan spreadsheet, which to date includes over 70 resources. And I’m sure that I haven’t even scratched the surface.

There’s no way I’m going to see all of those places, as much as I’d like to. The fact remains that I’m taking this trip with my hubby and we need to do some non-paper things too. 

I’m a good wife.

So what’s the plan? Here’s what it’s looking like so far:


  • Tokyu Hands: This is the mother of all craft stores.
  • Kinokuniya: Because for some reason, having nine Japanese bookbinding books isn’t enough.
  • Parco Book Center: Backup plan for if I can’t find enough books at Kinokuniya.
  • Masumi: This place has supplies for the conservation of scrolls. They use fabric-backed cloth for mounting, which I believe is essentially bookcloth. Holy Moses, look at this picture and tell me you wouldn’t blow some serious cash there.
  • Paper Nao: They hand-paint papers here. Awesome.
  • Isetatsu: This place is supposed to have a phenomenal selection of Chiyogami.
  • Kyukyodo: Yep, another paper store.
  • Itoya: Annnndddd…another paper store. But they also have an exhibit – Paper & Technique – The World of Katazome and Handmade Washi.
  • TAKEO: More paper.
  • Misuzudo Bindery: I am dying to see a Japanese bookbinder’s workspace.
  • Kihara: This store sells library supplies and tools.
  • Sekaido: This is supposed to be a phenomenal place to get art supplies.
  • Paper Museum: Exhibitions focusing on the historical and cultural significance of paper.



Am I dragging my husband around a lot? Yes.

Is he going to want to tear out his hair after visiting the umpteenth paper store? Probably.

I’m aware that my list for Tokyo is completely unrealistic considering that we’ll only be there for three days. If I do manage to get to all of those places, I’ll likely end up in an emergency room somewhere.

Is that going to stop me from going washi wild? No way.

Book Arts and Paper Arts in Japan

Kyoto forest - Book Arts and Paper Arts in Japan

There’s a 98% chance that I’ll be going to Japan for my summer vacation and I can barely contain my excitement! The 2% of uncertainty is due to the fact that we haven’t yet purchased airline tickets.

In usual me fashion, I have begun with the obsessive planning. What does that mean? It means that a spreadsheet was born.

I love spreadsheets. They make me feel like I’m in control.

My spreadsheet includes all of the book arts and paper arts sites that I’ve found during rabbit hole-type Googling – stores, museums, artist studios, and galleries among them. As of today, there are 50ish sites on the list, the majority of them paper-related.

FYI – Just because something is on the list, it doesn’t mean that I’m going there. There’s no way to see all of that during an average-length vacation. Plus I have my hubby to think about – he might want to see other things. Go figure.

If you’re interested in checking out my special brand of crazy, head on over here. And if you’re aware of something that’s not on the list – please let me know! I’m especially interested in visiting a Chiyogami studio – I haven’t had any luck finding one.

Note: I’d like to give a shout out to S.T. Leng of Bukurama Handmade Books, author of this awesome, super-helpful blog post: Let’s go: Bookbinder’s trail Tokyo (Part 1).

Thanks for sharing!



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