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Exploring Japan: Art Stores in Tokyo?

Overwhelming but fun, that’s how I would describe our shopping experience in Tokyo. JP and I both wanted Tokyo to surprise us and the busy metropolis did not disappoint. Aside from the wonderful attractions and sights, we were floored at the stores that were exclusive to our interest. Whenever we go abroad, JP will spend his free time visiting guitar shops while I spend an hour making trivial choices at the country’s local art supply store. Tokyo made it even harder for us. Just imagine this: Seven floors of art-related (or in JP’s case, music-related) things, with each floor having their own designation.

How can one person shop without flailing so hard?  

If you’re planning to visit Tokyo anytime soon and would love to stock up on brush pens, watercolor, and other art stuff, then you will love this post. Not only did I provide a list, but also some pictures of the stores so you’ll have an idea what they look like — making it a whole lot easier for you to find them when you’re finally in Tokyo.

Shinjuku

For art supplies, Sekaido pretty much has EVERYTHING. Sekaido is like National Bookstore and ArtFriend combined. The main store in Shinjuku had six floors, each of them has their own designation of products. The first floor is stationery, office supplies, and pens. The second floor is architecture and manga haven. While the third floor is mostly paints (watercolor, oil, acrylic) and fine art materials. The upper half of the store were focused on other art mediums.

The flagship store is located near Shinjuku-Sanchome Station. But if you’re coming from the main Shinjuku Station, the store is about 2-3 blocks away. Take note that the store closes at exactly 9PM, and if you’re like me, it would normally take you about an hour or more to decide what you want to buy.

Sekaido
Sekaido

About a block away from Sekaido is Kinokuniya. I didn’t go inside this particular branch because I’ve already spent way too much on brush pens and watercolor supplies, but this store has eight floors of books, magazines, comics, and stationery. What is book heaven?!

They also have other branches in Tokyo and in other cities, such as Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

Kinokuniya Japan

Shibuya

Uematsu is a small art store in front of Shibuya Station. They carry a lot of mineral pigments and traditional Japanese art materials. This store has that advanced and traditional painters vibe.

Uematsu
Uematsu

Tokyu Hands in Shibuya can put SM Department Store, ACE Hardware, SM Home, and National Bookstore to shame. They sell art and craft supplies, stationery, luggage, furniture, electronics, DIY materials, etc. Just like Sekaido, each level has their own designation. The flagship store in Shibuya has about “24” floors.

What I like about Tokyu Hands is the DIY section. They sell a bunch of wood here that they can cut for you (I think!). We don’t have that kind of service here in the Philippines, which sucks. Plus, our local hardware stores often look dirty and dingy, too.

Tokyy Hands
Tokyu Hands

Loft carries quirky and beautifully designed products, art supplies, and so forth. The store I visited in Shibuya is actually a complex store with Muji, meaning some of the floors are focused on Muji products. You have to go down the stairs to get to Loft.

Note: I’ve read somewhere that Loft and Tokyu Hands often sell very similar merchandise, so I would encourage you to run through both stores before spending your Japanese Yen.

Loft
Loft

Elsewhere

Daiso is a popular one-stop novelty store in Japan. Almost everything sold in Daiso only cost 100Yen or PHP35ish, including brush pens, colored papers, and food. I purchased my pastel colored paper there and have been using it as backgrounds for selected photos on Instagram. :) I believe the biggest Daiso branch is located in Harajuku, but the place is really packed. Odaiba’s Diver City Mall is far from Shibuya, but it’s big and less crowded.

Seria 100 is similar to Daiso. Nearly everything is 100Yen. They’re not an art store but they do sell a few items related to the arts, like brush pens, knitting materials, and beads.

And that wraps up my list. I’m 110% sure that there are other art stores scattered throughout the metropolis that I didn’t mention.
If you know a place that should be included on this list, please let me know! My readers and I would love to visit those stores one day. :)

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22 Comments

  • Reply
    Nurul
    August 20, 2015 at 10:57 AM

    Thanks for this guide, Kisty! Totally bookmarking this for my future trip to Japan! :)

  • Reply
    Michelle B
    August 20, 2015 at 8:45 PM

    Wow. Much art. Very craft.

    Sorry, Kisty. I just had to! Haha! I found a crafts store near my place last week; I probably would have gone cray cray if I was an artsy person like you!

  • Reply
    Denise
    August 21, 2015 at 7:41 AM

    I might never leave Japan once I visit these stores. Huhuhu so much love for arts, stationery, and other things craft related!

  • Reply
    annelove32
    August 21, 2015 at 10:55 PM

    visiting our own country before foreign country is the best, coz u might end up speechless when u get to meet some tourists (inyour hotel, hostel, hosts from airbnb) who have happened to ask u about a specific place in phils like cebu, davao etc…, when it also happened that you havent visited those cities, its very shameful. try to have 1 international, 1-2 domestic in a year. best travel tip is to plan ahead of time so that you are aware of the tourists spots you are going to visit, google it. search the map. for example, arrive in macau, depart in hongkong or vv. ( with family, as im always busy during daytime, i planned it for about 6 months before i book tickets&hotel) , for vietnam, cambodia, thailand… i planned it for almost a year,,, coz i only do the searching when i have time at night. doing/planning it with the nearby countries will be more cheaper than 1 country at a time, its just that its very tiring. get to have a 1 day rest in your last hotel before you depart. you can indulge in luxury hotels for that rest coz you can explore the hotel for that whole day, in a way it`s SULIT. (coz i when i travel, i dont book for expensive hotels, you will only use it for rest,&sleeping, during daytime you are out the hotel.)

    • Reply
      Kisty Mea
      August 22, 2015 at 10:08 AM

      I may suggest you browse through my blog before sending unsolicited advice. You’ll discover that I’ve been to different places before, not only abroad but also in the Philipines. :)

      • Reply
        annelove32
        August 28, 2015 at 7:09 PM

        im so sorry dear for taking it seriously, im just sharing my own experience and it’s not for you actually, it’s for your readers. i like your blog, its good, pero kung may limitasyon ang comments dto s blog mo, im so sorry and feel sorry to others na magkakamali sa comments nila and will be replied by a negative comment by the blogger, coz u might be just one of those who just wanted to be praised and adored sa comments,, pa BIDA lang coz uve been that place that others havent been to. Are you sure writer ka? Kc for me, dapat open minded ka, seems like you are Not.. i know this reply upsets u, but it upsets me either, coz i never thought that my comment will go that way to your mind and this way…..just remove my comment if it’s not acceptable to u. (just like an online seller who remove his/her followers if you as buyer posts negative feedbacks)

        • Reply
          Kisty Mea
          August 30, 2015 at 11:31 AM

          Hello Anne! Please don’t put words on my mouth. When I read your comment, it didn’t sound like you were referring to my blog readers — but to me. If I misinterpreted it the wrong way, then I apologize for the way I reacted.

          • annelove32
            August 30, 2015 at 11:02 PM

            thanks!

  • Reply
    Rej
    August 24, 2015 at 11:28 AM

    So much art supplies (if only I was artsy enough lol)! They say Japan is a haven for artists in terms of art supplies, now I think I’m on my way to believing that. Most of the blogs I’ve read about Japan never misses out on posting about art supplies. Stunning photos as always, Ate Kisty! :)

  • Reply
    Syazana
    October 21, 2015 at 12:22 PM

    Hi, found your blog post..

    im going japan in dec. My eyes went wide looking at the pic for sekaido. Im dying to go there.

    By the way, just askng for you opinion, how are the prices? compared between stores and to foreign currency. Because im planning to buy copics and pens and watercolors too, since limited supplies on the types and brands here in my country.

    Thanks!

    Great blog!! love it!

    • Reply
      Kisty Mea
      October 21, 2015 at 2:29 PM

      Hi Syazana, I wasn’t able to compare the prices cause I didn’t know the store is going to be huge! I focused nalang on getting the ones I know aren’t available in Manila, or felt like cheaper (like those Cocoiro pens). :)

  • Reply
    Nikka
    November 3, 2015 at 2:04 PM

    Thank you Kisty! This is super helpful! I’m planning to stock up on Kure color products and others when I get to Japan in December for rendering and other products so this made me excited! And we’re staying in the Shinjuku area so I’m happy that there’s a big art store around! WEEEE!!!

  • Reply
    Mag
    December 1, 2015 at 8:30 PM

    Hello! Thanks for the wonderful guide! Just a quick question: Do these stores sell Prismacolor pencils ? (Particularly the set of 72). Thank you so much!

    • Reply
      Kisty Mea
      December 1, 2015 at 8:33 PM

      Hi Mag! That I’m not sure but it’s possible Sekaido is selling it, since they’re the biggest art store I’ve visited. :)

  • Reply
    Jana Codera
    January 4, 2016 at 6:36 PM

    Hi! I might go to Japan this year and I was wondering how much money do you suggest should I bring which would be spent on ART MATERIALS only? i’ve been browsing through a lot of blogs but I haven’t seen one with prices . :( Thank you!

    • Reply
      Kisty Mea
      January 4, 2016 at 7:26 PM

      Hi Jana! How much money you need to bring is solely dependent on what you want to buy.

      I spent about 5-10K at Sekaido for buying several pens, a watercolor set, a book, and watercolor pad.

  • Reply
    TJ Lubrano
    April 1, 2016 at 5:08 PM

    This post made me SO excited! I will definitely do my brand research before I go to Japan for the art stuff that I want, because knowing me, I will FLAIL like a mad person in art stores that big, not knowing where to start and just mutter, “ohmigosh. ohmigoshhhh!!!”

    Thanks so much for this post! :)

  • Reply
    Irish
    July 6, 2016 at 10:09 AM

    Hi! I’d like to ask if I can find Gansai Tambi at Sekaido. I’ve been staying in Japan for 2 months now. I’ve only visited Tokyu Hands in our area to look for art supplies. Hehe thank you! :)

    • Reply
      Kisty Mea
      July 6, 2016 at 2:09 PM

      You can check at sekaido.co.jp if they have one. If it’s available online, I’m guessing there should be one in stores din! :)

  • Reply
    Aurora
    January 7, 2017 at 5:17 AM

    Thanks for this info. My daughter is searching for art stores in Tokyo for our June trip. This makes it easier to narrow down our itinerary. We’re Filipino immigrants in USA and we always add Japan to our vacation itinerary when we go home to Philippines. My daughter is an artist and loves Japanese art materials for drawing and painting. Their quality is exceptional.

    • Reply
      Kisty Mea
      January 7, 2017 at 3:12 PM

      I’m glad I could help! :) I plan to write more art store guides in the future, namely in Seoul and London. Just need to go through the backlogs!

  • Reply
    Bea R - miredcarpet
    January 11, 2017 at 3:47 AM

    You made my day! Now I’m ready to my Tokyo shopping days next April ;)

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