paper & kyoto – shops to visit
Above: A laneway near Uragu and a very picturesque part of Kyoto to explore.
Kyoto is a great place to visit if you love paper. Well actually it’s a great place to visit full stop! But if paper makes you happy like it makes me happy, then you really, really must go! Here are some of the shops I visited last month when I was in Kyoto, starting with one of my favourite little paper shops ever, Uragu.
Uragu really is a hidden gem. It’s not particular easy to find but definitely worth finding! It’s a small paper shop that sells its own stationery range and everything on display is beautiful. Expect to find stationery products for everyday use like notebooks, memos, writing papers, and envelopes in every size. There is something so timeless and peaceful about this place. It’s really worth a visit.
Above: Uragu’s long and narrow entrance and beautiful interior.
I bought this beautiful book of tiny envelopes (below). And more tiny envelopes below that. Have I told you I collect tiny envelopes? I do, and I have so many beautiful ones. I will show you one day, promise.
Above: Envelopes and more envelopes. Below: Beautiful postcards by Uragu.
Next up is another gorgeous paper shop called Rokkaku. Rokkaku is the place to go if you’re looking for beautiful custom made invitations, announcement cards, personalised stationery, and pretty paper products.
Above: Rokkaku’s charming window display.
Rokkaku has the most colourful and graphic range of paper items. You’ll find very unique greeting cards and an assortment of mix and match stationery pieces.
Above: Foil stamped card cuteness.
Above: Envelope liners are sold separately at Rokkaku and choosing your own colour combinations is so much fun.
This next business has been operating since 1624. Karacho is the place to visit if you want to discover the art of Karakami (woodblock printed paper). Karacho boasts a collection of 650 hand carved woodblocks, most of them more than 200 years old. These woodblocks are still being used today to print the most beautiful patterned papers that are mostly used in Japan for creating feature interior walls and doors.
Above: Woodblock printing the Karacho way.
I bought these two beautiful postcards (above) from the Karacho shop in Kyoto. They are hand printed on the most beautiful washi paper. I wonder how old the woodblocks are that were used to print these? That’s what I love most about Kyoto. The role of an artisan is still relevant and existing here.
Above: More amazing patterns from the Karacho collection.
If you’re looking for postcards to send to friends and family back home then head straight to Benrido. Its walls are decorated with the most beautiful collection of postcards (about 1000 of them) that showcase Japan’s extensive and amazing art collection. This is great place to discover Japanese art in all forms, reproduced perfectly onto postcards.
Above: Two of my favourite postcards from Benrido
Above: Suzuki Shofudo shop front.
Suzuki Shofudo is a paper craft shop that runs workshops as well. Think boxes, toys, lamp shades, bags, wallets, and loads more all made of paper! Suzuki Shofudo have been creating handmade paper products for more than 100 years which makes this a great place to learn traditional paper craft techniques. Bookings are required.
Above: Beautiful handmade paper at Suzuki Shofudo.
Above: The perfect little storage box to keep all my bits and pieces.
Above: A paper card holder from Suzuki Shofudo. So cute I couldn’t resist it.
Kyukyodo is as much an incense shop as it is a paper shop. It has been around since 1663 and is well known by Japanese for providing quality artisan tools and materials. The selection of brushes here are the best I have seen in Kyoto. Calligraphy supplies are plentiful and so are beautiful sheets of paper and pretty stationery sets. Kyukyodo also has store in Tokyo.
Above: Kyukyodo shop front and Kyukyodo’s postcard stand.
Above: Traditional Japanese brushes at Kyukyodo.
Above: The most beautiful teeny tiny accordian books from Kyukyodo.
Above: Kyukyodo has the most amazing collection of seasonal illustrated postcards.
Above: One of many hand-bound notebooks you’ll find at Kyukyodo.
Lastly, The Writing Shop (above) was a surprising find. It’s a little piece of Europe right in the heart of Kyoto. If you love letterpress, fountain pens, and designer European paper then definitely stop by here. It’s such a beautiful shop!
I still have lots more to share from my travels. More paper shops, more design shops, and more must-visit places to come. xo
**images © upon a fold **