Sunday, February 16, 2014

OSD: Kyoto Epic Stationery Haul - Part 1

Obsessive Stationery Disorder

So here's the first of four posts chronicling my stationery quest in Kyoto. These are listed in the order that I made purchases on Day 2, which is pretty much the opposite order of Day 1.

芸艸堂 Unsōdō

And first off to contradict what I wrote above, this was the first place I visited on Day 1. A small printing press specializing in woodblock prints, with a store out in front. It is pretty obvious when you walk in that their primary business is the printing and not the store. But nonetheless, there was a decent selection and being the first store, I bought a few postcards, which ended up being a good thing because they were closed on weekends and Day 2 was a Saturday.

  1. Japanese Art Nouveau postcards - These are replications of late Meiji era (turn of the century) postcards carved by Japanese artists influenced by the Art Nouveau movement. I'm a sucker for design from this period in Japan. Western influences had begun to mix with traditional Japanese design and awesome things were born.
  2. Sekka Kamisaka postcard - One of a series of postcard prints called 海路 or Sea Road. I love the colors, lines and the pure simplicity of it.
  3. Teruhide Katō postcard - I love this artist's use of color and space and his depiction of Kyoto. I wanted to pick up a lot of these, but in the end, I exercised some self-control and just got one.

ぴょんぴょん堂 Pyon-Pyon Dō

I initially missed this store. It was in the back section of a building with many stores and my guidebook simply marked the building. Found it on Day 2 and almost went overboard, but with some self control, damage was kept to a minimum.

It was a tiny little booth selling kaishi (paper used during tea ceremony and such), hana meishi ("flower name cards" basically business cards used by geisha and maiko), mini-envelopes for various occasions (an important part of Japanese customs), and a few other items. The name of the store is the sound associated with rabbits hopping and as the name would suggest, a lot of the items had rabbits on them. I ended up getting stuff that was completely different.

  1. Pack of flower name cards - Hand-carved and hand-printed, the selection was huge, as well as the temptation to buy handfuls of them. Most had flower motifs, as the name would suggest, but I went with this one. Blue being my favorite color and while I'm pretty sure the pattern is snowflakes, I've decided to believe they are stars. I'm still brainstorming how to write my name on it. The possibilities.
  2. Pack of 寿 mini envelopes - 寿 is the first character of my Japanese name, so I've always been drawn to it, but it is also an auspicious character meaning longevity and celebration, so it is commonly used on envelopes used for weddings, so it's quite common in stationery. These seven mini-envelopes each have a different interpretation of the character and I just couldn't resist. Not sure how I will use them or even if I actually will use them, but I couldn't leave without them.
  3. Set of knives for Japanese sweets - These were not in the budget and also not stationery, but I had to get them. My grandmother and I have tea when I visit and I always bring sweets. I was thinking about getting a nice fancy metal one for my grandmother, engraved and everything, but I know her, she'd say it was too nice and not use it. These, however, are plastic but still look nice and work like a charm. My grandmother and I are both quite happy with them.


This was the store that I originally thought was Pyon-Pyon dō because it was in the same building. The designs were cute and even after I found Pyon-Pyon dō, I decided I needed to get at least one thing.

A mini letter set - I love how the colorful chidori (the little birds) lattice (千鳥格子) design on the back shows through to the lined side. The pattern just makes me happy. The regular sized letter set was tempting, but I have lots of those so I went with the smaller one, though I may have limited my use of this set since it might be smaller than postal allowances. I'm sure I'll find something. After I did a bit of checking online, I found this company has a shop! Another place to go for my next Kyoto trip. (


And that's it for Part 1. I'll try to have the others posted in decent time.



  1. Oh I love the Art Nouveau postcards, they're absolutely beautiful! Looking forward to seeing the rest of your haul :)

    1. They were an unexpected gem. :) There are some definite goodies in the rest of the haul. Just hope I can get them written out.