Epic Kyoto Stationery Quest Haul. These two stores are close to Shijō Station and are similar yet completely different. Both were missed on the Day One scout, but at the end of the shopping quest, so it wasn't really self-restraint that kept the purchasing down. More like the toll of over four hours of walking. (Part 1; Part 2; Part 3)
唐長 KarachōThis store was in a large, fancy building located on one of the busiest intersections in Kyōto. It was still rather easy to miss and like Rokkaku, more than slightly intimidating with its big glass windows and pristine layout, but I had gotten over that feeling in Day One.
Karakami 唐紙 is basically handmade paper hand-printed with traditional designs. The process to make the paper originally came from China back during the Nara Period. Karachō is a karakami specialty store (and workshop and studio). The prints are all hand-printed from hand-carved woodblocks, like so much of what I had already purchased, but these had a kind of boldness to them that I quite liked. It ended up not being one of my favorite stores, but definitely worth dropping in, especially considering its accessibility.
- White on light green - Something about this combination called to me. I'm not sure what it is. Maybe that it wasn't a typical "Japanese" design.
- Blue on black - I don't know if they use a special ink or if it's just how it is, but the blue pattern disappears at some angles and is unmistakably bold at other angles. Love it.
- Gold on navy - I like the simplicity. And I will forever have a soft spot for blue and gold. :)
- Gold on black - Snowflake! Another favorite motif and it being winter and all, I knew I had to get a snowflake.
竹笹堂 Takezasa-dōLet me get this off my chest first: tiniest shop door ever! Another hidden gem in a residential area, though still not as hidden as Uragu, this store had one of those old Japanese sliding doors in the door. The width of the door was half that of a regular door and it was short too. I'm pretty sure I have some guy friends who wouldn't make it through. I had my backpack on to carry my haul and it was embarrassing trying to get through that door in my way out.
That being said, awesome store. You have to take your shoes off to get on the raised tatami area. Small space that looked like it was originally part of the house. In fact, when I went in, there was no one in the store, but the next room over was filled with voices. It was only until one of the guests was going home, saw me, and called back "You got a customer!" That someone came out. It's been around since 1891 and features woodblock prints. There were a number of woodblock art prints on sale and they were gorgeous. And totally out of my budget. But gorgeous.
My line of stuff were the beautiful postcards, letter sets, cards, notepads, and a calendar I almost got except I had no space for it. After much deliberation, this is what I ended up with.
- Gold crane on red - To be honest, I thought this was a peacock at first glance. Love it just the same though. The boldness of the color is simply delicious.
- Pinwheel mini card - I almost got a letter set of this print until I found this mini card. I had enough letter sets, and I was more in love with the design rather than the letter set. Love pinwheels and love tessellations and love the blue on white.
- Stripes and dots mini card - There's something about this that speaks to me. And I just recently looked at the name; it's Snowy Day. Makes perfect sense. Total love. :)
- Lemon slice notepad - This is not hand-printed, but it is based on a print that is. I almost bought the hand-printed letter set of this, but again, I figured I picked up enough of those and saw this memo pad. Simple, but the different shades of yellow make me happy.
At the time of writing this post, I have yet to really start using all that I have acquired. That must be remedied. Hopefully the purchase of a fountain pen will send. But more on that later.
And thus ends the Epic Kyoto Haul posts. I hope you enjoyed it. And this isn't the end. My mother is coming to Japan in May and we have already booked a trip to Kyoto. I got my love of stationery from her, so a visit to some of these stores is already in the plans, namely Uragu, Kyūkyodō, Tamaru Inbō, and Washi Club (which I didn't visit, but bought a mini letter set of theirs). It's not going to Epic since I don't want to make my mother walk for four hours straight, but it will still be awesome.
Kyoto turned out to be a fantastic place to go for deliciously unique stationery and I know I've only scratched the surface. If you want more info on the stores or have any questions, please contact me. I'll be happy to help if I can.