Vega @, Author at Why so Japan

Best art, crafts and stationery shops in Tokyo

whysojapan tokyo art crafts

Best art, crafts and stationery shops in Tokyo

As a person who love all things art and crafts I’ve hunted down the best shops that I could find during my travels in Tokyo. Here’s a guide to my personal favourites. Depending on what you’re after buying, I’m sure you’ll find it in one of these shops.


whyspjapan sekaido tokyo shinjuku art crafts
This place is heaven for anyone looking for art supplies. They’re located in Shinjuku, very close to the Shinjuku Gyoen garden. There are several floors, and the amount of things they have can be a bit overwhelming if you’re not sure what you’re looking for, so make sure you have time to browse, because you don’t wanna rush your visit here. They have everything – everything. Stationery, office supplies, manga, drawing, painting, papers, paintbrushes, sculpturing, clay, fine art materials, frames, paintings, I can go on forever.
Map |

Art, craft and stationary shops in Tokyo Art, craft and stationary shops in Tokyo


whyspjapan okadaya tokyo shinjuku art crafts
Another paradise, but this shop is more focused on crafts. Again, there are several floors, and the amount of things they have seem endless. You’ll find fabrics, cross stitch, yarn, fake flowers, sewing, buttons… This place is packed with fun stuff. I usually buy some fabric there, because they have really cute patterns. This is also a place you will want a good amount of time to spend there, because there’s so much to see.
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Art, craft and stationary shops in Tokyo


whysojapan takeshita dori harajuku tokyo japan daiso
This 100 yen shop is great for cheap craft supplies. Their biggest (and most busy) shop is located in Harajuku on Takeshita street, but you can find it elsewhere too, as it is a chain store. You can find little craft projects, needles, bows, ribbons, gift bags, stationery and more. Each item is 100 yen (+tax), so you can really find bargains here.
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Art, craft and stationary shops in Tokyo Art, craft and stationary shops in Tokyo


whysojapan kyukyodo tokyo ginza art crafts
If you want to get a hold of more traditional stationery, then Kyukyodo in Ginza is well worth a visit. They have beautiful cards, notepads, stamps, papers and more. This is a new favourite that I recently found, and I’ll be coming back again for sure.
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Art, craft and stationary shops in Tokyo

Tokyu Hands

whysojapan tokyu hands tokyo ikebukuro art crafts
If you go to Tokyu Hands in Shibuya you’re in for a very confusing visit, because their shop is three buildings connected together with 8 half floors (times three) and I always get confused when I’m trying to understand where I’ve been and where I haven’t been. Their shop in Ikebukuro is much easier to walk through. The shop itself is amazing, they have so much stuff. You’ll find crafts, stationery, miniature models, wood work, flowers, stamps, washi tape, decorations, art supplies, needle work and more. About half the shop is crafts and hobbies and the other half is for the home.
Map Shibuya | Map Ikebukuro |

Art, craft and stationary shops in Tokyo


whysojapan loft tokyo shibuya art crafts
Loft is a department store with a great stationery section. I recommend you visit their shop in Shibuya and go to the bottom floor, where you will find a whole floor of stationery. They have lots of stickers, notebooks, calendars, pens, decotapes, washi tape and more. You can find more craft items on other floors, so check out the floor guide at the entrance or the lifts.
Map Shibuya | Map Ikebukuro |

Art, craft and stationary shops in Tokyo


I’ve only been to the Muji store in Shinjuku. They have a very minimalistic design to their products, and you can find quite a lot of stationery there. They have pens and pencils, notepads, organizer boxes, glue, washi tape, notebooks, ring binders and more.
Map |

Art, craft and stationary shops in Tokyo


whysojapan kinokuniya tokyo shinjuku art crafts

You will find their main store in Shinjuku, but you can find them in other areas as well, such as Shibuya. They are famous for having a selection of foreign books, buy my reason for going there are the “mooks” books. Mooks are books about all sorts of crafts, illustrated with step by step photographs, making them very easy to understand even if you can’t read any Japanese. The books are detailed and beautiful. As soon as I found out about these type of books, I’m always on the lookout for them when I visit Japan. I found these three books in the Parco building in Shibuya, bottom floor.
Map Shinjuku | Map Shibuya |

Art, craft and stationary shops in Tokyo Art, craft and stationary shops in Tokyo

Character Street and character shops

whysojapan character street tokyo art crafts

Any of the cute character shops will have cute stationery. There’s one called Gift Gate for the Sanrio characters, but I like the San-X characters more, so I always go to the Rilakkuma Store, where they not only have Rilakkuma, but also Sentimental Circus, Sumikkogurashi and more. If you’re into Hello Kitty or Gudetama, then it’s Gift Gate you should go too. The best place to find all of these characters, and more, is at Character Street at Tokyo Station. They have shops for Tamagotchi, Studio Ghibli (Totoro!), Hello Kitty, Rilakkuma, Kapibara san, Miffy and more.
Map | Character Street information

Art, craft and stationary shops in Tokyo


whysojapan atre1 tokyo akihabara art crafts

I haven’t found much art and craft in Akihabara, but I have found that Atré 1 has a Tokyu Hands section with lots of stationery and Yodobashi Camera has a section of photo albums and washi tapes. If you’re in the area, they might be worth checking out. Next to the Tokyu Hands section in Atré 1, theres a Suica shop, where you can find some very special washi tape and other things featuring the Sucia penguin!

Map Atré 1 | Map Yodobashi Camera |

Art, craft and stationary shops in Tokyo

Do you know of any great places to shop for art, crafts and stationery in Tokyo that I haven’t mentioned in this post? Please share in the comments!



Posted on by Vega @ in Shopping 2 Comments

Japan Candy Box review + giveaway

whysojapan japan candy box japanese sweets subscription box

Japan Candy Box

This is a promotional post.

The Japan Candy Box was kindly sent to us to try and review for Why So Japan. We’ve been wanting to try a Japanese themed box for a long time now and thanks to the people at Japan Candy Box this is the first time we got the opportunity to do so. We are big fans of subscription boxes which lets you explore different products which you might not know otherwise are available on the market. Each subscription box is filled with 8-10 Japanese candies and snacks and the box we received  was the November box. Previous boxes can be viewed on their homepage,

At the end of this post enter the free giveaway to win your very own Japan Candy Box!

The box

The box arrived very quickly after it was sent, which surprised us since things that are sent from the other side of the world can take some time to arrive. Once we received the box we were eager to open it. Inside we found the box full to the lid with treats and snacks from our favourite country. It was surprising to find so many things in one box, which made us really happy and looking forward to trying the snacks. It was a good mixture different kinds of snacks and treats.

whysojapan japan candy box japanese sweets subscription box

whysojapan japan candy box japanese sweets subscription box

Candy and snacks reviews

Here’s what we thought of each product. One thing that we liked throughout the box was the cute design.

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Fuiya Anpanman Biscuits

Every bite sized biscuit features a cute character from Anpanman. The sweet tasting biscuit reminds us of the Marie biscuits.


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Yaokin Christmas Chocolate Stick

A waifer tasting snack with a chocolate coating. Simple and sweet tasting treat, in a cute christmas packaging.


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Fujiya Milky Matcha Green Tea Candies

Each sweet is individually wrapped and comes in a cute box featuring Peko-chan and Hello Kitty. The candy are sweet tasting matcha flavoured treats which we highly enjoyed.


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Pompompurin Pudding Gummies

This has to be our favourite out of the whole box. The package contains small chewable gummies tasting of custard and caramel. It didn’t take us long to finish the entire bag. Absolutely adore Pompompurin from Sanrio.


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Hi-Chew White Soda Chewy Candy

As always with Hi-Chew sweets, a nice chewie texture. A flavour of white soda, if you can imagine. Really enjoyed these!


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Fujiya Anpanman Lollipop

Cute packaging. Wasn’t one of our favourites, but we like the idea of a chocolate lollipop. Tasted a bit artificial to what we are used to. The chocolate reminded us of Kinderegg chocolate.


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Yaokin Christmas Corn Potage Snack Stick

On the first bite it tasted a bit weird, but after that we got used to the taste and really enjoyed it. The puffed corn shaped stick left a savoury and sweet taste in your mouth. Reminded me of Burger King’s French Toast snacks.


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Morinaga Tsum Tsum Chocolate Biscuits

A cute little sweet biscuit with chocolate cream inside, with the added bonus of cute Tsum Tsum characters printed on them. Sweet and cute.


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Lotte Koala March Strawberry Biscuits

We usually buy the Koala biscuits in China Town in London, but this is the first time we’ve tried them with strawberry. Each biscuit has a sweet strawberry filling and a printed koala on them.


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Meiji Mushroom Mountain DIY Kit

This is also one of our favourites. We’ve tried a few of these DIY candy kits before, but this was a new one to us. The instructions were easy to follow and it was a lot of fun making them. A biscuit base and a nice tasting chocolate top. Recommend trying these DIY kits, because they are a lot of fun.

Win the Japan Candy Box!

We really enjoyed reviewing this box. There were a lot of new snacks and treats that we hadn’t tried before and we’ve now got some new favourites. Even though we’ve reviewed each sweet on it’s own, for the whole box we would give it top marks. Perfect thing to give as a present to a friend or for yourself. Now you’ve got the chance to win your very own box! Details below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: This product was sent to us for free, but our review is an honest take on the products.



Posted on by Vega @ in Food & snacks, Reviews Leave a comment

Japanese TV Adverts #54

It’s been a while since we last posted about Japanese TV adverts from YouTube user JPCMHD who uploads them regularly. They’re always fun to watch, and the latest upload includes adverts for Mouse the computer company, Y! Mobile with the viral Pen Pineapple Apple Pen song, a pelvis workout device, and an adorable advert from JP Post featuring the cutest alpaca delivering a parcel. Enjoy!

As always, please check out this YouTube user for more adverts:

Also check out older posts with Japanese TV adverts under the media category to the right of this post.

Posted on by Vega @ in Media Leave a comment

Elvis Presley’s influence in Japan

whysojapan elvis presley

This is a collaborative post.

Often referred to as “the King of Rock and Roll” or simply “the King,” Elvis Presley’s influence and image makes him one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century. He’s so popular that people today still honor his legacy with the plethora of impersonators and commemorative items, as well as all the Graceland celebrations. Elvis’ brand of music, his style of rock ‘n’ roll, has even reached the far corners of the globe, more specifically in conservative Eastern nations such as Japan.

Fotoroom featured a story about a particularly trendy zone in Tokyo, Japan where stumbling upon a group of people in black leather jeans and pants is as common as ramen and sushi restaurants. In more ways than one, Harajuku represents Elvis Presley’s effect in the country. From diehard rockabilly fans who eat, sleep, and breathe the subculture, to style junkies with their slick pompadour haircuts and Grease-like outfits, there’s no denying Elvis’ popularity in the Land of the Rising Sun.

In hindsight, remembering Elvis Presley through various outlets has been a common theme throughout the world. Apart from the obvious musical aspect, its Western heavy culture, and his longstanding worldwide fan clubs, it’s also worth noting how Elvis’ likeness is the basis of other popular forms of media. Venture Beat has an article that talks about the ten Elvis Presley references in video games. It highlights the King’s image and how it’s used in 16-bit games such as Super Nintendo System’s Clay Fighter, as well as the more modern 3D Rock ‘n’ Roll Adventures on Wii. He even has his own online slots game on Pocketfruity, appropriately called Elvis: the King Lives.

Aside from famous media platforms and ventures, Elvis Presley has some sort of political effect in Japan. So much so that even its former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi declared his love for the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, and openly shared the enthusiasm of the thousands of Presley fans in the country. In 1987, Junichiro, along with his brother Masaya who was also a former senior advisor of the Tokyo-based fan club at that time, financed the construction of an Elvis statue in Harajuku. His loyalty to the King may or may not have even helped him with his campaign in the early 2000s.

Japan represents how people from other parts of the globe, those who didn’t exactly get to experience Elvis Presley’s charisma firsthand, can appreciate greatness in every sense of the word. Even though he’s never performed outside the United States and Canada during the peak of his career, Elvis remains one of the pioneers of a universal music movement. His influence may be more significant in some parts of the globe than others, but one fact remains: the King’s legacy is still alive and well, up to this day.

Posted on by Vega @ in Music Leave a comment

Takeshita Dori – Shopping in Harajuku

Takeshita Dori

Takeshita Dori (Takeshita Street in English) is a very famous shopping street in Harajuku. It’s a pedestrian only street and the shops are focused on fashion, Japanese pop culture and young people. The street is about 400 meters long and there are a lot of shops on both sides.

The area

This part of Tokyo is seen as an youthful area. There are a lot of clothes shops with the latest trends in fashion, alternative styles and independent designers. Harajuku has become famous for young people dressed in more fun or alternative fashion styles, such as visual-kei, lolita and cosplay and hanging out on the Jingu bridge and in the Yoyogi park. Takeshita Dori is the place where new trends are tested and where you can spot Harajuku celebrities like Shironuri. It’s also where Kyary Pamyu Pamyu was discovered.

whysojapan takeshita dori harajuku tokyo japan harajuku station


Of course, everyone won’t have the same favourite shops, it depends on your personal taste, but if you like Japanese fashion you’re very likely to find something you like here. You’ve got shop after shop after shop along the street. Some are more expensive, some are cheap. I didn’t have any problems finding clothes that were just as nice as the ones you find in Shibuya 109, but a lot cheaper, the difference being they’re no brand here. But you can also find very famous and more expensive brands too, like Liz Lisa.

whysojapan takeshita dori harajuku tokyo japan liz lisa

Here’s a list of a few of my favourite shops:

Paris Kids
Cheap and fun jewellery. You’ll find lots of teenagers coming here, because everything is so cheap. I think it’s a set price, 324 yen last time I was there, for each item. You’ll find necklaces, ear rings, bracelets, hair accessories and more. I found lots of nice necklaces that were typical Japanese and Harajuku style. I loved it! You’ll find the shop on your left hand side, if coming from the station, and it’s at the beginning of the street.

whysojapan takeshita dori harajuku tokyo japan paris kids

Daiso 100 Yen Shop
Daiso is a 100 Yen chain shop. They sell everything and anything, and it’s fun browsing the shop. It’s pretty big, several floors, and you will find beauty products, stationary, sweets, kitchen items, crafts and lots more. A lot of the things are of lower quality, but you can find some great bargains too. Daiso is also located at the left hand side.

whysojapan takeshita dori harajuku tokyo japan daiso

whysojapan takeshita dori harajuku tokyo japan daiso 100 yen

Wonder Rocket
I absolutely love this clothing shop. You’ll recognize it by the mannequins with hare masks. The clothes are very Japanese, I’d say romantic and mori girl would describe their style. Lots of muted earthy tones and pastel colours, lace, ribbons and flowers. I absolutely love just browsing the shop and looking at all the pretty things they have for sale. It’s located on the right hand side, a bit further down on the street.

whysojapan takeshita dori harajuku tokyo japan wonder rocket

The crepes
Not really a shop, it’s a food stall. Harajuku is famous for it’s delicious crepes, and I dont think it’s possible to walk though Takeshita dori without stopping for a crepe. The queues can be long, but they move pretty fast, and it’s well worth the wait. They have loads of different fillings and I try to remember to try out a new one every time we are there. They’ve got whipped cream, strawberries, mochi, red bean paste, banana, chocolate sauce, ice cream, custard, peach… I could go on forever. Remember to stand to the side or have a sit down while enjoying your crepe, since it’s considered rude to eat and walk in Japan. If you go to the big crepe stand somewhere in the middle of the street on the left hand side, there’s a good area just behind the crepe stand for eating. You’ll probably see it, because that’s where everyone else is sitting or standing.

whysojapan takeshita dori harajuku tokyo japan crepes

How to get there

Takeshita Dori is located in Harajuku, an area in Shibuya in Tokyo. to get there, take the Yamanote Line to the Harajuku station. There are two exists, the southern exit is closer to the Yoyogi Park and northen exit is closer to Takeshita Dori, and it’s this exit you want to take, because as soon as you’re out of the station, you just have to cross over to the other side of the road, and there you have Takeshita Dori. If you happen to come out the other exit, you walk down the hill to the left until you reach the crossing and then cross the street. It’s very easy to spot Takeshita Dori once you’re close to it, because the entrance has a gate you can’t miss and the street is probably packed with people.

Posted on by Vega @ in Fashion, Food & snacks, Shopping, Visiting Leave a comment
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