Itoya is the largest paper store in Japan. Not only is their Ginza flagship a monument to the art of paper, it contains an indoor organic farm, making it a futuristic example of sustainable urban living. It truly is one of the greatest stores I have ever visited, anywhere on earth. Come see why it deserves such stellar praise.
Before even walking in to the store, you are struck by the simplicity and refinement of the entrance.
The fact that a Japanese store is adorned with English really drives home the fact that, for now at least, English is the only genuine global language.
The ground floor not only offers a selection of cards, fans, and a greeting desk. Located in a thin and tall building, Itoya has 12 floors stacked on top of each other, each with a unique set of goods for sale.
A closeup of the cards and fans on offer on the ground level.
Also on the ground level is a juice cafe called “Drink”.
We tried a Dry Ginger Lemonade and a Pomegranate Tea Soda. Both were quite good–and completely necessary given the sweltering Tokyo heat.
Here is a closeup of their menu.
With around eight floors of paper products, each escalator ride up brings new discoveries. Here a beautiful feather pen is displayed alongside premium stationery. It is a writers dream shop.
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Not content to simply sell great products, Itoya is also beautiful inside, with a different layout on each floor.
The amount of quality merchandise here is almost unbelievable.
The home goods section was interesting, but there are many stores that sell knives. Very few sell the types of stationery available at Itoya. Speaking of which:
Another floor, another stunning discovery. Rows and rows of multi-colored paper.
While most stores would be simply be content with one of the world’s greatest selections of paper, Itoya took things to another level–both literally and figuratively. Above the levels selling paper, there is an indoor lettuce farm.
Above that floor is a cafe with a beautiful view of Tokyo.
Yes, the lettuce in this salad is grown just a floor below in their farm.
For most stores, 12 floors of excellence would be enough. But not Itoya. They have another store right across from their flagship. This one focuses on pens, frames, and paints.
This wide selection of pens is available at the other branch almost directly behind the flagship Ginza store pictured in the rest of the article. The main store is called “G. Itoya” and the nearby store is called “K. Itoya”. Why? I have no idea.
Puzzlingly, that branch is also where shipping tubes are sold, despite all the paper being sold in the main branch. Doesn’t really make sense to me, but hey, at least they are available nearby. The $25 cost for this tube was well worth it, considering how well it protected the paper we shipped back to the States.
Here are some of the great stationery and letter sets we purchased. With paper that looks like a beautiful sky, a letter set that looks like a beach, and another card with gold accents portraying constellations, the one thing that remains constant is the focus on beautiful quality. It almost makes digital writing seem…boring and pedestrian.
We also purchased an incredible collection of traditional Japanese paper, “Washi”. Here is a small sample of what was available:
Cranes flying towards the mountain.
A closeup of a woman on one of the sheets.
A piece representing a traditional Japanese story. The black cranes at the bottom are from another piece below this one.
Itoya is more than a store. It is the manifestation of the romance of paper and letter writing. It is one of the best stores I have ever visited, and I don’t say that lightly. Come and experience that romance firsthand at Itoya Ginza: 2-7-15,Ginza Chuo-ku, Tokyo, or at their website at www.ito-ya.co.jp.
If you’re visiting Tokyo, you may be interested in Sukajan (Japanese bomber jackets). Check out our Sukajan guide here.