2024 Japan Trip Part Three: Tokyo Meetings

Ironically exhausted from our beauty rest at the Kameoka ryokan, The Paper Mouse team set off for Tokyo on the bullet train. A word of advice for fellow travelers: during peak tourism seasons, reserve seats on your Shinkansen ride, lest you end up like us, standing for a good portion of it. This cross-country ride was the first opportunity we'd have to see Mount Fuji. If the weather prevailed, the majestic mountain would be visible from the north side of the train, shortly after passing the city of Shizuoka. It was bright and sunny as we left the station. Unfortunately, Fuji was hidden in the clouds.

Our train pulled into Tokyo Station in the late afternoon, and we made our way to the TRAVELER'S FACTORY there. Though small, the Tokyo Station TF had a great selection of TRAVELER'S products, including an exclusive set of inserts and other items that could only be purchased at this location. Their stamping station featured a tray of stamps with the name and specialties of each prefecture of Japan.

After buying a set of souvenirs for the shop and looking around the station, we got back on the train, and slowly made our way to our new apartment, guided by the lights of Tokyo Skytree.

We did a fair amount of sightseeing in the previous legs of our trip, but out time in Tokyo was mostly for business and finding inspiration in unique Japanese stores. In the next five days, we met with some of our vendors, and traveled the city in search of stationery and gift shops.



Kakimori’s store was located in Kuramae, a Tokyo neighborhood filled with crafters and artisans. On our way to their shop, we had a moment to duck into a leatherworking shop across the street. (If only we had more time!) Kakimori’s own shop was a work of art. The floors and walls were covered in a beautiful wooden herringbone pattern with colorful accents. They carried an amazing selection of stationery from their own brand and others, as well as the centerpiece, a bookbinding machine and wall full of papers, where customers could choose the parts to create their own one-of-a-kind notebook.


Upstairs from the shop was Inkstand, Kakimori's shop for custom ink mixing. The centerpiece was a lab table with mixing stations, set up for workshops. At each station, a row of vibrant inks in little bottles. The wall behind the table was painted in a light to dark gradient as you went further into the room; similarly, each chair along the length of the table match the wall behind it, from light gray to nearly black. We were amazed by the thoughtful design in every detail.

Four custom colors available for testing
Some of Kakimori's products on display
Ink recipes and the inspiration behind them




It was truly an honor to visit Hobonichi during our time in Tokyo. Their new office in the Kanda neighborhood, where they moved in 2020, looked deceptively ordinary from the outside. Though modern and fashionable, the dark gray exterior gave few hints as to the wonders that were designed within. We didn’t take many photos at Hobonichi’s office, but we had a great time meeting their marketing, shipping, and design teams, and talking about plans in the months ahead. August can't come soon enough!

After our meeting, we had a few minutes to browse Hobonichi’s retail store, Tobichi. We got to see almost all the items in Hobonichi’s 2024 lineup, as well as many of the products only offered on their own website. It was easy to imagine the incredible excitement around the store every September and February when new techos were released.


We were delighted to receive an invitation to Maruman’s office. Their Mnemosyne notebooks are some of the most popular in the shop, so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see where they were designed. We went on a tour around the Maruman office and showroom. It was so fun to see their entire lineup of products, as well as some collaborations they’ve done with others. This year was the perfect time to visit, as it was the 20th anniversary of the Mnemosyne notebook.

Our first time meeting the sketchbook mascots!
Samples of all the writing and drawing papers
A set of 5-subject binders that we liked


Look at that giant octagon notebook!


Our meeting at TRAVELER'S FACTORY Nakameguro was in the afternoon. Located in a plain gray building tucked away in an alley, the store was, appropriately, a former paper factory. Inside, the wooden shelves were packed with TRC products and featured items from around Japan and the rest of the world. On the second floor was a comfortable sitting area, decorated with TN from past journeys. Guests could stop here to journal with a cup of coffee.

TF in Nakameguro used to be a paper factory, many decades ago
Stamping station, with stamps unique to this location
One of the TN displays in the upstairs sitting area

After touring the TF and discussing upcoming TRC plans at the shop, Tomomi showed us to the nearby Starbucks Reserve Roastery, which included a large TRC display with exclusive items. “Grand” is not a word we’d have chosen to describe the Starbucks back at home, but it definitely applied here. We had a look around and bought some souvenirs to bring back home.

The meetings we attended took us all over town across a few days. It was an incredible experience, seeing where all these products were designed, meeting some of the people we'd only ever spoken to through emails, and making plans for the future. We learned so much, and were so grateful to everyone who took the time to show us around. Thank you all!
In the next and final post about our trip, we'll introduce some of the stores we visited, and a few other surprising moments along the way!
Continue reading Part 4, or our Panthem studio tour. Or return to Part 1 here, or Part 2 here.

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