Travels with pens: Tokyo (part 1)

Edit: if you’ve arrived directly here from a link (eg Pen Addict), you might be interested in the second part of the trip report, here!

Sometimes, the pen gods smile upon me. This is one such time. I write this from my usual haunt in Heathrow Terminal 3, shortly before boarding a Japan Air flight to Tokyo Haneda.

I expected to be spending this coming week in Illinois, but a sudden urgent project at work is leading me to Tokyo instead.

And wow, I barely kept my poker face in the office. TOKYO. Wow, TOKYO.

I own a book called ‘Geek in Japan’, and it’s safe to say that Japan is my grail trip. I love the language, anime, Studio Ghibli, mecha and kaiju, Japanese steels, samurai and sumo, brush writing and washi tape, capsule hotels, bullet trains, zen, tatami mats, sake and green tea, sushi (though I’m vegetarian), Nikon and Canon and Fuji, Sony and Nintendo, Honda and Suzuki, Grand Seiko, the works. It’s the culture I respect and adore most in the world. I am terrified and so excited all at once.

And then there’s the pen culture. Wow, if London is a pen desert peppered only with Montblanc boutiques, Tokyo is like a rainforest. I have filled my Google Maps saved places list with Itoya, Bungubox, Kingdom Note, Maruzen and dozens of other lush department stores and specialist stationers, and I full expect to return with a clinking suitcase full of Japan-exclusive inks, pen-friendly paper, and possibly a pen or two from the urushi masters at Nakaya and Namiki.

Embarrassingly, I currently own just one Japanese pen: my Nakaya Decapod Heki-Tamenuri. Naturally, it’s in my Nock Sinclair for the trip. With it? The Visconti London Fog, freshly flushed and reinked with the incomparable, shape-shifting Sailor Studio 123. And the Montblanc Petit Prince, inked with Kobe #51 Kano-Cho, one of my favourite near-blacks. So if I’m not taking all Japanese pens, at least I can take some Japanese inks.


I loaded up with movies for the flight, too: Lost In Translation, of course, plus Isle of Dogs. I may rewatch Batman Ninja, too.

Christ, I am SO EXCITED.

Look out for the part two recap at the end of the trip…


Oh! Forgot to ask. Any recommendations for stores, inks, sights, relatively affordable Japanese whiskies… please leave a comment or drop me a line!

13 thoughts on “Travels with pens: Tokyo (part 1)

  1. Come out of Akiba (Akihabara) station by the Electric Town exit, you’ll see the road going straight on and right. Turn right and about 100 yards along you have the famous/infamous Gamers.

    If you carry on, turn right at the end, left just past the bridge and carry on – there’s a temple (Kenada-ji ?) about 5 minutes walk along on your right – it’s where they bless laptops and business men pray for good business deals.


  2. Oh don’t forget to have your passport and flight details with you so you can get the tax off items – in theory Heathrow will be informed for your return leg (first £230 are tax free).

    Also – be aware it’s still a cash society – the big stores will take credit card, but yo may find the restaurants you choose and smaller shops do not – just find a post office – most have cash points on the international cash system.


  3. Sounds like incredible opportunity, especially if work is paying for the travel! More money to spend on pens, paper and ink! Hope you have fun and I’ll be looking forward to hearing more about it!


  4. Itoya (ginza) for sure.
    Kakimori and Kakimori inkstand for custom inks and made to order notebooks- in northern Tokyo, a neighborhood called Kuramae.
    Any Tokyo Hands store
    And the Travelers shop in NakaMeguro.


  5. Hello.
    I have read FB comment of Bungu-Box. She wrote the address of this Web Site, and I accidentally read this page.
    If you are interested in deeep FP event in Japan, you should go to below.,139.7682492,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x60188c2b376763df:0x85f5dbe38a00a8cd!8m2!3d35.723206!4d139.7695009?hl=en

    A FP event is being held here. (10:00-17:00)
    ぎゃらりぃ 茶屋町三番地 (gallery chaya-machi san ban chi)
    you take the JR Yamanote-Line,get off at Nippori station and walk.

    Eboya, Stylo-art Karuizawa, Shirai Design(Bag), and “the Nib Shaper” Mr.Nagahara(Salor FP)

    Lucky you. I am convinced that it is fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Welcome to the blog and thank you! Unfortunately I fly home to the UK tomorrow :(. It was wonderful to visit Bungubox today! I am in love with Japan and all the amazing pen shops here in Tokyo 🙂


  6. Pingback: Travels with pens: Japan concluded! | UK fountain pens

  7. Pingback: Fountain Pen Quest Trail Log – June 12, 2019 | Fountain Pen Quest

  8. Pingback: My Top 3 pens | UK fountain pens

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