People who have been to Japan probably already know that Japan is a wonderful trove of unique and high-quality stationery items. Did you know that there is a retro shop in Kichijoji (吉祥寺), Tokyo (東京) that makes all of your stationery fanatic dreams come true?
36 Sublo is a retro stationery store which opened in the back alley of Kichijoji in 2004. It is located five minutes away from Kichijoji Station and is filled with old-fashioned stationery and miscellaneous retro-style items. Aside from original stationery items, the shop also carries products from Mizushima (水縞), a stationery brand that the owner of the shop is producing. The shop aims to provide stationery items that are the standard in any era and can be used continually.
Spending time in this shop is like going on a little scavenger hunt as there are items in the drawers and cabinets which are all for sale but are like hidden knick-knacks that you get to find on your own. All of the items are things you have probably never seen before and I’m afraid that this is one of those stores that you go into thinking, “Oh, I don’t need to buy any sticky notes,” but then walk out with 10 different types of adorable-looking stationery.
Out of all the products at 36 Sublo, here are three of my recommendations!
Amongst 36 Sublo’s increasing number of original items, their hand-drawn illustration stamps are some of the most popular.
They have a wide range of stamps – from a set of coffee stamps, which feature coffee drippers, mocha pots, coffee cups, siphons, etc., to human number stamps, which feature persons spelling out a number with their bodies. Apparently, the owner decided to name each of the characters on the number stamps just for fun.
The paper products from 36 Sublo are also extremely popular. There are notebooks, paper bags, wrapping papers, etc. which were all originally designed. The small paper bags are a recent addition to the store, released in March 2017.
The new line-up of paper items from 36 Sublo was designed by stamp illustrator Rakui Hana (羅久井ハナ). The new design is meant to remind people of an old stationery store. Some 36 Sublo original items were also mixed into the design.
It is hard to find gift bags or stationery sets that are perfect for almost any occasion, but these ones could be used for pretty much anything. If you are looking for a new set of letter packages or gift bags, these might be exactly what you are looking for.
The final unique item I would like to point out is their glass pen. I personally use ink to draw illustrations and have recently stumbled upon glass pens. While writing with them takes a bit of getting used to, one dip in ink and these pens let you write for a long time and the resulting line that you get is something else. There is a certain unique quality to the line work you get on the page that makes it worth the investment.
If you are looking for a new pen as a writer, illustrator, or artist, I highly recommend checking out this glass pen from 36 Sublo.
If you are in the Kichijoji area, I highly recommend visiting 36 Sublo and their wide range of old-fashioned and retro stationery items. If you are not close enough to visit, you can also check out their online store (Japanese only) although their online line-up is not as extensive as their in-store one.
36 Sublo Website *Japanese only