Sekaido is a well-known store in Tokyo that sells mainly art and craft materials and stationary. They also carry frames for paintings and other artworks, manga (Japanese comics) supplies and many additional fine art-related items. With its first branch opened in 1940, Sekaido now has a few other outlets around Japan, and also an online shop.
I visited their main store in Shinjuku that had 6 floors – 5 floors for merchandise and the 6th floor for their art classes and gallery. I was astounded by sheer number of products and items they carried as I walked through the store. Books on art-related subjects are sold here too. On every floor there is an information board stating what floor it is and what products are being sold on that floor.
Here’s a rough guide (subject to change):
1F: Stationery, office supplies, files, and formal business pens
2F: Art supplies for manga, design, drawing, drafting; computer design corner; Western and Japanese paper supplies
3F: Fine art materials & tools for Japanese and Western art, sculpture supplies
4F: Frames and prints
5F: Paintings and frames
6F: Gallery and art classes space
One of the items I found interesting was the Bakuman (manga and anime about the life of manga artists) manga drawing starter kit they sold in the manga drawing supplies section. Another was the beginners' kit to traditional Japanese painting. The colours and scenes used in the various kits were so beautiful I was tempted to buy one and try it myself. They do carry character-related stationary, like Rilakkuma and Hello Kitty B5 sized drawing pads, but of limited variety. The postcards and letter-writing sets section of the first floor was amazing. Seasonal greetings are something most Japanese do, so the availability of some of the designs changes accordingly. From a tourist’s viewpoint, they make great gifts as the designs are really beautiful.
Stationary and arts and crafts lovers should definitely visit this place. Even if you are not crazy about such things, it is still interesting to window-shop. Who knows, maybe you will find something to spice up the things you use in your everyday life, or even pick up a new hobby!
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