Japanese stationery has become one of the most famous Japanese souvenirs, along with sweets, snacks, and cosmetics. Thanks to their excellent quality, longevity, and attractive design, these products have even developed a cult-like following overseas. And whether you're a fan or just looking for something cool and practical, Japanese stationery items make the perfect gifts or suitcase stuffers.
We sat down with the staff at Daimaru Fujii Central, a giant shop specializing in Japanese stationery that's in Sapporo, to find out some of their best-sellers and what they recommend for visitors!
Stationery specialty shop Daimaru Fujii Central: Largest selection of products in Hokkaido!
Daimaru Fujii Daimaru Fujii Central, located in the heart of Sapporo, is a specialty store with about 200,000 Japanese stationery items, miscellaneous goods, and Japanese art supplies. Here you'll find a wide variety of products, from character stationery to high-end fountain pens and leather products, all of which are popular with people of all ages. There is also a large selection of high-quality products made in Japan, making it a popular destination for foreign visitors.
Daimaru Fujii Central got its start in 1893 when the founder, Mr. Senzo Fujii, started selling paper in Sapporo. In 1947, a new shop was built and repurposed as a large stationery store having the first gallery in Hokkaido, making it popular not only with artists and art enthusiasts but also local residents, too.
Find a Made in Japan item for the perfect gift!
Feel free to ask the sales staff at Daimaru Fujii Central to recommend items that would be suitable for family, that special person in your life, and friends. All items made in Japan are of the highest quality! If you look carefully, you'll notice that some of the things are only available at Daimaru Fuji Central!
1. Masking Tape: Various uses! Wide selection in various colors and designs
The first basement level showcases over 1,000 different kinds of masking tape! Everything from simple, plain tape to stylish ones having printed patterns can be found here. There are so many different types that you'll likely end up wanting to get several different styles for yourself. According to the staff, there is no other shop in Hokkaido offering such a large selection of masking tape.
This wide selection of masking tape allows for all sorts of different uses. We asked the sales staff about different ways it can be used. They told us how to select tape according to its intended use.
"The unique features of masking tape are it being 'peelable,' 'it can be written on,' and it can be 'torn by hand.' It can be used to decorate plain notepaper while another use is for wrapping it around umbrella handles. Recently flea markets on the Internet have become popular, so it can also be used as packaging material for products."
"As it is also possible to write on it, it can also be used for labels. So for instance, when used as labels on seasonings, you can use different colors and patterns depending on the contents."
"It is a masking tape that uses a technique called foil stamping. It is printed with thin foil that sparkles when exposed to light. This unique tape is perfect for gift wrapping! It is certain to please the recipient, too."
"A pioneer in the making of masking tape, Kamoi Kakoshi Co., Ltd., produces a series called CASA SHEET in its 'mt' [masking tape] line. This is large-format masking tape for room interiors that can be attached to walls or furniture. These easily enable you to give your rooms a new look and are an excellent choice for redecorating and home parties!"
These look like standard tape, but in fact, they are a type of masking tape that can be pulled off a sheet at a time. These can then be used as seals or stickers. Tape with traditional Japanese designs and patterns have become popular souvenirs for their clear Japanese feeling.
"This is a fancy postcard made using these types of tape! The frame of the photo stand is decorated with masking tape made with foil. It's easy to make interior decor items like this with the tapes."
"These are Daimaru Fujii Central Original Masking tapes. The designs were made by the shop staff. The illustrations have themes typical of stationery and Hokkaido. These tapes are not sold in any other stores, so you can only get them here!"
While it is possible to tear masking tape off by hand, for those "who seek a clean cut," we recommend these compact size tape cutters. You can neatly tear off the tape after pulling it out from the clip-like container in which it is sandwiched! This eliminates the need for having to use scissors and also means they are easy to carry with you, which is very convenient.
Anyone can easily use this masking tape, which comes in a wide selection of colors and patterns. Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, you could easily buy several of these. This is something that would really make a great gift.
2. FriXion Pens: 3 selections that can be used at school or work
The second floor offers a wide selection of such stationery items as files and writing instruments. Here are three items we especially recommend.
The first is the FriXion series manufactured and sold by Pilot Corporation. FriXion is a convenient pen that allows you to erase what you wrote as many times as you want, as the ink disappears due to frictional heat when you rub it with its special rubber eraser.
Since it first went on sale in Japan in 2007, it has become a hit product all over the world. We spoke with the sales staff at Daimaru Fuji Central about how the FriXion pens were selling and what was new.
a. FriXion Ball Knock
"Everyone likes the basic FriXion Ball Knock. One of the reasons for its popularity is the 0.7 mm nib size of the pen. It is not an expensive item, and because it is made in Japan, some customers buy them by the box for gifts."
The most popular ink colors used for studies and business are black, red, and blue. Also popular with many customers is the 10-color set that also includes orange, pink, and green colors. Refills are also sold for when the pens run out of ink, so buying these with the pens ensures you’ll be able to use them for a long time.
b. FriXion Ball Knock Biz
"The FriXion Ball Knock Biz has also been getting a lot of attention. This is a more luxurious model of the FriXion Ball Knock having a metal body and cap on the eraser end. You may think the FriXion Ball Knock is designed for casual use, however, this model makes a favorable impression when taken out of your jacket pocket!"
c. FriXion Light
FriXion Light is a highlighter that is perfect for marking reference books and notebooks. There are three colors: "fluorescent" that produces a solid color, "soft" that is easy on the eyes, and "natural" that has a light shade.
The natural color is a new product that went on sale in February 2020. What sets it apart is the soft tint of the color which does not stand out sharply but allows the highlighted text to be seen clearly. It is recommended for coloring graphs and small illustrations.
3. High-quality made-in-Japan fountain pens
The next category we recommend is fountain pens. The shop handles about 200 types of both foreign and Japanese pens.
a. Kita no Irojiten
The Kita no Irojiten is an original Japanese fountain pen created by Daimaru Fujii Central in collaboration with Pilot Corporation. Various models have been put on sale continuously every year in spring and autumn for the past ten years.
Colors that evoke Hokkaido's nature are used in the body of the pens. The fountain pen on the right in the photo is the 21st edition, which went on sale in the spring of 2019. The color evokes that of the Corydalis fumariifolia, a flower that heralds the arrival of spring in Hokkaido. The fountain pen on the left in the Photo is the 23rd version released in the spring of 2020, and it has a color that reflects the refreshingly fragrant Japanese peppermint.
"The number of products sold is limited to 150 per type. The shape of Hokkaido is engraved on the pen nib. This is the perfect souvenir from your trip to Hokkaido!"
b. Professional Gear Mini 21K Low Center of Gravity
The Sailor Pen Company has been producing a wide selection of fountain pens since its founding in 1911, the Professional Gear Mini 21K Low Center of Gravity being but one of these.
This is a compact fountain pen that fits in your hand when the cap is closed. When writing, attach the cap to the main body. It has been designed so that the center of gravity is placed close to the tip of the pen, so you can easily write using just the weight of the pen without having to apply pressure.
"Actually, the Professional Gear Mini 21K Low Center of Gravity is no longer being produced by Sailor Pen. Currently, it is being reproduced as a Daimaru Fujii Central Original pen. This was made possible by the staff of the shop, who were so enamored with this pen that they persuaded the manufacturer to make it. As such, it is a valuable pen that cannot be bought elsewhere. As a limited-edition product, it will be discontinued once it has been sold out.''
Namiki is the ultimate in fountain pens that incorporate makie, a traditional Japanese craft. Daimaru Fujii Central is the only shop in Hokkaido that carries the Namiki Series.
Makie is a representative technique of lacquer art that has been developed uniquely in Japan. A pattern is drawn with lacquer using a fine brush then gold or silver powder is dusted on it to create a design.
"The pen with this picture of a frog uses a technique called Togidashi Kamakie, which enlivens the design with lacquer and charcoal powder. It produces a profound feeling just like a work of art, doesn't it? We also have other designs, so please check them out when you visit the store."
4. Select fountain pen inks for added pleasure when using a fountain pen
The next item we recommend is Japanese fountain pen ink. In addition to the standard colors of black and blue, various other colors of ink are available. Daimaru Fujii Central has about 500 kinds of ink and those with traditional Japanese colors are especially popular.
The Iroshizuku Series manufactured by Pilot Corporation is popular for its lineup of 24 colors and beautiful package design. The colors have beautiful names that reflect the landscape and nature of Japan, such as tsukiyo [moonlit night] and koyo [autumn leaves].
b. Ukiyo-e ink from TACCIA
The Ukiyo-e ink of the luxury writing goods brand TACCIA is also popular. The colors are inspired by Ukiyo-e drawn by Katsushika Hokusai and Utagawa Hiroshige. Currently, there is a lineup of 16 colors.
c. Daimaru Fujii Central Original Ink
Daimaru Fujii Central Original Ink was created by Daimaru Fujii Central in collaboration with Sailor Pen. Two colors that went on sale in March 2020 which we recommend are the Kitaito Tombo [Eurasian Bluet damselfly] and the Gaku Ajisai [lacecap hydrangea]. As with the fountain pen and Kita no Irojiten, the colors are based on images of nature in Hokkaido.
There are many other fountain pens and inks in addition to those which we have introduced. Perhaps during a visit to the shop you'll find some that you like.
5. Select small leather goods originating in Hokkaido
Leather goods are also sold on the second floor. Here you’ll find a wide selection of items such as bags, notebooks, and wallets that are useful for business and personal use.
a. Somes Saddle leather products
A staff recommendation, these are leather products from Japan's only harness manufacturer, Somes Saddle. Somes Saddle has a factory in Sunagawa, Hokkaido where various leather products are handmade, such as saddles used by horse racing jockeys, carriage equipment for the Imperial Household Agency, bags, and wallets.
"Pen cases and eyeglass cases are very popular, and many people buy them as souvenirs or for themselves. Used over time, the color of the leather will change to a glossy and deep texture. Consider buying products such as these along with your other stationery purchases."
b. Leather accessories from Atelier Curious
Also recommended are the leather accessories from Atelier Curious, which has a workshop in Sapporo. The detailed craftsmanship of these items is highly prized by customers who buy them.
"This coin case fits in the palm of your hand and features a plump shape. It comes in a wide variety of colors, and there are various combinations of leather and stitching colors. These are a great gift for either men or women."
6. Select art materials that can be used by everyone from professionals to amateurs
The 3rd floor is the floor for art supplies, picture frames and comic supplies. Popular items here are those used for coloring. We asked the staff about the products made in Japan that they recommend.
a. Gansai [traditional Japanese watercolors]
"Gansai are traditional Japanese watercolors in solid form that are made from pigments and are popular souvenir items. Many of the colors are those that have been used since ancient times in Japan. The colors are refreshingly vivid and yet, at the same time, evoke an air of elegance. While primarily used for traditional Japanese-style paintings, they are also used for illustrated letters because they have a watercolor quality."
Since each color is reasonably priced, many people buy them in a set. One reason for their popularity is that the names of Japanese flowers and seasons are used for the names of the colors.
The next recommended item is "COPIC," a quick-drying alcohol marker that features vivid colors. It is a popular item with both professionals and amateurs or alike due to its ease of use and good drawing quality. It is a versatile item used for design drawings, such as those for architecture and fashion, illustrations, manga, and paintings.
"You can use these for a long time because they can be refilled with ink, and the pen nibs are replaceable. The most popular model is the Copic Sketch that has a total of 358 colors. The Copic Ciao, which has less ink, is good for beginners and has a total of 180 colors. Many customers like to purchase this product in sets containing different colors."
Daimaru Fujii Central is the place to look for souvenirs and gifts! The shop also takes measures to prevent the spread of Covid
The shop has an English information board, translation devices and Free Wi-Fi to make your shopping experience an enjoyable one. Alcohol disinfectant dispensers are also installed on each floor to prevent infectious diseases. Employees wear masks and thoroughly wash their hands.
Currently, they require customers to wear masks when entering the store. For the safety of each other, follow the rules and etiquette, and enjoy shopping!
Daimaru Fujii CENTRAL大丸藤井セントラル
- Address 3-2 Minami1-jonishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, 060-0061
- Phone Number 011-231-1131
Hours of operation: 10:00 a.m. ~ 7:00 p.m.
Text by: Minna no Kotobasha
*The information in this article is as of July 2020.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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