Hisae (Naoto’s older sister) played tour guide for us during part of our stay in Tokyo. She mentioned that she had a “surprise” for me. Well, the surprise was bunbougu cafe and it was more amazing than I could have imagined.
(This is where I will tell you that I regret a few things about our trip to Japan. One is that I didn’t carry my “big” camera with me very often and another is that I didn’t take more pictures. Sigh. Sorry for my poor iPhone photos!)Bunbougu cafe is in Omotesando neighborhood. It is in the basement of a building and you walk down into a stationery shop and cafe. There are place mats (seen above) at each seat and pens, rubber stamps, markers, colored pencils and other art supplies are available to borrow for doodling and writing. They have a full menu available, but we came right after lunch, so we ordered drinks and doodled a bit at the table as I sat amazed at this incredible cafe concept. While we waited for our drinks, I poked around the store. Bunbougu sells stationery, cards, pens, stickers, washi tape, pen cases, boxes…pretty much anything you could imagine needing if you’re a letter writer or journaler. In addition to the obvious Japanese stationery offerings, they had a lot of my favorite American designers at bunbougu. I saw lots of Rifle Paper Co., Yellow Owl Workshop and Chicago’s own Field Notes! Field Notes were even one of the bunbougu employee’s favorite picks! I limited myself to a few purchases (which I will share in a bit!) and spent most of my time hanging out with Naoto and Hisae drawing at the table and enjoying my coffee. As if being a stationery store/cafe didn’t make bunbougu awesome enough, they have a membership option. For 700 yen (about $7) members receive a key to the stationery drawers at each table. Members have access to the “secret” pens, stationery, art supplies and other treats in the drawers. They also get invited to members-only events and seminars about stationery and other paper-y things. Isn’t this a genius concept? Now, who wants to move to Omotesando with me to join bunbougu cafe? Better yet, who wants to open one here in Chicago? For a great article and better pictures of the bunbougu cafe, go here!