Established under the Kyoto-based company, 表現社Hyogensha, in October 1998, 紙匠 ぱぴえPapier is a sweet little stationery paper shop found along 河原町通Kawaramachi Street heading north. In a world now where people rely on email or text messaging to keep in touch, Hyogensha continues to create stationery paper goods including letter paper, envelopes and stickers to inspire people to correspond through the good old-fashioned way of pen and paper…sure, it’s a more time-consuming, hands-on effort but knowing that makes receiving a letter snail-mail style even more worthwhile, well, at least that’s how I feel. The stationery goods found at Papier are traditional Japanese style with a stylish twist, perfect for keeping up with the times and for this city that is a charming mix of old and new.
I have been obsessed with stationery goods since I got my first Sanrio products and cute Korean stationery goods before I was in school and Japan is a heaven of such adorable, aesthetically pleasing goods. Although I first discovered Papier over a decade ago, I first entered it last year in mid-August…up until then, the shop was either closed or I was on my way elsewhere with no time to drop in when I was in the area.
the eye-catching exterior exuding sophistication and warmth
Upon entering I was greeted by a quiet but friendly voice at the back where the register and a middle-aged female staff with a long bob and glasses was. I soon discovered that I was the only customer which I normally like but in such an intimate and quiet environment it makes me a little nervous; however, the staff let me browse to my heart’s content without interruption by disappearing into a back room.
the area next to the entrance to the right upon entering
the area to the left
the area to the right
In a Japanese style stationery shop the current season is always apparent from the themes of the stationery goods. Besides the company’s products, there are also products by other companies and individuals. I wanted to stay there for hours checking out each neatly placed item but since I arrived close to closing time I quickly perused through the merchandise vowing to come again…if I came during another season, there would be different items anyway.
I couldn’t resist getting かはゆし紙せっけん～ラベンダーの香り～kahayushi kami-sekken (cute paper soap) with a lavender kaori (scent), ￥378, and 一筆箋「夏のおもいで」ippitsusen (letter paper) in the theme, “Natsu no Omoide (Summer Memories)”, ￥378.
Although Kyoto summers are pretty brutal due to the awful combination of heat and humidity, just looking at summer theme art such as かき氷kakigohri (shaved ice) and 風鈴fuurin (wind chimes) makes me feel a little cooler😜. Not only is the soap shaped like a butterfly, one of my favorite themes, it would be easy to carry around and come in handy when I can’t find soap which often happens when out in Kyoto.
After making my purchase, I asked if it was okay to take pictures to which the staff cheerfully obliged…I figure being the only customer helped. She also gave me a small pamphlet on the shop which was just as lovely. I can’t believe that it took me so long to finally visit but it definitely won’t be my last time.