Being the country that invented Manga, Japan is also the best place to shop for art supplies! This has definitely been on my list of things to do ever since I set foot in this country and it's something I've been looking forward to doing forever! Almost everyone I know recommends Tokyu Hands, mainly because it's complete and they have branches scattered all across Japan. I got the chance to visit their smaller branch in Osaka and a major store in Shibuya which you can see in the photo above. With the limited time given to me, I was only able to visit Tokyu Hands, however there are a lot of other art stores that Tokyo has to offer, but for now, here's my guide to shopping at Tokyu Hands + the art supplies I got in Japan!
Tokyu Hands isn't just an art supplies store, it's also a huge department store selling a million different things - from home decor to clothes to art materials! Usually, the art materials are located at the topmost floors. At Shinsaibashi in Osaka, the art materials are located at the 7th floor, while I can't remember what floor it is in the Shibuya branch because there were 15 floors to climb! When you take the stairs there are stickers on the steps showing you how many calories you've burned to motivate you. Haha!
Since this was my first time at the art section in Tokyu Hands, I forgot about everything and ran to the markers section. So much so that I even forgot to take photos! Thankfully, long after I went back to Manila, Keena was still in Tokyo and she took some photos for me for the blog and I seriously can't thank her enough for understanding my spazzing out over Tokyu Hands. #BFFgoals Haha!
Needless to say, the art section is overwhelming. It isn't large, but it's all there and very organized! You have your paints, brushes, charcoal, anything you can think of! Unfortunately, painting is not my forte so I didn't check it out too much.
By the walls, you have your individual colored pencils, drawing pencils, multicolored charcoal and stuff I've never even seen before! If you notice on the upper left, there are Neopiko markers that I'm sort of wishing I bought! They're a lot like Copic Sketch Markers except I find that they're a bit more rigid when it comes to the flexibility of the brush nib which provides you a bit more control. It's definitely more ideal for Manga rather than architecture. They are, however, about 2/3 of the price of a Copic Sketch Marker so they're a great alternative! :)
Shelves full of markers making graphic artists puke rainbows. *o*
Almost anywhere I went in Japan, there's always brush pens available for purchase. I think this is because a lot of them use calligraphy to write on greeting cards which is really cool. We seriously need more of this culture here in the Philippines. I still can't get over how many brush pens there were on this shelf alone! Huhu
One mysterious thing, though, is the lack of ZIG Kuretake art materials in general. I found this weird because ZIG Kuretake is a Japanese brand. Maybe it's just too famous that it sells out really fast? I was hoping to hoard my favorite ZIG Brush Writers and Cartoonist Outline Pens but have found none in my entire stay. Pentel, however, is a really strong brand here, and if you love their brush writers now is a good time to attack! Haha! From what I remember, they're about 100 bucks cheaper in Japan than if you purchase locally in Manila.
Nothing better than a shelf for Copic Markers. I don't even remember there being this many markers when I went, because I feel like I would've bought some more colors because of all the choices here. The top shelf has Copic Sketch Markers (399yen) (My review of these here) which are the ones I collect. These have a brush and broad tip. Below it is the Copic Ciao Markers (283yen) with the round bodies. They're essentially identical with Sketch but have less color choices and hold less ink. The square ones you can barely see below are the classic Copic Markers. These sport a bullet and broad nib ideal for beginners. Something important to remember when paying for your stuff at Tokyu Hands, remember to have your passport ready to get your tax refund! :)
Now, for my first Art Supply Haul on the blog! :D
Just wanted to quickly share with you guys, the stuff I got in Japan as well as what I know about them. Their in-depth reviews will soon follow! :D
Here they are from left to right, top to bottom:
COPIC Multiliner Set in A-2 (1400yen) - I've raved about these drawing pens in my review of these here on the blog because they're the first disposable drawing pens I've tried that are actually true to the point they promise to be. I first got them in Hong Kong at about 120PHP each but found this set in Tokyu Hands for 1400yen (560PHP) for 7 different points! That's 80PHP a piece! The points included in this set are 0.03, 0.05, 0.1, 0.3, 0.5, 0.8, and 1.0. I can't get over the fact that this awesome set of drawing pens are cheaper than the complete set of Unipin points we have here in Manila. Huhu
DAISO Medium Brush Pens (100yen each) - My mom got these for me at DAISO because they were so cheap at about 40PHP each. So happy because I think they would be perfect for spontaneous calligraphy and I won't feel too bad overusing them and repurchasing because 100yen! Hope these perform as well as they are affordable!
ZIG Kuretake Cocoiro Lettering Pen with Refill (350yen) - For gifting purposes! I got this for my closest friends in college as Christmas presents. They sold it in body and brush refill sets for about 140PHP each! Here in Manila, refills alone cost at least 150PHP. You can check out my review of the Cocoiro pens here for the super fine tip and here for the real brush tip.
ZIG Kuretake Bimoji Fude Pen in Medium (250yen) - I've been wanting to give Fude Pens another try but haven't found anything that's piqued my interest until I found the Bimoji pens by ZIG Kuretake! It reminds me of my Chinese calligraphy brushes way back in high school. The works that it produces are quite lovely and I can't wait to try out the Fude tip!
ZIG Kuretake Medium Water Brush (350yen) - When I do my plates for school, I usually like to use watercolor to do my skies for my architectural drawings. Although the Pentel medium water brush does the job, I've always enjoyed the nylon brushes that Kuretake has been able to produce so I really wanted to give the Medium Water Brush a try!
ZIG Cartoonist Mangaka 0.1 5 Colors Set (750yen) - This is definitely an impulse buy for me at the airport before I went back home. Even in their Duty Free shops, there are still art supplies! I've always wanted to try ZIG Cartoonist Mangaka Drawing Pens just to see the difference between the ZIG Drawing Pens. (My review here) Can't wait to try them when I illustrate over my remaining vacation days.
ZIG Brush Hilite Set (400yen) - Not really art supplies but I couldn't resist! 5 highlighters with brush nibs at 160PHP? Yes please! I figure these would be extra useful for when I study for the mock board exams they give 3rd year architecture students in my university.
COPIC Sketch Markers (399yen each) - Okay, these aren't all the ones I purchased in this trip. I was so excited to reorganize them that I forgot to take a photo of the ones I bought! Haha! During this trip, I focused more on getting the Gray shades from Tonal, Neutral, to Warm and Cool. I'm not sure if I'm going to collect all the colors eventually, but I'm definitely set on completing the Grays! I also got some Blue and Brown shades as well. You can check my in-depth review of the Copic Sketch Markers here.
ZEBRA Fine Pocket Brush Pen (100yen) - Also got this at DAISO! Like the other brush pens I got there, it's perfect for spontaneous lettering. I also got Medium Tips for my friends! Could not believe how much cheaper it is in DAISO because it costs 200PHP in most online stores in the Philippines!
ZIG Kuretake Cambio Brush Pen in Gray (500yen) - Unlike other Kuretake brush pens, the Cambio Brush Pens look so sophisticated with its casing and gold lettering on the packaging. It also comes in Black and Orange, but I went with Gray because I don't have a brush pen in this color yet. So excited to try it out!
ZIG Kuretake Cocoiro Super Fine Refill in Dark Blue (200yen) - My real brush tip refill at home was running out and it was the perfect time to buy another refill. I really wanted to give the Super Fine Refill another chance because I got it when I was just starting with calligraphy. Hopefully this time, it'll be more successful. You can check out my review of the Super Fine Refill here.
ZIG Kuretake Wink of Luna Brush Pen in Red and Gold (450yen each) - Not to be mistaken for the Wink of Stella Brush Pens (review here), the Wink of Luna has an opaque metallic finish. I'm really hoping it can produce fully opaque ink like the ZIG Kuretake Chu-ji No. 22 Gold Brush Pen so I can use it in my plates for layering on different colors.
And that's it for my Art Supply Shopping Guide in Japan! Hope you have just as much as fun as I did! :)