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Shosaikan: A virtual tour

I take the readers on a virtual tour of Shosaikan, located in the Aoyama Omotesando area.

This store was the first store that I visited in Tokyo, and I always look forward to my time at Shosaikan. Admittedly, I was not actively seeking to dive deeper into the hobby, since I was not earning at the time, but I liked looking at pens and something about Shosaikan drew me in. Even from the very first time, the staff were extremely friendly for me and I was able to test any pen that I wanted (more on this later). The ambiance of the store is fantastic and I have to emphasise that the staff just pushes the experience over the edge!

The shop itself is tucked into a quiet corner near the busier shopping areas of Omotesando and Harajuku. For first timers, it could be a bit difficult to find, but Google Maps is fairly accurate and easy to use. There’s a small garden-like entrance with a soothing pond to greet visitors, as well as a funky image of a baby.

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Outside pond at Shosaikan

Walk up the stone steps, and you’ll walk into the store itself, with a hallway decorated with a display wall of some of Shosaikan’s most rare and beautiful pens. Limited edition OMAS, Pelikan, Pilots, etc. adorn the wall, many of which could very well be the only one you’ll ever see in your lifetime.

Beyond this initial wall, visitors then walk into the main foyer, which is another wide display of more common production (or formerly production) pens, mostly of western brands such as Aurora, Delta, Visconti, Pelikan, and the sort. Occasionally, the display is switched up when the store does brand focused events, such as the one done for the Pilot and Platinum 100 Year Anniversaries or their Capless (Vanishing Point family) Fair.

Pilot 100 Year Anniversary Fair at Shosaikan
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4/4(木)〜4/23(火)🖋プラチナ万年筆100周年フェア開催中✨ "これまでの歴史とこれからの物作りの挑戦"と題し、プラチナ万年筆の貴重な歴史資料万年筆、そして現代、多くの方に高評価を得ている定番商品、100周年記念の限定万年筆を展示販売しております(資料万年筆は展示のみです)。 期間中は富士山の清水で作られた限定インクも販売しております✨✨ また、万年筆愛用者御用達の"グラフィーロ"で有名な神戸派計画さん @kobeha_078 にご協力いただき、文房具コンシェルジュの佐久間和子さんのアニバーサリーイラストが表紙の特製ノートを作りました‼️ こちらは期間中のご来店のお客様へプレゼントいたします🎁数量限定先着順ですので、ファンの方はぜひお早めにお越しください☺️ フェア期間中は3つのイベントも開催いたしますので、そちらも併せて情報をご覧いただければと思います✨✨ #書斎館 #shosaikan#フェア #万年筆 #プラチナ #プラチナ万年筆 #プラチナ万年筆100周年 #富士山 #限定 #インク #万年筆インク #文房具 #コンシェルジュ #バースデー #イラスト #神戸派計画 #ご協力 #感謝 #ノート #プレゼント #万年筆 #らくがき #ミクサブルインク #ペンクリニック #イベント #盛りだくさん #100周年 #おめでとう #ご来店 #お待ちしてます

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Platinum 100 Year Anniversary Fair at Shosaikan

Turn left, and you will find a catalogue of magazines and postcards, as well as a small charming café space (their milk tea is VERY good). To the right, however, is the main space with the bulk of their commercial inventory. For fountain pen lovers, the main attractions are on the walls. The biggest display wall is dedicated to more commercially popular pens, such as the Pilot Capless and Custom series, the Platinum 3776 series, and the Sailor Profit (1911) series, as well as an assortment of western pens.

Immediately in front of that, there is a display table filled with high end Pilot Urushi pens, including the Emperor and other various Maki-e pens. The artistry of these pens are simply superb, and it’s an incredibly surreal experience to see these lined up next to each other. The Sailor Specialty Nibs and other high end Sailors sit on a separate display table, where you can see and try all the modern production models. Interestingly, there is not a dedicated display table of Platinum, but nonetheless Platinum is represented on the main wall, but could be potentially a reflection of Platinum’s status as the third of the Japanese Big 3. Nakaya, to my memory, is not represented at Shosaikan.

Maki-e and Raden Pelikans are also sold at Shosaikan, although embedded into the far side of the store, along with GVFC and Visconti (including the Visconti Alchemy!). Fear not, however, as you can simply ask the staff to test the pens, and they will bring out their test model for you.

There is also a smaller Montblanc and Cartier corner, but this is not so interesting, though they do have all the standard line up and special editions.

At the back of the store, there is an ink and accessories wall, where they sell inks from the main lines of the major manufacturers, as well as some western manufacturers such as Noodler’s (I believe they may be one of the first retailers worldwide to sell Noodler’s) and Private Reserve. Additionally, there are two store exclusive inks by Sailor: Seiran, a deep blue, and Shinzan, a musky green.

Shosaikan Exclusive Inks

Once you have narrowed down the pens that you would like to try, just approach any free staff and you will be seated at the main counter, where you will get to try the pen on two different types of paper: a textured one and a smooth one, while being served some refreshing green tea. The staff are there to not only answer your questions about the products, but are also happy to have a conversation with you! However, not all the staff can speak English, although this does not hamper their enthusiasm for their products and customers.

A purchase above 30,000 JPY comes with a choice of a leather mini paper pad or a nice leather pen wrap. Personally, I always choose the pen wrap, which is nicely embossed with the Shosaikan quill logo.

In addition to selling stationery, Shosaikan also hosts “Pen Clinics” and other kinds of workshops, such as the Pilot Writing Test, where you can write on a machine developed by Pilot, which will then analyse your writing angle and pressure to recommend a pen for you.

A Video Demonstration of the Pilot Writing Test

Overall, I really love this store. This is probably the most beautiful retail space of fountain pens in Japan, away from the hustle and bustle that is Tokyo for a personalised and classy experience. If you have the time, do try their café as well! This is where I bought my first Iroshizuku and my first Pilot Custom 823. The staff are wonderful people to talk to, and coming to Shosaikan is always the highlight of my day.

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4 replies on “Shosaikan: A virtual tour”

Great post, wish I knew they served drinks when I was there. I was wondering what the area on the left was for, it looked more like someone’s living room than a pen shop. Well, now I know. 😀

One thing I want to add, the lighting is a bit dim inside shosaikan, which is nice for ambient but it makes it a bit difficult to compare ink colors when testing inks. Surprisingly, they carry Faber Castell fountain pens and I managed to try a few.

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Thank you so much! Yes, you’re right, they do not really do a good job at advertising their cafe. the lighting is a bit dark, indeed, but I found that sitting at the counter was a great experience and they do have stronger lighting there!

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Thanks for putting this together. It makes it so much easier if people get the chance to go to pen shops in Japan as it can be a bit interesting knowing what to expect and where is worth going.
I know you have spoken about it a bit on the podcast but to suggest it might be worth doing an online shopping edition, a round up of the best websites to shop online on, how to navigate them, where to look for certain pen brands or nib types and what forwarding shippers (white rabbit etc) are good to use or do a comparison. A lot of people might not get the chance to go there and the online options can be a bit daunting. Thanks.

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Thanks! You make a really good point. The problem is that most online stores do not ship outside of Japan, so you’ll be looking at shipping agents, and thats another can of worms. Quite a few people ask me to be their agent, and that can be a good way as well, but I’m not too personally familiar with the shipping agents in Japan, since I dont use them!

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