I am a stationery fanatic, and I love Korean stationery. Aside from food as a guide to my travels, visiting stationery stores is another important aspect of my travels.
My first inkling about visiting Seoul to find stationery was in 2011 when I was in Bangkok. While on that trip, I encountered tons and tons of cute Korean stationery and thought to myself, one day, I’ll visit Korea and buy all the stationery I can dream of buying. Fast track to my month-long trip to Asia where I was able to stopover in Seoul for two days. Hurray! Two days in Korea, a partial wish come true! Naturally, I put together a short list of stores to check out with the little time I had in Seoul.
The chosen ones (aka, the list of Korean stationery stores to visit)
- Kyobo Bookstore Co., Ltd. ((주) 교보문고): Kyobo is a bookstore chain that you can find all across Seoul. Unfortunately, the stationery selection ranges depending on the store and the ones I visited were far too small regarding stationery options.
- ArtBox 아트박스: Artbox is a famous chain store with tons of lovely stationery. Like, over the top cute!
- Line friends 라인프렌즈: Line friends is a brand of cute animated characters and is one of Asia’s top animation brands.
- Alpha 알파: The best stationery store, in my opinion. Keep reading for more details.
Other popular Korean stationery stores to check out
While I haven’t had the chance to personally visit these stationery stores during my trip to Seoul, these shops are places you’d want to consider adding to your hunt for cute Korean stationery. Some are online shops too so you can buy all the adorable stationery you want in the comfort of your own home (Hurray! *Jumps with joy*)
- Noldagage Stationery 놀다가게: This shop specializes in Webtoon characters
- 10X10 Ten by Ten 텐바이텐: Cute and unique stationery, including figures, paper dolls, postcards and is supposedly known for diaries and calendars
- Jam Studio: Another cute stationery store with a cute smile with jam tagline. There’s so many adorable notebooks, planners, and pens. It looks like you can shop online as well
- Millimeter Milligram: Also known as MMMG, this Korean store has many locations around Seoul
- Kosney 코즈니: Lifestyle shop that sells basic and feminine stationery items
- Object: This shop sells contemporary looking stationery. Very artsy.
- 1300k: This shop looks like they have a lot of Korean stationery, some from international brands as well
- Dongdaemun stationery street: Sadly, I couldn’t find this street when I visited Dongdaemun. I got to the station and asked the tourist information site for help, but I got puzzled looks in return. As a result, I drowned my sorrows in Korean food while wandering the shopping complex instead.
The disappointment of not finding cute Korean stationery stores came too early
I was slightly disappointed after visiting almost all the stores on my list. While each store did carry cute stationery, the selection was pretty limited and small. I tried asking the tourist information centers and my hotel concierge for help but to no avail. The places they recommended were large department stores that did not carry the selection of cute stationery I was looking to buy. Where are all the Korean stationery that I come across outside of Seoul?
By the end of my first day, I gave up looking for good stationery shops.
On my second day in Seoul, I went back to Namdaemun market because I was craving Korean dumplings and Korean street food. While there, I wandered around…only to realize there is a whole street filled with cute stationery stores in the market!
Now, let’s start by talking about the king of all stationery stores. Alpha has multiple locations in Seoul, but the mother of all Alpha stores is in Namdaemun market. There are four floors of stationery heaven, with over twenty rooms filled with cute stationery and art supplies. There is a paper room, an art room, a pen room… yes, a pen room. Seriously, it is a room full of pens. I spent 1.5 hours at Alpha but could have stayed longer if not for my same-day flight to Bangkok.
Full disclaimer: While I did visit Alpha the previous day, I only saw the main floor. Moral of the story: always look up.
Not only does Alpha have four floors of incredibly beautiful supplies, but they also have an alleyway full of cute stationery! The alley carried some beautiful Korean cards.
Alpha carries supplies for those who want to build miniature models.
At first glance, Alpha looks like it carries some random cute stuff, but upon further inspection, you’ll see that they sell some legit serious products. Take the Rhodia notebook collection, as an example. If you are into calligraphy, you will know that Rhodia is a premium paper product and is amazing for calligraphy. The smoothness, the whiteness of the paper…oh, the beauty! If you don’t understand now, you’ll understand when you use Rhodia.
Other cute Korean stationery stores in Namdaemun market
After you have visited Alpha, you will find some stores in the same area that carries the cutest arts and crafts supplies.
Some things to keep in mind when searching for cute Korean stationery stores in Seoul
- You will find many cute DIY arts and crafts kits that produce adorable products. The only downside is that the instructions are in Korean and there are no diagrams
- Most places take credit card, although cash will probably make the transaction easier
- Know what you are looking for and plan on what you want to buy. Otherwise, expect to feel lost in all the products that you will see. You will also feel lost in a heap of emotions as you imagine all the possibilities of what you can create
Fun DIY activities to check out for your Seoul vacation
- Make your own t-shirts and tote bags
- Create a customizable perfume
- Make your own handmade ring (materials not included)
Seoul, <In Arnold Schwarzenegger’s voice> I’ll be back.
This post was first published in August 2016 and updated on June 2019
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I found this blog while doing some light research about art supplies stores in Korea because I’ll be coming to the country in about 2 months and this information has helped me greatly! I’m so looking forward to my trip over there!!! Thanks.
PS: You didn’t add prices in the blog, but I was wondering about the prices of Copic markers in Korea. Did you take a look at those and if you did do you remember how much were they? I’m probably going to take a mini trip to Japan while visiting Korea and will probably get some in Japan, but I’m still wondering about the prices of them in Korea. Thanks again for all the info!
Hi AG! I’m so happy to hear this blog post helped you 🙂 The inspiration for this article was to help people like you who may be looking for stationery in Korea… I myself was struggling to find a comprehensive article about stationery stores when planning my trip to Seoul.
Unfortunately, I didn’t do a very good job at tracking prices for Korean stationery and I don’t remember the prices of the Copic markers in Korea. At the top of my head, I remember it to be within the $2-$3 CAD range as I contemplated buying some, but I’m not 100% sure.
I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions that I can help you with for your upcoming trip to Seoul 🙂
Hi, I loved your review and I would like to ask you, how much did you spend on stationery?
I spent around $30 USD on stationery! Honestly, I could have bought more stuff though! They have some cute kits where you can make cute displays that I wanted to buy… I decided against it because the instructions were in Korean 🙁
there are soooooo many other amazing stationary stores in korea that you havn’t mentioned about in this post!!!!!!
Oh, I’m sure there’s quite a few that I missed. Let me know which ones you think I should add and I will definitely add it to the list 🙂
I’m also planning my sketching trip to Seoul and you helped greatly) Being the huge stationery fan myself, I’m really grateful for the work you’ve done. Unfortunately my trip is rather short, so I wonder how can I combine stationery shopping (mostly Copics) and sightseeing. Can you recommend any combinations?
I’m glad this post helped! I felt so lost searching for stationery when I was in Seoul and didn’t discover them until my second day in Seoul (sadly, I was there for only two full days).
I’d say start with Namdaemun Market (click here to read more) because that’s where I found the widest selection of stationery at reasonable prices. In most intersections, there will be staff members with maps – try to get a hold of them if you can so that you can make the most of your time in Namdaemun Market. My next favourite area was Myeongdong. I have my two-day itinerary in this blog post with photos, so you can get an idea of what to expect in each area.
David Bảo says
I found this article while traveling to Korea because I will be coming to this country in about two months to work and this information has shared my confidences so much when I first came here! I am looking forward to my business trip here !!! Thanks very much.
Oh, I am glad to hear! Happy stationery hunting!
I was wondering which store would you recommend for those expandable file folders? I would like to contact a supplier.
Cheline Jules says
Hi Nancy, I am a floral designer looking for korean bouquet wrapping paper, would be able to help me with any online store or suppliers you know
Hi Cheline! Unfortunately, I don’t know of any online stores or suppliers that I personally know. Perhaps you can try Shopee?
Hi I was wondering if you had exact directions to get to ALPHA 알파 in the Namdaemun area? Thank you so much!
Hi Sabrina, here is the Google Maps location. Good luck!
taylor ramsey says
OK, my wife is going to korea in a few months and i saw a picture on the post that had copic markers.
What is the name of that store and where is it, please?
Sorry but I don’t remember the name of the shop except that it is one of the shops in Namdaemun market in the stationery section. It was in a shop that had a narrow staircase and the copic markers were on the second floor (I missed the second floor the first time I visited the shop so keep your eyes open for narrow stairs in the back of stores!). I hope that helps! Good luck with your copic markers hunt and let me know if you find the shop!
Hello. I just wanted to let anyone in the future know that the copics are in the Alpha store itself on the 3rd floor!
Thanks Frank for the tip!
Dear Nancy, Thanks for your detailed article. Definitely, it will help foreigners also. We are a leading Korean stationery manufacturer based in South Korea. Our products are available in alpha, Kyobo stationery shop.