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 April 2016 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 shops 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:
- 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.
Related: Ideas On Things To Do While In Seoul
Disappointment came too early
I was slightly disappointed after visiting almost all the stores on my list. While each store did carry 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 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 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 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 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 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 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
Seoul, <In Arnold Schwarzenegger’s voice> I’ll be back.
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