If you still didn't know by now, Omoi Zakka Shop is an official Partner Shop of TRAVELER'S Company brand journaling goods. Referred to as TRC for short, this leather-bound journaling system has devoted followers the world over.
It looks just like any other leather-bound journal with some fancy refills. What's the big deal? I used to think. Working at a stationery-centric lifestyle shop and being an avid journaler and fiction writer, I'd acquired quite a stack of unused notebooks before I began to wonder why TRC was so popular with customers. Then, during one of our regular seasonal trade shows, we were in the TRAVELER'S booth and I saw firsthand how the entire staff had their own TRC notebook. Wow everyone looks so with it and they all look so different and good together too, I marveled. That's when I decided that I would start my own TRAVELER'S once my then-current notebook was full.
Cut to a year later and I'm disembarking a 12 hour flight into Japan's Narita Airport. While searching for an ATM to withdraw cash yen for my two-week vacation, I laugh at the sight of a TRAVELER's Factory shop. It's just right there. So easy, just a few steps away. And I had watched so many YouTubes and blog reviews of these famous shops.
Our TRC customers often ask us if we can acquire what are known as TRF – TRAVELER'S Factory – goods, and the answer is always... Sorry, no. TRF items are exclusive to their individual shops, and anything you see being sold online with the "Factory" name is either being resold or is a bootleg.
And when I walk into the little kiosk that is the Narita Airport TRAVELER'S Factory shop, I get the picture fast why fans go wild to get this stuff. Yeah, it's got the entire TRC lineup neatly arranged into a corner the size of a gas station coffee stand. And then it's got like a million bonus things like custom branded washi tapes, postcards, journal charms, specialty leather goods like wallets and pencil cases made out of the journal leather, and and and and(!!) a stamping station! Wowwwwiee. I knew all of this from the internet, but still to see it in person is a trip. (Get it? I made a trip... to Japan... and it's... yeah.)
The other two TRAVELER'S Factory shops are in Tokyo Station, which is another kiosk type store slightly bigger than the airport shop, and the flagship location in the Nakameguro area of Tokyo. Both the Narita and Tokyo Station shops are either across from or adjacent to complimenting stationery/lifestyle mini shops, while the Nakameguro store requires a short walk down a back alley, away from the main shopping streets.
It's smart, you know? Many tourists arrive to Japan at Narita Airport and then must travel to Tokyo Station for the next leg of their journey. So it's possible to hit up the smaller shops if your itinerary doesn't have room for a pit stop in Nakameguro. Each store has a convenient free map with addresses of all three locations, plus an awesome hand-drawn guide of the Nakameguro area in case you do decide to visit – very useful!
Furthermore, all three stores have really fun stamping stations. For example, the Narita TRF has stamps of dozens of countries around the world, and the Tokyo Station TRF has stamps of all the prefectures in Japan. Did you know? Every JR Railway station has its own custom station stamp? So it feels like a continuation of this traveling tradition.
After getting out some cash, hopping the 1000円 bus direct to Tokyo station (recommended if you aren't using a JR Rail Pass!), and eventually checking into my Shinjuku capsule hotel I decided that I would visit the flagship TRAVELER'S Factory the following afternoon.
For a Thursday afternoon on a chilly overcast day, the place was packed from the moment I got there till the time I left hours later. TRAVELER'S Factory Nakameguro did not disappoint. From the expertly curated displays to the product selection to the 2nd floor lounge and pour-over coffee, it was a joy to take my time and poke around every little thing in the shop. And this was only the beginning of my trip.
How bout I let the pictures do the talking now?
(Then if you, for example, buy a postcard and a coffee, you can go upstairs to the chillest loft lounge and do a little journaling while you enjoy your purchases!)
That's all for now. If you're curious about the travel itinerary for the rest of my two weeks in Japan, stay tuned. =)
And if you're like OMG WHERE CAN I GET MY OWN TRAVELER'S NOTE, please click this link.
Bonus: This was my favorite TRF tour video that I watched prior to my trip. I really enjoyed this YouTuber's other videos as well – something nice about the lighthearted humor and genuine enthusiasm that I appreciate a lot. Thanks, Job's Journal.
P.S. Thanks to every TRF shop staff for being so welcoming and allowing me to take these photos. :)