After years of using and carrying Traveler’s Notebook in our shops, we finally made it out to Tokyo to visit the famed Nakameguro Traveler’s Factory.
Traveler’s Company, which makes the notebook and its inserts and refills along with accessories like brass clips, has a few Traveler’s Factory locations. The flagship shop is in Nakameguro, a small district in Tokyo with a lot of unique shops and studios, with one more in Tokyo Train Station, and the last one in Narita Airport. These shops all carry the complete line, as well as a few items exclusive to its location, as well as carrying products made by other companies.
If you’re ever in Tokyo and you’re a user of Traveler’s Notebook, this is definitely a must-visit.
It’s tucked away down a lane way (the best place to be, of course), and filled with all sorts of tiny trinkets, metal charms, and paper goods. There are sleeves of vintage transit tickets or airmail stamps, sometimes special edition or limited edition items, along with a curated selection of goods like pouches, cups, pens or other accessories. It is a dream.
I picked up a few special edition inserts, and I’m looking forward to using them next. It looks like the Japan portion of my trip will already be an entire refill—what an incredible trip so far. I still have a bit of my hoarder tendencies in me, which sounds a little bit like I should be going to meetings, but in general, I’ve begun to cherish using some of my special edition items—inks, washi tape, inserts—instead of being too precious about them or wanting to save them for an occasion that perhaps will never come. How much more precious are these inserts once they’re filled up with stories and washi tapes and photos.
We’ve been so excited to see the collaboration and partnership between Superior Labor and Traveler’s Company unfold, as these are two brands that are doing such incredible things and are also so important for our shop. There’s a display of Superior Labor bags and leather goods in the TN factory, including some special collaboration items.
From train stations to observatories, many places in Japan will have unique stamps for you to collect. Each of these Traveler’s Factories will also have a selection of stamps, some exclusive to the location, for you to stamp your Traveler’s Notebook with. I let Caleb put a few into my notebook, channeling all of my appreciation for wabi-sabi in the process.
But most exciting of all for us, for our tiny writing shop across the world in Canada, we were lucky enough to meet with a few people from Traveler’s Company itself. We actually arrived a bit early to browse (and shop!) and I think we surprised the staff in the TN shop when it turned out we were meeting with some of the Traveler’s Company people and weren’t just debating how much washi tape would fit into the luggage.*
The Nakameguro Traveler’s Factory has an upstairs studio and meeting space, filled with all sorts of travel ephemera. The kids made themselves at home—what a crazy upbringing these kids will have.
We met up with Saori Kamei-san, who is in charge of branding and the Canadian market, and Miho Hashimoto-san, an art director responsible for many of the designs of materials from Traveler’s Company—as well as Atsuhiko Iijima-san, the creator of the Traveler’s Notebook! What a complete thrill it was to meet and chat with him and all (a common theme on this trip, but this was really a highlight).
This was really a completely surreal thing, from beginning to end. In Tokyo! Visiting the Traveler’s Factory after hearing so much about it. And then meeting with some of the managers and designers of the Traveler’s Notebook. The creator of it! Sitting in Nakameguro, talking about how this notebook has created such a passionate following. About the importance of traveling and what it means to document the journey. How shops around the world and people are connected to each other through this simple leather notebook.
I still remember making my first Traveler’s Notebook order for the shop on Dundas West, and our teeny tiny little display. Our first special edition to carry in the shop was the Star Ferry, and I remember feeling a bit of the stars aligning, my family being from Hong Kong. We’ve had many more special editions since then, but its system, its leather cover and inserts that you can customize and replace over and over again, remains true.
*Far be it for me to make any comment in this regard, but washi tape is very small and you should not underestimate how much you can fit.