We just returned from Japan Nov 7th but unfortunately did not visit any pen places in Kyoto. Kyoto was for ceramics
All the usual suspects were in Tokyo: Bungubox, Eboya, Shosaikan, Kingdom Note, Moriichi, Maruzen, Itoya, Eurobox (was closed :-( google goofed) and the only other outside Tokyo was Morita-san in Osaka.
Because it was our first time there, I did not want to devote a whole lot of time, bargaining and hunting.
Nevertheless my better half was a good sport and help route out the major ones.
Japan has so much more to offer than just pens!
Pricing is a mixed bag.
I concur with @Bobje that prices are not significantly less than USA (Ebay, Pensachi, Wancher, Endless, etc) across the board. One place had a Pilot Custom 823 at 30000 Yen which actually more expensive than $288 USD here in the States?!
It depends on what you're looking for which goes to the point of @OmegaMountain on Limited Editions and certain rarer beasts. For these special color store tie-ins and vintage like ribbed Sailors, price or availability favors Japan domestic carry out.
But I found that most of them had the same stock with only vintage or special ones to distinguish them from each other. Even a "special" one we got as a souvenir was not much different in price than Wancher, though it is out of stock
@MissCellany I would up the budget to $200 and ask your friend if they could send you a selection of colors or better yet, target what you want, ie Sailor Pro Gear limited edition: if in x,y,z colors The extra cost is not a difference in the long run because it would be 'special' from Japan from your partner. Otherwise, Instagram is your friend and you can bypass travel by emailing vendors directly on special editions.
- Example: here is a Sailor Pro Gear Limited Edition for $165 from Pensachi (I have no affiliation and not a customer but they post on FPN) Can someone in Japan tell us if they can get it significantly cheaper?
What is significant is a retail presence where you can sue-me-ma-sen your way to actually trying before buying. Wanna handle the latest Lamy Bauhaus Blue 2000, Horoscope Sailor Mini, or a Namiki Emperor? They would be happy to help.
The consumption tax was increased to 10% and only some stores will tax-free that back with a paper record to your passport. We only did that with Itoya which does full retail as they made it so painless.
The damage was not too bad: Morita 2, Bungubox 1, Itoya 2, Eboya 1 and ink and a whole buncha mechanical pencils
Honestly, a terrible thing about this hobby, Japan or USA, is that everyone was so nice than we just wanted to give them some business to keep the lights on and stave off the bigger sumos like Amazon
We really enjoyed our time in the land of the rising sun: people, culture, and history.
So special in the world of nations, definitely worth visiting, pens or otherwise!
Edited by peroride, 16 November 2019 - 19:45.