top of page

Everything you need to know about school notebooks

School supplies in Japanese schools are standardized and specific and one of them is school notebooks. There are so many different types and colors and companies in one notebook. This blog will break down school notebooks into smaller questions and answer them.

Why are there so many kinds of notebooks?

Every notebook is designed for the optimum learning experience. Especially in Japanese schools, notebook types can be divided into two groups: writing vertically and horizontally. For example, math notebooks have graph paper designs to write sideways. However, notebooks to practice Kanjis are designed to write vertically. This is because Japanese is traditionally written in a vertical way (as you see in books and comic books). Historically, Japanese people would write letters and numbers vertically as well but as time passed, and as western digits were introduced, approaches to learning changed.

Where can you buy notebooks?

You can buy notebooks in the stationary area at supermarkets. Also, there are local stationary shops that have a selection of school supplies. Also, make sure you check the millimeter of the lines. I recommend bringing a notebook already used to make sure you are buying the same type. Usually, at the beginning of the school year, schools will provide notebooks for you to use. After they ran out, you would have to purchase them.

What to do after you buy a notebook to use in class.

Make sure to write your name, class, and grade! Japanese culture is obsessed with writing names on everything because school supplies look similar. You can refer to our example.

What to do when you don't know which notebook to buy.

You can contact us here. Just let us know what subject and what grade your children is and we can introduce several options.

Why is everything paper? Not digital?

This question touches more on the ideologies and approaches to learning in Japan.

First and most, memorization is a skill that is heavily valued. The majority of tests rely on memorization skills. Therefore, writing on paper makes more sense because students can memorize faster according to research. However, I think there are two more factors that influence Japan to be particularly sensitive to digital learning.

Firstly, the teachers. With the exception of young teachers who have the skill set to use technology, the majority of teachers are not familiar with using technology as a learning tool. This is because they never had to experience it themselves. Although schools do want to implement digital learning, educating teachers remains a challenge.

Secondly, affordability increases the hurdle for schools to use electronic devices. Of course, there is a choice for parents to buy such devices. However, some families may not have the opportunity to which becomes a problem of equality and fairness. The easiest way is for the school to make such purchases but it takes time and money to prepare devices for everyone.

However, there are some schools in Japan that are proactive to implement technology. If you are interested in any of them, we have selected some articles regarding this topic for you to further explore!


How Technologies Are Transforming Education in Japan by Logo Creative

Japan’s GIGA School Program equips students for digital society by The Japan Times


Have any other school supplies that are confusing? Let us know here.

Click here to read more blogs about life in Japan!

Thank you for reading to the end.

284 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page