Cappan Studio Cotoincho Notebook “Kyoto: A Zen Garden”



A beautiful letter-press printed notebook designed by Kyoto-based artists.

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Living in Kyoto is like gazing at a karesansui, a zen garden. With its ever evolving and changing landscape of a new culture and energy among the old resonating traditions and structures, you can play with your imagination, giving a new “meaning” to the shapes and forms as you wander around the city, but at the same time you are left feeling mesmerised by its past.

—Hirisha Mehta

Once a year, Kyoto’s Cappan Studio collaborates with local artists and designers on its series of accordion-style Cotoincho Notebooks (こと印帳), asking them to produce a cover drawing on their own unique perspectives of the landscape and monuments of Japan’s ancient capital. The notebooks are then printed using the letterpress method.

This year, Cappan Studio called on a group of  foreign designers living and working in Kyoto, among them staff and contributors to Kyoto Journal. Now, we are sharing their beautiful work with you! The notebook’s high quality art paper makes it perfect for journalling, stamping (even as a goshuincho), calligraphy and, of course, recording your precious Kyoto memories!


About the Artist

Hirisha Mehta, Kyoto Journal‘s Head of Design, hails from Pune, India. After completing her degree in German Literature, she came to Japan as a language student and thereafter to Kyoto where she studied design at Kyoto University of Art & Design. She has been living in and loving the city of Kyoto now for a decade, working as a designer and art teacher. Her almost-unhealthy obsession with typography and letterpress printing  led her to collaborate with Cappan Studio.



Based in Fushimi in southern Kyoto, Cappan Studio at The Kyoto Letterpress is devoted to the promotion of letterpress (kappan in Japanese) as a timeless printing technique and craft, in particular through events and workshops. A labour-intensive art that has been pushed aside in favour of more efficient printing methods in recent years, Cappan believes wholeheartedly in the universal appeal of letterpress and need to preserve it for generations to come.



12x14cm, 44 pages in accordion style.

¥2,330 (approx US$21.79) Need a currency converter? Use this one

Shipping within Japan is free. But the price excludes Japanese sales tax.

Shipping to the North America/Europe/Oceania/Asia: ¥270 (about US$2.50). We’re sorry to say that due to unreliable postal systems in Africa and South America we can only offer tracked mail by EMS, which is rather more expensive. Please contact us if you’re really keen!


Remember to check out our special issue of Kyoto Journal, Inspired by Kyoto, featuring more wonderful foreign residents who have left their mark on the city’s artistic heritage.