Posts filed under Tomoe River

Tomoe River Notebook by Sakae Technical Paper: A Review

Tomoe River Notebook by Sakae Technical Paper Review

(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)

I remember when finding Tomoe River paper was difficult. Only one or two retailers offered it in the US, and you had to get an order in promptly or you were out of luck. Now Tomoe River paper is available from multiple retailers in a variety of notebook styles.

Today I’m reviewing the Tomoe River Notebook by Sakae Technical Paper. It is a cardboard-bound notebook with white, dot-grid, 52gsm paper in A5 size. The notebook contains 368 thread-bound pages.

This is a beautifully-made notebook. The thick cardboard cover is textured with a subtle logo on the front. It comes with a plastic cover that protects the notebook from the elements, which is an especially nice touch. The notebook lays flat when open.


The paper is smooth with a light dot-grid pattern on pure white paper. I really like the white paper (I’m accustomed to cream Tomoe River paper) because ink colors look more accurate on white paper.

Close up of paper.jpg

I tested the paper in several ways: writing reviews, practicing calligraphy, testing pens, and doing swatches. It performed beautifully, though, like all Tomoe River paper, show through is obvious. Bleed through, however, is rare. I only encountered it with my three-tined music nib and a Sharpie.

General Writing

The paper works well for general writing. I wrote a couple of Pen Addict reviews using the notebook, and I have absolutely no complaints about how the paper feels under a nib. It’s absolutely smooth and it doesn’t catch at your nib. Plus, it lays flat when open.

You can see the show through from the review written with a Danitrio fine nib.

You can see the show through from the review written with a Danitrio fine nib.

Calligraphy Practice

I love this notebook for calligraphy practice. The dot grid provides guidance, and you can write in portrait or landscape.

Thicker lines show through much more obviously than regular writing.

Thicker lines show through much more obviously than regular writing.

Pen Testing

I used several different fountain pens and other writing instruments to test the paper. It handled all the fountain pens perfectly except for the widest and wettest nib: a Waterman three-tined music nib. I dipped the Waterman, so the number 10 I wrote was especially wet. That was the only ink that bled through (and just a tiny bit).

Fountain Pen Test.jpg
Fountain Pen Showthrough.jpg

I also tried several other pens, rollerballs, brush pens, various ballpoints, and a pencil. The only pen that showed through quite obviously was the Sharpie.

Other Instruments Test.jpg
Other Instruments Show Through.jpg


Last, I tested the paper by doing ink swatches. I love how ink swatches look on this paper. The colors are true, and the dot grid shows in the swatches. Obviously, with such wet ink, you have a great deal of show through (but no bleed through on any of the inks I tested).

Swatch Close Up.jpg
Swatch Show Through.jpg

As you can see, the paper is lovely and it shows off ink well. However, if you are bothered by show through, you won’t like this notebook (or any Tomoe River paper, for that matter). The thing about Tomoe River paper is that it is super thin and yet ink doesn’t tend to bleed or feather. However, that thinness means that writing will show through. The easy solution is to use only one side of the paper if you’re bothered by show through. I journal on both sides of my Seven Seas Writer (also Tomoe River paper), and I’m not bothered by the show through at all. I love how the paper gets all crinkly and the ink colors meld together in a collage of words.

A few things are missing from this notebook that some writers might want, such as a ribbon marker, pockets on the inside of the cover, and page numbers. But, if you like a sleek, classy looking notebook without any added bulk, the Tomoe River Notebook by Sakae Technical is a great choice.

You can purchase this notebook at Jet Pens for $49.00. Although this notebook is very nice, it is almost twice as expensive as the Seven Seas Writer ($26.00), which has 468 pages (it comes in dot-grid, white or lined cream). The Seven Seas does not have a plastic cover, however, and it is much thicker.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

Posted on December 14, 2018 and filed under Tomoe River, Notebook Reviews.

JetPens Tomoe River Kanso Sasshi Booklet Review

JetPens Tomoe River Kanso Sasshi Booklet

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter.)

Sometimes my favorite pocket notebooks don't play nice with fountain pens, and sometimes they don't have enough pages for my project, and sometimes JetPens comes to the rescue and puts 48 sheets (96 pages) of 52 gsm Tomoe River paper into a beautiful pocket-sized notebook.

JetPens Tomoe River Kanso Sasshi Booklet Inside

The Kanso Sasshi boolklets are minimalistic with just enough branding that I don't end up writing in it upside down or backwards. The name Kanso Sasshi translates into "simplicity booklet" and that is indeed what you get--a pack of two simple notebooks. The covers are embossed in silver with the branding on the front and at the bottom of the back. They are staple-bound with a soft cardstock cover. The pages are blank, but each book comes with its own line guide that can be placed behind the page.

JetPens Tomoe River Kanso Sasshi Booklet Writing

The paper, naturally, is a dream to write on. It works well with any writing instrument with no bleeding or feathering. There is substantial show-through with darker inks, but not enough to deter me from using both sides of the page. It would be trickier, though, to see the line guide through the back side of a page that had a lot of dark ink on it. The well-coated paper has a long dry time for liquid inks and some inks may smear on its smooth surface. If you're using your booklet for quick notes, you may want to have a square of blotting paper handy.

JetPens Tomoe River Kanso Sasshi Booklet Back

This wee book ticks a lot of my wishlist boxes in a pocket notebook. It makes a perfect travel journal for when you want to pack light, or a planning book for a longer project, or notes for a conference. It can be used as a sketchbook or journal. It's packed with practicality. My only concern is that it might not be as durable as some pocket notebooks. As wonderful as Tomoe River paper is, it's not terribly hardy when it comes to the rough-and-tumble life of a pocket notebook. My notebooks tend to look like they've seen a war by the time I'm done with them, and this book may be too delicate to live in my pocket. As an insert in a traveler-style cover, though, it would be protected and fabulous. So maybe I just need (another) one of those. And then a bunch more of these.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)

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JetPens Tomoe River Kanso Sasshi Booklet Back Cover
Posted on March 15, 2018 and filed under JetPens, Tomoe River, Notebook Reviews.

Curnow Bookbinding Backpocket Journal Review

As a frequent fountain pen user I find it hard to beat Tomoe River Paper for every day use, especially if you want to show off your inks. When it first became a hot item, users were limited to loose sheets of Tomoe. Fun to use, but not exactly functional or portable.

Since then, many companies have been able to get their hands on the pixie dust and turn it into all kinds of bound products. Curnow Bookbinding was the first I recall to bind it into smaller formats, most notably the memo book sized Backpocket Journal.

This pocket rocket contains 48 pages of blank, cream-colored Tomoe River paper. The binding is hand-stitched tightly, and the size is just a tick shorter than standard memo book, checking in at 3.5” x 5.25”. Included with each three pack is a lined guide card to help keep your lines straight if needed.

The overall package is nice, if bare-bones. That’s completely fine by me, because it’s what’s between the covers that counts. What Tomoe River paper does for fountain pen inks is a turning point for many people. It is so thin that you think you are writing on tissue paper, but without the feathering and bleed. Unless you pour ink onto the page you aren’t going to see either of those things.

Even more importantly, the paper allows the ink to shine, almost literally. If you want to see any and every feature an ink has you must use Tomoe River. All of the shading comes out, and inks you never thought had sheen light up around the edges. Using this paper never fails to put a smile on my face.

If I had my druthers I would increase the pages in the journal by at least 50%, if not more. 48 pages is what memo books without thin paper use, giving them a nice, sturdy feel. The Backpocket Journal is flimsy in comparison and could use a bump in that area. But still, it’s Tomoe River paper in a pocket notebook. How much can I complain?

Curnow Bookbinding doesn’t have a traditional storefront you can order from. Instead, you can see their inventory on their Facebook page and contact them directly to order. You can also order from Vanness Pens and see all of the sizes, shapes, and colors that Curnow is offering, including refills to fit your Midori Travelers Notebook.

Bung Box 4B has a full red sheen in the right light.

Bung Box 4B has a full red sheen in the right light.

Posted on March 7, 2016 and filed under Tomoe River, Notebook Reviews.