14 Best Japanese Notebooks For Fountain Pens 2024

May 23, 2024Shopify API

Check out these best Japanese notebooks perfect for maintaining journals, school notes, or simply even a diary.

Elevate your writing experience with our guide to the best Japanese notebooks for fountain pens.

Revered for their exquisite paper quality that resists bleeding and feathering, these notebooks ensure a smooth, clean writing surface ideal for fountain pen enthusiasts. Discover the top choices for unparalleled elegance and functionality in your note-taking.

Which Is The Best Japanese Notebook For Fountain Pens?

I tested and reviewed several Japanese notebooks based on size, no. of sheets, value for money, sheet quality, and binding. I found that MUJI Notebook A5 Grid Sheets is the best Japanese notebook. 

MUJI Notebook A5 Grid Sheets features high-quality pages. The pages of this notebook are made using 55 percent recycled paper, which is a great initiative by Muji. The paper quality is also excellent and you can write smoothly on it without worrying about ink bleed.

Best Japanese Notebooks No. of Sheets Page Size
Kokuyo Campus Todai Series Pre-Dotted Notebook - $41.31 30 B5
MUJI Notebook A5 Grid Sheets - $13.49 30 A5
Muji Notebook B5 Notebook - $21.98 30 B5
Nakabayashi Swing Logical Study Grid Notebook - $18.99 30 B5
Maruman Mnemosyne Notebook - $9.07 80 A5
Midori MD Notebook - $10.32 88 A6
Tomoe River FP Notebook - $73.56 184 A5
Maruman A5 Spiral Notebook - $7.95 80 A5/B5

Best Japanese Notebook For Fountain Pens

Tomoe River Paper

Tomoe River paper is a highly regarded Japanese paper known for its exceptional quality and performance, particularly for fountain pen users. Here are some key points to elaborate on Tomoe River paper:

Tomoe River paper stands out for its incredibly thin and lightweight nature. Despite its thinness, usually around 52 gsm (grams per square meter), the paper maintains remarkable durability and strength. 

This makes Tomoe River notebooks exceptionally portable and ideal for those who prefer to carry their writing materials on the go.

One of the standout features of Tomoe River paper is its exceptional ink resistance. It allows fountain pen ink to sit on the surface rather than being absorbed quickly. 

This property minimizes bleeding and feathering, resulting in clean and precise lines. The ink dries relatively quickly on the paper, preventing smudging and ensuring a neat appearance.

The surface of Tomoe River paper is incredibly smooth, offering a luxurious writing experience. Fountain pen nibs glide effortlessly across the page, allowing for precise control and smooth ink flow. 

The paper's smoothness enhances the tactile pleasure of writing, making it a preferred choice for fountain pen enthusiasts who appreciate the fluidity of their writing instruments.


  • Exceptionally thin and lightweight.
  • Minimal bleeding and feathering, resulting in clean lines.
  • Smooth writing experience, allowing fountain pen nibs to glide effortlessly.
  • Vivid ink performance, showcasing ink colors beautifully.
  • Acid-free and archival quality, ensuring durability and preservation over time.
  • Versatile for various applications, including writing, calligraphy, and art.


  • Thinness may lead to more transparency, requiring single-sided use or a thicker backing page.
  • Limited availability and higher cost compared to standard notebook paper.
  • May require longer drying time for certain ink types due to low absorbency.

Midori MD Notebook

The Midori MD Notebook is a highly regarded Japanese notebook known for its simplicity, functionality, and exceptional paper quality. Here are some key points to elaborate on the Midori MD Notebook:

One of the standout features of the Midori MD Notebook is its high-quality paper. The paper is acid-free and ink-friendly, providing a smooth and enjoyable writing experience, especially when paired with fountain pens. 

It has a moderate thickness (around 80 gsm), which strikes a balance between durability and portability.

The Midori MD Notebook is known for its minimalist design, which puts the focus on the quality of the paper and the writing experience. 

The cover is simple and unadorned, allowing the notebook to blend seamlessly into any professional or personal setting. This understated design aesthetic appeals to those who appreciate simplicity and functionality.


  • High-quality paper that is smooth and ink-friendly.
  • Minimalist design for a clean and professional look.
  • Durable thread-stitched binding that allows the notebook to lay flat.
  • Wide range of sizes and formats to suit different preferences.
  • Expandability and customization options for added functionality.
  • Meticulous attention to detail throughout the notebook.


  • Limited design options for those who prefer more decorative covers.
  • Relatively higher price point compared to standard notebooks.
  • Limited availability in certain regions or stores.

Kokuyo Campus High Grade MIO Paper

The Kokuyo Campus High Grade MIO Paper is a notable Japanese paper known for its affordability, performance, and versatility. Let's elaborate on its key features:

The Kokuyo Campus High Grade MIO Paper offers a smooth writing surface that allows fountain pen nibs to glide effortlessly. 

The paper's slight texture provides a pleasant tactile experience, striking a balance between smoothness and control. This feature enables writers to achieve precise and comfortable penmanship with their fountain pens.

One of the standout features of the Kokuyo Campus High Grade MIO Paper is its ink resistance. The paper is designed to minimize feathering and bleeding, ensuring that the ink stays crisp and contained within the writing lines. 

This prevents smudging and allows for clean and clear writing, enhancing the overall appearance of the text.


  • Smooth writing experience with a slight texture for better control.
  • Ink resistance minimizes feathering and bleeding.
  • Controlled show-through and minimal ghosting for double-sided usage.
  • Excellent value for money, offering affordability without compromising performance.
  • Versatile and available in various formats to suit different preferences.
  • Wide ruled with consistent line spacing for comfortable and neat handwriting.


  • Limited availability in certain regions or stores.
  • Relatively lightweight paper may be less suitable for those who prefer thicker or heavier paper.
  • Design options may be limited compared to more decorative or customizable notebooks.

Kokuyo Campus Todai Series Pre-Dotted Notebook

This compact and travel-friendly notebook is perfect for all notebook lovers. This is a notebook that will let you organize your thoughts and write your heart out. The notebooks make use of dots that are unlike the traditional ruled lines in other notebooks. The dots work perfectly as an indication. 

With this, you can also use the notebook for several purposes. The paper quality is excellent, smooth, and thick, which is great as it lets you enjoy writing and drawing on it without worrying about the ink bleeding through the pages. 

Key Features:

  • Excellent quality paper
  • Comes in five different colors
  • Pages have regular dots and lines 
  • Compact-sized notebook
  • Thick pages that do not let the ink bleed through
  • Can be used for several purposes
  • Travel-friendly 

Related: Best Japanese Highlighters

MUJI Notebook A5 6mm Rule Grid Sheets

Muji is one brand that never disappoints you. This pack of notebooks is a testament to that. The notebooks come with durable thread binding and will look perfect as a part of your school or office supplies.

Also, what I love the most about these notebooks is that they are made of 55 percent recycled paper, so it is completely environment friendly. It is highly important for us to be mindful of this aspect, which is why I recommend you to get these notebooks. 

Key Features:

  • Compact and easy to use
  • Lightweight and perfect for writing
  • Excellent quality paper
  • Simple and sober cover
  • Made of recycled paper and so it environment friendly
  • Have grids instead of ruled lines

Muji Notebook B5 Notebook

I love these notebooks, mainly because of the size. These are not regular sized but look more like a diary. I love the color-coded borders on the cover, which allows me to allot them for separate subjects and for different purposes.

The paper quality is also excellent and comes with amazing texture. The ink does not bleed through and it can withstand all the ink-flow without spoiling the paper. 

Key Features:

  • Good quality paper with a smooth texture
  • Ink does not bleed through
  • Can be used for several purposes
  • Color-coded covers for your use
  • Comes with 30 pages each
  • Can be carried around easily
  • Inexpensive

Nakabayashi Swing Logical Study Grid Notebook

I love Japanese notebooks because of the grids that they have. I find them much more efficient and effective for note-taking. If you are looking for notebooks that look cute and help you stay organized, these are the ones for you. 

The notebooks come in bright colors, which make working on them a lot more fun. The paper quality is good and the ink flows beautifully on them. This is a set of five books in five different colors.

Key Features:

  • Outstanding quality of paper
  • Lets you write smoothly
  • Available in five different colors
  • Thin and small in size
  • Cheap and affordable
  • Great for note-taking
  • Perfect for both kids and adults

Maruman 1 Hardcover Executive Notebook

Visually palpable, appealing, and durable are what make this notebook from Maruman one of the most highly rated. The notebook comes with a hardcover, which is perfect for those like me who are not at all gentle with their notebooks. 

The notebook comes divided into three sections that are perfect for arranging your work and for several other uses. The texture of the paper speaks about the quality of the notebook. You will notice little to no bleeding of ink through the paper. The binding is also extremely secure and durable.

Key Features:

  • Appealing and durable
  • One of the high rated Japanese notebooks
  • Comes with a hardcover that makes it long-lasting 
  • Can withstand all the pressure
  • Great texture of the paper
  • Little to no bleeding of ink through the paper
  • Secure and durable binding
  • Classy and simple design
  • Professional appearance

Midori MD Notebook

Keep your notes and writing organized with this minimalistic and refined notebook. This notebook redefines simplicity, without being too boring. The quality of the notebook is long-lasting. For making the notebook extremely durable, it has been bound with stitches, which are considered to be highly secure. 

The notebook has the standard Japanese grids, which make taking notes easy. It helps you keep all your notes organized without looking messy and jumbled up. If you are looking for a simple notebook that helps create a statement while also proving to be highly useful, this is the one that you must definitely check out.

Key Features:

  • Minimalistic and refined
  • Simple yet classy
  • Long-lasting
  • Bound using stitches to make the notebook extremely durable
  • Comes with standard Japanese grids
  • Helps you stay organized
  • Lets you create a statement
  • Great quality paper

Tomoe River FP Notebook

This is a notebook that comes with a very nice slipcover that adds an extra touch of safety to the notebook all over. Although the paper is thin, you will not experience any unnecessary spreading of ink as the paper holds it really well. You can work on the paper with all types of nibs, such as 18k medium, 14k medium, etc. 

The binding on the cover is minimum and beautiful which makes it look luxurious. The papers have a dot grid that looks very subtle and is also very absorbing. The 5mm grid helps as a guide while writing in equal and straight lines.

You can stay organized perfectly with the help of these grids. Also, do not forget about the smoothness of the paper which makes writing on it extremely comfortable and smooth.

Key Features:

  • Safe and secured slipcover to protect the pages
  • Fantastic quality pages 
  • Holds the ink beautifully
  • Balanced dot grid for straight writing
  • Minimal and beautiful notebook
  • Helps you stay organized
  • Smooth paper that makes writing on it comfortable

Maruman A5 Spiral Notebook

This Maruman A5 spiral notebook has 80 sheets with stripes on it. Spiral notebooks are beneficial as they are easily accessible and practical in terms of turning the page, detaching evenly and it also looks neat and clean.

This notebook has metallic spiral rings which make it look luxurious and classy. The notebook is highly durable and the papers stay safe even if the notebook is folded or curled. The quality of the paper is super soft with good absorbance while writing with different inks. It is a must-have for various purposes.

Key Features:

  • Striped sheets for neat writing guide
  • Metal spiral for a unique look
  • Stays safe for a long time
  • Paper quality is great
  • Durable and long-lasting

Kokuyo Campus Notebooks Semi-B5 Pre-Dotted

We have another Kokuyo Brand notebook that has been considered one of the best notebooks out there. This notebook has dot ruling pages which is an advantage when you are a student who’s taken up subjects like science and math. 

It is a flexible notebook because the dot fills help you write both letters and numbers. In addition, these notebooks have been used by 2 out of 3 Tokyo university students and are one of the best-selling notebooks in Japan with over 200 million sold books.

The semi B-5 size allows you to write a lot of notes on one page, unlike other notebooks, and hence, you can minimize paper wastage.

The paper is of high quality and has a smooth and slightly thin surface which makes it convenient to write on. Although the pages are thin the ink does not bleed through the pages and retains it on the written page itself.

They have wireless binding which helps you turn the pages without any inconvenience. These notebooks also come in 5 different adorable vitamin colors. 

Key Features

  • Lightweight and easy to store
  • High-quality paper
  • Dotted lines make it easy to write and draw
  • Smooth paper surface and easy to write
  • Ideal for university students


This notebook comes in A4 size paper and 5mm squared. The notebooks have cardboard covers that are flexible and prevent any movement while writing. They are available in both squared and ruled and can be used for math and writing purposes. 

The squared notebooks have a red-colored square ruling on the cardboard cover to indicate its ruling. And ruled notebooks have blue colored lines on the cover page. 

This spiral notebook makes it easier to open the pages and fold them without any hassle. It’s also convenient to tear a page off and lend a note to someone without leaving any shards of paper in the book. 

The papers are of high quality and are thick yet have an ultra smooth surface to make writing convenient. The thick papers don’t let any ink bleed through pages and keeps the pages neat. 

This notebook helps reduce paper wastage as it’s A4 size which lets you write a lot on one page. It can be used by students and also is ideal for business day to day uses.

The spirals in these notebooks are carefully looped to prevent them from getting stuck into each other.

Key Features

  • High-quality paper
  • Cardboard cover for better grip while writing
  • Flexible and spiral binding
  • Thick papers for smooth writing

How to Choose a Japanese Notebook For Fountain Pens?

Japanese notebooks are renowned for their fountain pen friendly paper. Here's what to consider when choosing one:

Paper Quality:

  • Tomoe River: The holy grail for many, this thin yet absorbent paper handles even wet inks beautifully. However, due to production changes, finding the original Tomoe River paper might be tricky.
  • Alternatives: Look for notebooks with Midori MD Paper, Life Noble or MARUMAN paper. These offer excellent performance without feathering or bleedthrough.

Other Features:

  • Size and Layout: Consider the size you'll carry comfortably (A5 is popular) and the page layout (ruled, grid, blank).
  • Binding: Spiral allows for flat lay, while stitched notebooks offer a more classic feel. Consider how you'll use the notebook.

What is the most popular notebook size in Japan?

The most popular notebook size in Japan is B5. It is a standard size in Japan, and is often used in schools and businesses. 

B5 notebooks are typically 182 x 257 mm (7.17 x 10.12 in) in size, and have 26 lines per page. They are a good size for carrying around, and are large enough to write comfortably in.

Here are some other popular notebook sizes in Japan:

  • A5 - This is a slightly smaller size than B5, and is often used for personal notebooks and planners. A5 notebooks are typically 148 x 210 mm (5.83 x 8.27 in) in size, and have 24 lines per page.
  • B6 - This is a smaller size than B5, and is often used for travel notebooks and journals. B6 notebooks are typically 128 x 182 mm (5.04 x 7.17 in) in size, and have 22 lines per page.
  • B7 - This is the smallest size of the standard Japanese notebook sizes, and is often used for pocket notebooks and memo pads. B7 notebooks are typically 105 x 148 mm (4.13 x 5.83 in) in size, and have 18 lines per page.

What are Japanese notebooks called?

Japanese notebooks are called tegami (手紙) or nōto (ノート). Tegami is the Japanese word for "letter," and it is often used to refer to notebooks in general. Nōto is the Japanese word for "notebook," and it is more specifically used to refer to notebooks with lined or gridded paper.

Are Japanese notebooks right to left?

Japanese notebooks can be either right to left or left to right, depending on the style of writing.

  • Vertical writing (tategaki) is the traditional style of Japanese writing, and it is read from top to bottom, then right to left. Vertical notebooks are typically bound on the right side, so that the pages are oriented correctly when you are reading them.
  • Horizontal writing (yokogaki) is a more modern style of Japanese writing, and it is read from left to right, just like English. Horizontal notebooks are typically bound on the left side, so that the pages are oriented correctly when you are reading them.

In general, vertical writing is more common in traditional Japanese texts, such as novels, poetry, and newspapers. Horizontal writing is more common in modern Japanese texts, such as textbooks, magazines, and websites.

Why is Japanese paper so thin?

There are a few reasons why Japanese paper is so thin.

  • The materials used: Japanese paper is typically made from kozo (paper mulberry), gampi, or mitsumata fibers. These fibers are long and strong, but they are also very thin. This allows the paper to be made very thin without compromising its strength.
  • The production process: Japanese paper is made using a traditional papermaking process that involves hand-mixing the fibers and water, and then pouring the mixture onto a screen. This process allows for a lot of control over the thickness of the paper.
  • The finishing process: Japanese paper is often finished with a layer of starch or glue. 

This helps to strengthen the paper and make it more resistant to tearing.

The thinness of Japanese paper has a number of benefits. It is lightweight and easy to carry, and it can be folded and rolled without tearing. 

It is also very absorbent, making it ideal for writing with ink or paint. And because it is made from natural fibers, it is also environmentally friendly.

Write away!

These were some of the best Japanese notebooks that I prefer over all others. These notebooks are durable, handy, and absolutely perfect.

I am pretty sure you will fall in love with these notebooks the first time you lay your hands on them because that is pretty much what happened to me. So notebook lovers, what are you waiting for? Get your hands on these best Japanese notebooks today!

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