10 Best Japanese Gel Pens 2022 | Top Gel Pens From Japan For Your Stationery Collection!

by Erika Shinomoto
best japanese gel pens

For stationery lovers and pen hoarders – here are the best Japanese gel pens you should definitely add to your stationery collection. We all use gel pens, but I am sure most of us do not give much thought to the one we are buying.

However, if you are a stationery buff, you would know that even a slight change in the design and make of a pen can make you twirl with happiness. So for all you lovers of Japan and its stationery, we bring to you some of the best Japanese gel pens that are a different ball game altogether. 

After reviewing several Japanese gel pens based on ease of writing and long-lasting, here are the top 10 Japanese gel pens:

Best Japanese Gel PensGel Pen Tip Diameter
Mitsubishi Pencil uni-ball Signo RT1– Best Japanese Gel Pen0.5mm
Pilot Gel Ink Juice Up0.5mm
Zebra Sarasa Grand0.5mm
Pentel Hybrid0.5mm
Pentel FriXion Erasable Gel Ink Pen0.7mm
Zebra Sarasa Clip0.5mm
Pentel EnerGel X Retractable Gel Ink Pen0.5mm/0.7mm/1.0mm
Sakura Ball Sign Knock Gel Pen0.5mm
Ohto Rays Flash Dry Gel Pen9.5mm
Pilot Hi-Tec-C0.5mm

Editor’s Top Picks for Best Japanese Gel Pens

  • Mitsubishi Pencil uni-ball Signo RT1 – 0.5mm
  • Pilot Gel Ink Juice Up – 0.5mm
  • Zebra Sarasa Grand – 0.5mm
  • Pentel Hybrid – 0.5mm/0.7mm/1.0mm
  • Pentel FriXion Erasable Gel Ink Pen – 0.7mm

Top Japanese Gel Pens

Mitsubishi Pencil Uni-ball Signo RT1 – Best Japanese Gel Pens

This is the one of the best Japanese gel pens and has everything you need – the ink, the grip, the comfort, and the design. It is a pen that is made to fit every hand. If you have never known comfort because you hold your pens too low, now is the time to rejoice. You will love holding the Mitsubishi pencil uni-ball as the grip goes all the way down to the nib.

The tip of the pen is smooth and has no sharp angles; you can write at an angle and there will be no scraping or scratching sound. Also, I love the pigment-based, water-resistant ink of the pen. 


  • Comfortable grip that goes all the way down to the nib
  • Smooth tip with no sharp angles
  • Water-resistant ink
  • No smearing or bleeding, even if the letters are too small
  • Dark, crisp, and clear ink


There really is no con associated with this gel pen.

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Pilot Japanese Gel Ink Juice Up

We have all known Pilot pens, right? They are known for their quality and comfort. This pen is no less. The Pilot Gel Ink Juice Up has a very fine nib, but that in no way disrupts the smoothness of it. It is extremely comfortable and easy to write with this pen, despite the incredibly fine and thin nib. 

Also, do you have the habit of clipping your pen to the pages of your diary or notebook, but hate when the pen peeps over the top? You do not have to face that problem with this pen; it is so because the clip is right at the top of the clicker. 


  • Pigment-based ink that holds fast to paper
  • The clip is right at the top of the clipper
  • Smooth writing
  • Fine tip
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  • Not a very comfortable grip

Definitely one of the best Japanese gel pens in the list! 

Zebra Sarasa Grand Japanese Gel Pen

Here’s another one of the best Japanese gel pens for you. Zebra Sarasa Grand has a solid design that is both practical and classy. This is the pen you would love to carry and flaunt at a high-profile meeting. The weight of the pen is just right to give you a sense of stability when you hold it. 

There is no rubber grip, but there are vertical grooves running up and down, making sure the pen is comfortable and not slippery. The pigment is water-based that holds fast to paper, and is quite indispensable. 


  • Comfortable to hold, despite the lack of rubber grip
  • Classy and practical design
  • Excellent pigment that holds fast to paper
  • Perfect balance when you hold it


  • The feel on paper is not quite as smooth

Pentel Hybrid Japanese Gel Pen

One of the best Japanese gel pens, Pentel Hybrid has an old-time design that attracts many of us. This is one of the first-ever gel pens that gained widespread popularity. Since then, it has not changed its design, whether it is the cap or the body. This pen is a great way to bring back nostalgia. 

The grip of the pen, however, is not as comfortable as we would like it to be. Also, the nib of the gel pen scratches the paper, so if you enjoy that sound, you may want to give this pen a try. However, if you are into the smoothness of the pen on paper, this pen will disappoint you.


  • Design from the old days 
  • Good pen to write with


  • The grip of the pen is not up to the mark
  • Scratching on the paper

Pilot FriXion Erasable Japanese Gel Ink Pens

The next one of this list of best Japanese gel pens is the erasable gel pens by Pilot. The retractable Pilot pen has thermo-sensitive gel ink that is erasable, which is a big plus point. Right and erase without causing any tears in the paper. The gel ink is smooth on paper and if you are lovers of colors, you are in for a treat. The pen comes in various vibrant shades, including the pretty turquoise and pink. 

As fun as this sounds, you need to be careful when writing with this pen. When exposed to heat, the ink tends to disappear. Also, if you erase something and write on top of it, and then pop it in the freezer, the erased writing comes back and creates an illegible mess. Use these pens for temporary things or just for some added fun. Be wary when using it for official or important work.


  • Vibrant colors
  • Good ink consistency
  • No need to add extra pressure to write
  • Smooth on paper
  • Eraser erases completely


  • Heat-sensitive ink that disappears when left out in the heat or copying machine

Zebra Sarasa Clip Japanese Gel Pen

Zebra Sarasa Clip is your staple pen. It is the perfect mixture of quality and price that is loved by everyone. The pen has an excellent grip that feels very comfortable when holding. The pen is easily accessible, and you may even find that this has become your favorite. 

The ink color is not quite as dark as many of us like, however, it holds fast to paper. There are various colors available, so you are bound to find something that you like. 

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  • Long-lasting ink
  • Cost-effective
  • Excellent grip
  • Various colors available


  • Not as smooth on paper while writing
  • Color is not very dark and crisp

Definitely one of the affordable yet best Japanese gel pens in this list!

Pentel EnerGel X Retractable Japanese Gel Pen

The ink of Pentel EnerGel X is clean, clear, and crisp; it is a delight to write with this pen. The ink dries extremely fast; it does not smear at all, even if what you have written is quite fresh. This factor makes it an extremely popular pen among the lefties. 

The ink is dye-based, which means it is not water-resistant. It is, therefore, wise to steer clear of it when writing addresses on envelopes or when you need a water-resistant pen. Despite the grooved grip, the pen slightly slips from hand when holding. This is one of the best Japanese gel pens you can find for crisp, neat handwriting. 


  • Clean and clear ink
  • No smearing


  • Ink is not water-resistant
  • Not a comfortable grip

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Sakura Ball Sign Knock Japanese Gel Pen

The Knock Gel Pen from Sakura is yet another excellent Japanese gel pen that works very well on paper. The pen comes from the world’s first manufacturer of gel pens, Sakura Color Products Corp. It has a quirky design that balloons out as it nears the end. The pen is also extremely easy to hold.

The ink flows smoothly, however, it still scratches the paper while writing. But this can be quite satisfactory for many who love to hear the pen scribbling away. You can also control the intensity of the ink by changing your speed of writing. How could this not be one of the best Japanese gel pens to buy! 


  • Easy to hold
  • Ink flow is smooth
  • Ink color is dark and clear


  • The ink takes time to dry

Ohto Rays Flash Dry Japanese Gel Pen

The first thing that catches your eye when you look at the Ohto Rays Flash Dry Gel Pen is the color of its body. The body comes in a range of vibrant colors that instantly change your mood. The body also looks quite classy and would look perfect on your desk or clipped to your diary. 

The gel ink dries pretty fast and does not smear. The quality of the pen is brilliant. However, there is no rubber grip or grooves for a more comfortable grip while writing. 


  • Quick-drying ink
  • Does not smear easily
  • Classic and colorful body


  • No grooved grip

Check out this best Japanese gel pens below! 

Pilot Hi-Tec-C Japanese Gel Pen

Here’s another of the best Japanese gel pens from Pilot (and also one of my favorites!). The Hi-Tec-C from Pilot has a very fine nib. However, there is no grip, so chances are that the pen will be slipping from your hands right from the time you hold it. The pen scratches the paper while writing, which again, is quite satisfactory for many. 

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The ink is dye-based, which means, it does not hold up well against water. If you are writing something official or important, do not write using this pen. But other than that, it is quite a fancy pen that is adored by many. 


  • Fine nib
  • Great design


  • Pen slips due to lack of grip
  • Scratches paper
  • Ink does not hold well

How we tested the Japanese Gel Pens

We rated the Japanese gel pens on 4 factors: Grip, Depth of ink, Nib of the gel pen, and the pens resistance to smudging.

Grip: We checked how the grip of the pen was when holding it and writing it. The grip on the gel pen was considered an important factor when rating the pens. We rated the pens with grip based on its thickness and material. We also rated it based on how much resistance it offered against sweaty fingers.

Depth of Ink and Color: We tested the different colors offered by the Japanese gel pens against it’s competitors to rate the gel pen’s ink quality.

Nib: The next thing we tested is the nib of the pen. We essentially observed how the nib felt against the paper. Was it smooth? Did the nib move smoothly against the paper? Was there any roughness when writing or a scratching sound?

Resistance to smudging: We observed how long the ink took to dry and how quickly smudged. We also poured water on the written words and rated the pen’s based how much the ink smudged.

How to Choose the Best Japanese Gel Pen?

Here are some things to consider when choosing a Japanese gel pen:

  • Grip of the gel pen

Make sure to choose a gel pen that has a comfortable grip. Especially if you’re going to be using this gel pen to take constantly make notes or even for your diary. The pen should feel good and comfortable when you hold and write. Check the material of the grip. Check if the grip has indents that make it easy for you hold the pen guiding your thumb , index, and middle finger.

Also check the thickness of the grip material. If you put a lot of pressure when you write (which means you tend to hold your pen tight) then choose a gel pen that has a thick grip material. On the other is you hold the pen lightly then a thin grip material will do.

  • Nib Size

Next you want to get a gel pen with a nib size that matches your writing requirements. If you’re going to write a lot in smaller prints then choose a finer nib (close 0.4mm). To write larger prints, like on a envelope, use a thicker nib (0.7mm or above). And for general writing a nib size of 0.5mm is your best option.

Write your way to glory

And with this, we end this wonderful journey into the world of the best Japanese gel pens. I hope you found your new favorite amongst these gems. Happy writing.

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