15 Best Japanese Gel Pens 2023 | 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. 

uni ball signo japanese pens

Pros

  • 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

Cons

There really is no con associated with this gel pen.

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. 

sarasa push clip gel pen

Pros

  • Pigment-based ink that holds fast to paper
  • The clip is right at the top of the clipper
  • Smooth writing
  • Fine tip

Cons

  • Not a very comfortable grip

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

Zebra Sarasa Grand Japanese Gel Pen – Best Japanese Gel Pen For Professionals

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. 

best japanese gel pens for notes

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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.

gelmushta gel pens

Pros

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

Cons

  • 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.

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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.

japanese gel pens muji

Pros

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

Cons

  • 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. 

Best japanese gel pens

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. 

Pros

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

Cons

  • Not as smooth on paper while writing
  • Color is not very dark and crisp
mitsubishi pencil uni ball signo rt

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

Pentel EnerGel X Retractable Japanese Gel Pen – Best Japanese Quickdry 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. 

muji gel pens

Pros

  • Clean and clear ink
  • No smearing

Cons

  • 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! 

sakura ballsign retractable

Pros

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

Cons

  • 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. 

japanese pens muji

Pros

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

Cons

  • 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. 

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. 

pentel hybrid

Pros

  • Fine nib
  • Great design

Cons

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

Uni Ball Signo Gel Pen – Best Japanese Eraasable Gel Pen

The Uni-Ball Signo Gel Pen is a popular choice for students, professionals, and artists alike. It features a smooth writing experience, vibrant colors, and quick-drying ink. The pen is available in a variety of sizes and colors, so you can find the perfect one for your needs.

Design and Features

The Uni-Ball Signo Gel Pen has a sleek, modern design that is both comfortable and stylish. The pen is made with a durable plastic body that is resistant to wear and tear. The ink is made with a hybrid pigment formula that is smooth, vibrant, and quick-drying. The pen is available in a variety of sizes, including 0.38mm, 0.5mm, 0.7mm, and 1.0mm. The pen is also available in a variety of colors, including black, blue, red, green, purple, and pink.

Performance

The Uni-Ball Signo Gel Pen performs flawlessly. The ink flows smoothly and evenly, and the pen writes with a consistent line width. The ink is also quick-drying, so there is no worry about smudging. The pen is comfortable to hold, and the grip prevents it from slipping out of your hand.

Overall Impression

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The Uni-Ball Signo Gel Pen is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a smooth, reliable writing experience. It is available in a variety of colors and sizes, so you can find the perfect one for your needs. The pen is also affordable, making it a great option for students and budget-minded consumers.

Pros

  • Smooth writing experience
  • Vibrant colors
  • Quick-drying ink
  • Available in a variety of sizes and colors
  • Affordable

Cons

  • The ink can be a bit thick, which can make it difficult to write small or detailed text.
  • The pen can be a bit bulky for some people.
  • The ink can be prone to bleeding through thin paper.

Overall, the Uni-Ball Signo Gel Pen is a great choice for anyone looking for a smooth, reliable writing experience. It is available in a variety of colors and sizes, so you can find the perfect one for your needs. The pen is also affordable, making it a great option for students and budget-minded consumers.

PILOT Dr. Grip Gel Pen – Best Japanese Gel Pen With Firm Grip 

The Pilot Dr. Grip Gel Pen is a comfortable and stylish pen that is perfect for students, professionals, and anyone who writes a lot. 

The pen features a unique ergonomic grip that helps to reduce hand fatigue, even during long writing sessions. The pen also has a smooth-writing gel ink that is available in a variety of colors.

Design and Ergonomics

The Pilot Dr. Grip Gel Pen has a unique ergonomic design that helps to reduce hand fatigue. The pen has a wide barrel with a soft, cushioned grip. The grip is made of a two-layer silicone rubber that is both comfortable and durable. 

The outer layer of the grip is firm, while the inner layer is soft. This provides a comfortable and secure grip that helps to reduce hand fatigue.

The pen is also retractable, which makes it easy to keep in your pocket or bag. The pen has a metal clip that helps to keep it secure.

Ink

The Pilot Dr. Grip Gel Pen uses a smooth-writing gel ink. The ink is available in a variety of colors, including black, blue, red, green, and purple. The ink is smooth and dries quickly. It is also water-resistant, so it will not smudge or fade.

Performance

The Pilot Dr. Grip Gel Pen writes smoothly and evenly. The ink flows smoothly and does not skip or blob. The pen is comfortable to hold, even for long periods of time. The ergonomic grip helps to reduce hand fatigue, making it a great choice for people who write a lot.

Overall

The Pilot Dr. Grip Gel Pen is a great choice for anyone who writes a lot. The pen is comfortable, stylish, and has a smooth-writing ink. The pen is also retractable and durable. If you are looking for a comfortable and reliable pen, the Pilot Dr. Grip Gel Pen is a great option.

Here are some of the pros and cons of the Pilot Dr. Grip Gel Pen:

Pros:

  • Ergonomic grip helps to reduce hand fatigue
  • Smooth-writing gel ink
  • Available in a variety of colors
  • Retractable design
  • Durable construction

Cons:

  • Can be a bit heavy for some people
  • Ink can be a bit wet, so it may smudge
  • Pricey

Overall, the Pilot Dr. Grip Gel Pen is a great choice for anyone who writes a lot. The pen is comfortable, stylish, and has a smooth-writing ink. However, the pen is a bit pricey and the ink can be a bit wet.

Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen – Best Japanese Gel Pen for Coloring

The Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen is a popular choice for both students and artists. It is known for its smooth writing, vibrant colors, and waterproof ink. The pen comes in a variety of sizes and colors, so you can find the perfect one for your needs.

Smooth Writing

One of the best things about the Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen is its smooth writing. The ink flows smoothly and evenly, without any skipping or scratching. This makes it a great choice for long writing sessions or for detailed artwork.

Vibrant Colors

The Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen comes in a variety of vibrant colors. This makes it a great choice for adding color to your notes, drawings, or other projects. The colors are also very opaque, so you can be sure that your writing will be easy to see.

Waterproof Ink

The Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen has waterproof ink. This means that your writing will not smudge or fade, even if it gets wet. This makes it a great choice for writing in journals, planners, or other items that may get wet.

Variety of Sizes and Colors

The Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen comes in a variety of sizes and colors. This makes it easy to find the perfect one for your needs. The pens come in sizes 0.5mm, 0.8mm, and 1.0mm. They also come in a variety of colors, including black, blue, red, green, purple, and pink.

Overall

The Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen is a great choice for students, artists, and anyone who wants a smooth, smooth writing pen with vibrant colors and waterproof ink. It is available in a variety of sizes and colors, so you can find the perfect one for your needs.

Here are some additional pros and cons of the Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen:

Pros:

  • Smooth writing
  • Vibrant colors
  • Waterproof ink
  • Available in a variety of sizes and colors

Cons:

  • The ink can be a bit thick, which can make it difficult to write small details
  • The pens can be a bit expensive

Overall, the Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pen is a great choice for anyone who wants a smooth, smooth writing pen with vibrant colors and waterproof ink. It is available in a variety of sizes and colors, so you can find the perfect one for your needs.

Types of Japanese Gel Pens

Japanese gel pens come in a wide variety of types, each offering unique features and characteristics. 

Here are some popular types of Japanese gel pens:

  • Standard Gel Pens
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These are the basic gel pens with a smooth ink flow and a comfortable grip. They come in various tip sizes, ranging from 0.3mm to 0.7mm, and offer a reliable writing experience. 

Standard gel pens are suitable for everyday writing tasks and note-taking.

  • Retractable Gel Pens

Retractable gel pens have a mechanism that allows you to extend and retract the pen tip with a simple click or push. 

They eliminate the need for a cap, making them more convenient to use and reducing the risk of losing the cap. Retractable gel pens are popular for their ease of use and portability.

  • Needlepoint Gel Pens

Needlepoint gel pens have an ultra-fine tip, typically around 0.3mm or smaller, making them ideal for precise and detailed writing. 

These pens offer exceptional control and are favored by artists, designers, and those who prefer thin, delicate lines.

  • Highlighter Gel Pens

Highlighter gel pens combine the characteristics of gel ink with the functionality of a highlighter. They have a chisel tip that allows for both broad highlighting and underlining. 

Highlighter gel pens come in various vibrant colors and are suitable for marking important text or adding emphasis to notes.

  • Metallic Gel Pens

Metallic gel pens use metallic or shimmering ink that adds a touch of sparkle and shine to your writing or artwork. 

They are often available in gold, silver, bronze, and other metallic shades. Metallic gel pens are popular for crafts, scrapbooking, and adding decorative elements to creative projects.

  • Multicolor Gel Pens

Multicolor gel pens feature multiple ink colors in a single pen. They usually have a mechanism that allows you to switch between colors, offering versatility and convenience. 

Multicolor gel pens are great for color-coding, highlighting, and adding visual interest to your writing or artwork.

  • Erasable Gel Pens

Erasable gel pens use a special type of ink that can be erased with a built-in eraser or a separate eraser tool. These pens are suitable for situations where you need the flexibility to correct mistakes or make changes to your writing without having to cross out or use correction fluid.

  • Limited Edition and Specialty Gel Pens

Japanese gel pen brands often release limited edition or specialty pens featuring unique designs, colors, or collaborations with artists or brands. 

These pens can be collectibles and may offer a distinct aesthetic or theme.

These are just a few examples of the types of Japanese gel pens available. Each type caters to different needs and preferences, so you can choose the one that best suits your writing style and requirements.

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?

Choosing the best Japanese gel pen for you involves considering several factors such as tip size, ink quality, grip comfort, and personal preferences. Here are some steps to help you in the selection process:

  • Determine your preferred tip size

The tip size of a gel pen affects the line thickness and precision of your writing or drawing. A smaller tip size, such as 0.3mm or 0.4mm, will produce fine lines suitable for intricate details. 

If you prefer a bolder line, you might opt for a larger tip size like 0.5mm or 0.7mm, which is better suited for general writing and note-taking.

  • Consider the ink quality

Japanese gel pens are known for their high-quality ink that provides a smooth and consistent flow. Look for pens with ink that writes smoothly without skipping or clotting. 

Some pens may advertise special features such as quick-drying ink, archival-quality ink that resists water and fading, or even unique ink colors.

  • Evaluate grip comfort

Since you’ll be holding and using the pen for extended periods, it’s important to consider the comfort of the grip. Rubber grips offer a soft and cushioned feel, while textured grips provide a secure and non-slip grip. 

Some pens have ergonomic designs with contoured grips that fit comfortably in your hand. Try out different grip styles to determine which one feels the most comfortable to you.

  • Explore additional features

Japanese gel pens often come with extra features that can enhance your writing experience. For example, retractable pens eliminate the need for a cap, making them more convenient and reducing the risk of losing the cap. 

Some pens have a transparent window or an indicator to show the ink level, allowing you to monitor the ink supply. These additional features can add convenience and functionality to your pen.

  • Read reviews and seek recommendations

To get a better understanding of a gel pen’s performance and reliability, read reviews and seek recommendations from other users.

Online reviews and recommendations can provide valuable insights into the pen’s durability, ink flow, comfort, and overall user experience. Consider the experiences of others, but keep in mind that personal preferences may differ.

  • Consider your budget

Gel pens can range in price, so it’s important to consider your budget. Higher-priced pens may offer superior ink quality, durability, and design. 

However, there are also many affordable options available that still provide excellent performance. Decide on a budget that you’re comfortable with and explore pens within that price range.

  • Try different options

=If possible, try out different gel pens before making a final decision. Visiting a stationery store allows you to hold and test different pens to see how they feel in your hand. Alternatively, you can borrow pens from friends or colleagues to get a sense of their performance and decide which one suits you best.

By considering these factors and taking the time to explore different options, you can find a Japanese gel pen that meets your specific needs and preferences, making your writing experience enjoyable and comfortable.

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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