14 Best Japanese Notebooks For Fountain Pens 2023

by Erika Shinomoto
best Japanese notebooks

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

I am a stationery hoarder, in general. I’ve written reviews about the best gel pens, some really cool highlighters, mechanical pencils, brush pens for calligraphy, some super cute stationery from stores like Daiso and Muji. 

If I see a notebook that is cute, artistic, or multi-purpose, I will most definitely get it for my ever-growing collection. No matter whether you’re a student, a professional, or somebody who simply enjoys journaling your everyday life, a notebook is a must. 

I love my notebooks, especially some of these best Japanese notebooks that are high in quality and so much better in terms of the format. 

Over the years, I have successfully been able to add some of the best Japanese notebooks to my collection. If you are a lover of these just like me, I’m sure you will want them too. So today, I am bringing in front of you my treasured collection of the best Japanese notebooks that you can get too.

Read on to find out the reviews of the best Japanese notebooks!

Best Japanese NotebooksNo. of SheetsPage Size
Kokuyo Campus Todai Series Pre-Dotted Notebook –  $41.3130B5
MUJI Notebook A5 Grid Sheets  – $13.4930A5
Muji Notebook B5 Notebook  – $21.9830B5
Nakabayashi Swing Logical Study Grid Notebook  – $18.9930B5
Maruman Mnemosyne Notebook  – $9.0780A5
Midori MD Notebook  – $10.3288A6
Tomoe River FP Notebook – $73.56184A5
Maruman A5 Spiral Notebook – $7.9580A5/B5

Which is the best Japanese notebook?

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. It features 50 sheets of A5 size and costs $13.49 on Amazon. 

Some other best Japanese notebooks that made the list are: 

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.

Tomoe River Paper

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.

Tomoe River paper is known for its ability to showcase ink colors vividly. The paper’s low absorbency allows the ink to retain its true characteristics, resulting in vibrant and clear writing. 

This feature is especially beneficial for those who enjoy experimenting with different ink colors and want to see their fountain pen ink shine on the page.

Despite its delicate appearance, Tomoe River paper is remarkably durable and resistant to aging. The paper is acid-free and lignin-free, which helps preserve the quality of writing over time. 

It resists yellowing and deterioration, ensuring that your writings and drawings will stand the test of time. This archival quality makes Tomoe River paper a favorite among those who value preserving their work for future generations.

While Tomoe River paper is commonly used in notebooks, it is also sought after for other applications, such as letter writing, calligraphy, and art. 

Its exceptional ink resistance and smooth surface make it suitable for various writing instruments, including fountain pens, dip pens, and markers. 

Its lightweight nature also makes it popular for crafting origami and other paper crafts.


  • 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.

Midori MD Notebook

The notebook features thread-stitched binding, which is known for its durability and ability to allow the notebook to lay completely flat when opened. 

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This ensures a comfortable writing experience and makes it easier to use the entire page without any obstruction. The thread stitching also enhances the overall durability of the notebook, making it a reliable companion for daily use.

The Midori MD Notebook comes in various sizes and formats to suit different preferences and needs. It is available in sizes such as A5, B6, and A6, catering to different writing styles and portability requirements. 

The notebook also offers different formats, including lined, grid, and blank pages, allowing users to choose the layout that best suits their writing or drawing preferences.

Midori offers additional accessories and refills that allow users to expand and customize their MD Notebooks. This includes options such as index tabs, adhesive pockets, and sticky notes. These accessories provide added functionality and organization to the notebook, catering to individual preferences and needs.

The Midori MD Notebook is known for its meticulous attention to detail. From the clean-cut edges to the carefully selected paper, every aspect of the notebook is crafted with precision. 

This commitment to quality is evident throughout the entire notebook, enhancing the overall writing experience.


  • 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.

While the paper is relatively lightweight, typically around 68 gsm (grams per square meter), it exhibits good opacity. This means that there is minimal show-through or ghosting, which refers to the visibility of ink bleeding through from one side of the page to the other. 

The controlled show-through allows for double-sided usage of the paper without compromising the legibility or aesthetics of the writing.

The Kokuyo Campus High Grade MIO Paper offers excellent value for money, making it an attractive choice for budget-conscious individuals. 

Despite its affordability, the paper maintains a high level of performance, rivaling more expensive options. This affordability factor makes it accessible to a wide range of users, including students, professionals, and fountain pen enthusiasts.

The Kokuyo Campus High Grade MIO Paper is available in various formats, including loose sheets, notebooks, and notepads. This ensures that users can select the format that best suits their preferences and needs. 

Additionally, the paper is suitable for different writing instruments, not just fountain pens. It performs well with ballpoint pens, gel pens, and rollerball pens, catering to a broader range of writing preferences.

The paper typically features wide ruling, which provides ample spacing between lines for comfortable writing. 

The consistent line spacing allows for uniformity in handwriting and promotes neatness. This feature is especially beneficial for individuals with larger handwriting or those who prefer more generous line spacing.


  • 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 Noteboo

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. 

apica notebooks

The notebooks come in five different colors, which makes using them fun. You can color-code your different subjects according to the colors available in the pack. 

And that is not where the good things end. Each page has a section left out at the top for things like name and subject. This is the perfect notebook for taking notes or for any other use.

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. 

moleskine large ruled hard cover notebook

The notebooks have grids, instead of the regular ruled lines we see. Such grids are perfect for taking notes and writing. This truly is one of my favorite Japanese notebooks of all time. I am sure you will enjoy having these too. 

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.

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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. 

Top Japanese notebooks

Each notebook comes with 30 pages that are enough for taking notes. These are also not very heavy and so can be carried around easily. You can also easily fold them as the covers are not too thick. With an inexpensive price, this pack of five notebooks is a great deal for you! If you are someone like me who love compact, multipurpose notebooks, this is the one for you.

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.

japanese dotted notebook

These basic notebooks are great for children as they are cheap and thin. However, there is no limitation to that; adults can use these notebooks too. The different colors of the notebooks make it easy to identify them. 

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.

japanese writing practice notebook

The design of the notebook is simple yet classy. It is a notebook that speaks of class. Carry this notebook around with you to grab attention and to make writing an enjoyable task.

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. 

life noble notebook a5

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. 

leuchtturm1917 medium hardcover a5

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.

Best japanese notebooks

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.

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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. 

With this, you can use each notebook for each purpose. Other features of this notebook are, it’s 6mm ruled and has 30 sheets of paper (60 pages). They are very affordable and compact which makes them easier to store.

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. 

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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. 

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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?

Choosing the best Japanese notebook for fountain pens requires considering several factors to ensure optimal performance and writing experience. Here are some key considerations to help you make an informed decision:

  • Paper Quality

Look for notebooks that feature high-quality paper specifically designed for fountain pen use. Japanese notebooks are renowned for their exceptional paper quality, known as “fountain pen-friendly” or “FP-friendly.” Such paper typically has a smooth texture, is resistant to feathering (ink spreading), and minimizes bleed-through and show-through.

  • Paper Weight

Consider the weight or thickness of the paper. Generally, heavier weight paper (measured in grams per square meter, or GSM) tends to handle fountain pen ink better. A weight of around 80 GSM or higher is recommended for optimal performance.

  • Paper Texture

Determine your preference for paper texture—smooth or textured. Smooth paper provides a sleek writing experience and is excellent for showcasing ink shading and sheen. Textured paper can offer more feedback and grip for certain nibs, but it may affect ink flow.

  • Binding and Format

Consider the notebook’s binding style and format. Options include spiral-bound, stitched (thread-bound), or glue-bound notebooks.

Spiral-bound notebooks allow for easy flipping and folding, while stitched or glue-bound notebooks provide a more traditional appearance and often lie flat when opened. Additionally, decide if you prefer a specific size or ruling, such as A5, B5, dot grid, ruled lines, or grid patterns.

  • Ink Resistance

Check if the paper has good resistance to feathering and bleed-through. This ensures that your fountain pen ink will dry quickly and won’t spread or seep into the paper fibers, resulting in clean and precise writing.

  • Brand Reputation

Japanese brands renowned for producing fountain pen-friendly notebooks include Midori, Tomoe River, Life, Maruman, and Kokuyo. These brands are known for their attention to detail and dedication to creating exceptional writing experiences.

  • Budget

Consider your budget. While some Japanese notebooks can be pricier than others, they often provide excellent value for the quality of paper and craftsmanship.

  • User Reviews

Read reviews from other fountain pen enthusiasts to gauge their experiences with different Japanese notebooks. This can provide valuable insights into paper performance, ink behavior, and overall satisfaction.

Japanese Notebooks For Fountain Pens: FAQs

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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