Tomoe River Paper Master Post

Tomoe River paper is my favorite fountain pen paper — at 52gsm it is feather-light, thin as onion skin, yet still impervious to feathering and bleeding, and it performs beautifully with many different kinds of ink. It is silky-smooth but not glassy and it is perfect for writing long letters, testing ink, writing lists, practicing calligraphy, and journalling upon. Yet owing to the difficulty in obtaining the raw material of the paper itself — which is sold exclusively by the Tomoegawa company in Japan — finding this wonder-paper in the perfect format can be difficult if not downright impossible.

Thus I have assembled this master list of Tomoe River paper resources as well as identified some specific stationery needs in the hopes that someone out there will finally create a cloth-cover A5 thread-bound journal with white TR paper printed with an unobtrusive 5- or 6mm dot grid! (Ahem.)

Disclaimers: I do not make any claims to comprehensiveness, but if you know of a format I haven’t listed, please let me know and I’ll add it. I do not list prices here, as they can fluctuate too frequently to keep track of; however, availability also fluctuates, links break, etc. Also, I haven’t personally used every product on this list (…yet), but I have tried to provide links to reviews when I can.

LETTER SHEETS

Tomoe River Paper Sample (x3 sheets, available at NanamiPaper and JetPens in white and cream)
Never tried Tomoe River paper before? Add a sample on to your next JetPens order and see what the fuss is about.
For a limited time, you can also get a sample for free from JustWrite with any order!

Top-bound “correspondence size” pad with glue binding
A5 White
(from PaperForFountainPens and NanamiPaper)
A5 Cream (from PaperForFountainPens and NanamiPaper)
Approximately A5-sized sheets, perfect for writing letters. I ordered mine from Paper For Fountain Pens and they arrived speedily and with a lovely hand-written note. No envelopes as of yet made out of Tomoe River paper, but NanamiPaper has envelopes that are the perfect size and a close match to the cream shade. Review here forthcoming!
A4 7mm Lined (from OwlStationers)
Same as above, but 8.5”x11”.

Loose Leaf Sheets in White
A5
(from JustWrite)
A4 (from JustWrite, JetPens, JetPens in CREAM)
A4, 7mm Lined (from OwlStationers)
In case you’d rather not bother with glue binding.

JOURNALS

The Seven Seas “Writer” (at the Nanami Paper Co)
Soft-back, 480 pages, 7mm lines, lay-flat, thread bound, super flexible, standard size so it can be used as a refill for lots of refillable journals. I sing its praises in a review here.

The Paper For Fountain Pens Blank Book
White

Cream
Hardbound, unlined, 320 pages, pages approx. 5”x8”. Nice review over at the Pen Habit.

Design.Y Handcrafted Leather-bound Journals
Located in Sendai City, Japan, the folks at Design.Y have several luxury journals available for purchase with Tomoe River paper: Model 216, Model 288, Model 336, and LP Record

JustWrite + Olive and the Volcano Letterpress Journals
Approx. A6, Blank, 120 pages
Approx. A5, Blank, 120 Pages
Covers are black letterpressed cardstock. I’m planning on getting a pair of these as soon as they’re back in stock, because you can literally never have too much Tomoe River paper. The Pentorium did a great review of these!

OTHER

The Hobonichi Planner – 2015
I read a blog post on this planner when I started my fountain pen journey. Yet it wasn’t until December 2014 that I ordered a copy for myself. The Hobonichi Planner has almost a cult following in Japan and there are many “extras” available for it, from covers to bookmark charms. You can read my review of the planner here. If you’re concerned about the usability of a planner whose pages ghost so much, please see this post of mine for images of writing on both sides of TR paper.

Hobonichi Memo Books
Set of 3 memo notebooks with 3.7mm graph paper and perforated sheets designed to fit in the back pocket of the A6 Hobonichi planner. (Thanks to Chase for bringing this to my attention.)

Backpocket Journals
Curnow Book and Leather sells these Field-Notes-sized journals in a three-pack for $12.50. Link leads to the Facebook page. To order, message them with what you want and your shipping info.
Reviews at Fountain Pen Geeks and Modern Stationer.

OwlStationers Notebooks
Passport Size: set of three, approx 3.45” x 4.88”, 80 unlined cream pages
Travelers Size: set of two, 80 unlined cream pages, kraft paper cover
Pocket Notebook: set of three, 3.5”x5.5”, 80 unlined cream pages, kraft paper cover

Ramay Davinci Binder System
Personal/Bible Size
in black, brown, and wine leather
Pocket Size in black, brown, and wine leather
This binder system contains monthly and weekly calendars, lined pages, and checklists all printed on Tomoe River paper. Note that address pages are printed on Yupo synthetic paper so they are water- and stain-resistant (and probably incompatible with a lot of fountain pen inks). JetPens has a wide variety of refills available at prices from $2.90 to $4.60 per pack.

Stateside Co. Notebooks
Link to Kickstarter page. A totally customizable notebook with a cover made of French Paper Co. paper in lunch bag brown or dark grey, die-cut with the shape of whatever state (or country!) you choose. During the ordering process, you pick a color, a size, the state you want die-cut on the front, the kind of paper inside (blank, grid, dot-grid, or lined), and an inscription for the sleeve. A dream come true? Almost, were it not for the fact that apparently the backers’ rewards have been delayed due to a fire that destroyed all the TR paper. TRAGIC. Still, I’m definitely keeping an eye on these guys and I’ll update as soon as I hear more. (Thanks to the Modern Stationer for the tip.)

NEEDS

~ The biggest Tomoe River void to be filled is that of alternate rulings. Almost all available formats of the paper are blank, with the exception of a very few in a 7mm ruling. Many of us prefer a narrower line for our small handwriting – a 6mm or even 5.5mm would be amazing. (Imho, the only thing keeping the Seven Seas “Writer” from being the perfect journal is its wide rule.)

~ Similarly, TR paper in graph or dot-grid is apparently nonexistent. Personally, I’d leap tall buildings in a single bound and spend copious amounts of money on such a product. Currently you can find a few small pocket-notebooks on the Hobonichi website, if you must satisfy a craving for dot-grid TR paper!

~ More TR paper pocket notebooks! I adore my Field Notes, but anybody who makes a 6mm ruled, graph, or dot-grid TR pocket book is almost certainly going to unhorse good ol’ Field Notes from my NockCo Hightower. (Except the Colors editions. I am a die-hard subscriber.)

~ Different covers would be excellent. Currently, there are luxury leather bindings or the cheapest paper covers with very little in between. The Hobonichi planners, however, are insertable into a wide variety of beautiful covers made expressly for that purpose.

Thanks for reading. Let me know of any additions/corrections that need to be made!

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28 thoughts on “Tomoe River Paper Master Post

    • Dirty secret: sometimes — just sometimes — I use notebooks just for the sake of using notebooks. You could work on slowly incorporating more handwriting in your daily life! To-do lists are a good way to start.

      Thanks for the heads up. They’re fixed now!

      • Sigh, I just feel like I don’t have time to start writing things longhand, not when there’s so much I want to accomplish. But I have to say I was relieved to see that the lovely Hobochni notebook is over $300 — definitely out of my price range, because otherwise I would have been sorely tempted to reorganize my life around it.

        And I’m not normally one to yammer about the advantages of apps over the old non-digital ways to do such things, but I have to say that one app for to-do lists that Sam once mentioned, Any.do, has become hugely useful to me and actually helps me remember errands I need to run on different days, and I can set recurrent reminders or easily slide things off into the future.

        All the same, if you’re wondering what to get me for Christmas, I wouldn’t say no to one of those small notebooks with this paper. 🙂

      • It’s a really personal choice, what methods you use to structure your days, and if an app is what works for you, more power to ya! Personally, I got a BlackBerry partly because I wanted to use it for time management/planning purposes, but I have stopped using the to-do list and reminder functions completely, and only half the time do I remember to put stuff in the calendar. Well, you’ve read my post-in-progress on note-taking, as well (which I need to revise and post soon).

        And yes — I plan waaaay ahead for Christmas presents. But it’s always good to get ideas. 😉

      • (WordPress is so weird, I have no idea which comment I’m responding to.)

        What makes the difference for me is getting those automatic ten-minute reminders before events. Actually, the biggest help from my Android is it calculating automatically, with traffic considered, when I need to leave for an event from wherever my current location is, and sending me a notification accordingly. “You need to leave now to get to X on time…”

        And I find there’s a tipping point with calendars…they’re not useful unless you start using them consistently, so that when you check it to schedule something and you want to be sure you won’t have conflicts, you’ll know what you’re looking at is comprehensive and you don’t have to check any other calendars as well. Plus, recurrent events that you can adjust depending on how stuff changes? That’s really why paper calendars are too messy for me now.

        Speaking of Christmas — respond to my text, there’s something else I have to ask you. 😛

    • Daisy says:

      Can’t reply to your post below, but just so you know, the Hobonichi planner is not $300! The book is ~$27 (roughly 100 yen to $1). You don’t have to use their covers, but if you want to, you can buy any of the A6 (including the covers for the Techo which is the Japanese A6) which have a huge price range starting at ~$12 for the silicone and ~$16 for the polyester.

      • Thanks for that note, Daisy! I’ve recently purchased a Hobonichi and have simply fallen in love with it — will definitely post a review soon, including information about navigating a potentially confusing website (although I found the ordering process to be really easy in the end).

  1. Thanks to your recommendation, I ordered 100 sheets of unlined Tomoe River paper, and I’ve fallen in love with the Tomoe River paper, but I’m very bad at using a guide sheet under my paper. I’m glad to know there are lined versions out there! 🙂

    • Hooray, I’m so glad you like it! Who did you order from? And writing with a guide sheet gets easier with practice, but you’re right, it can be a pain. It helps if your writing area isn’t super slick or hard — less slippage of paper and guide sheet that way. Or you can just pin your paper/sheet down with a combination of paperweights and coffee mugs if you’re really desperate. 😛

      • I ordered from JetPens. I rarely need an excuse to place an order there. 🙂 I think part of the problem is that the guide sheet I’m using is 8.5×11″ instead of A4, and another part of the problem is that I want to get the most use out of my sheets, so I’m writing with narrow little margins that mean I have to keep shifting my page around. (Cats sitting on my lapdesk don’t exactly help either…)

        I think I’m going to try printing my own guide sheet with really dark lines. I just haven’t gotten around to that yet. 🙂

  2. David Robert Wright says:

    I have the Paper for Fountain Pens journal. I wish that someone would make a Tomoe River journal in a B5 size with about eighty sheets. I like adding photographs to my journal entries, so the larger page size makes that easier to do, and the smaller page count would mean that I wouldn’t be afraid of adding too much thickness to the book.

  3. Thank you for this list! I use Tomoe River paper in my Hobonichi Techo and the Hobonichi Memo Pad with both pencil and fountain pen daily, and I am very happy with it.

  4. Hi Olivia, thank you for this comprehensive post! I am new to Tomoe River and this was so informative. I have taken the liberty of quoting you, hope you don’t mind 🙂

  5. ken says:

    Olivia,

    I am considering producing diary(planner) with best quality paper.

    I think TR would be the answer. But I can’t find the printing companies in USA

    using TR paper. Or, I love the 90g white paper of “Quo Vadis”

    If you know any, please share your information.

    Thank you,

    KEN

  6. Emily says:

    Have you tried the Enigma notebook from tarokoshop.com? They are in and out of stock, so not always easy to get, but it’s also a 480 page tomoe river paper notebook. It has the slightly thicker 68 gsm tomoe river paper instead of the 52 gsm in the Nanami/Hobonichi, but comes in a dot grid, which is my favorite grid for writing and (to my mind) so much prettier than a line or graph grid.

    • Hi Emily! No, I have not tried it, but I’m looking at it right now and I’m salivating! A dot grid TR notebook has been at the top of my wish list for years. Ordering one now and I’ll post about it when I get a chance to test it out!

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