Ahh, Tomoe River. The words just roll off your tongue… and you think of nature hikes, right? Well, Tomoe River is easily as beautiful as a nature hike. But it’s paper. Amazing, incredible paper. If you are a fountain pen geek (which I know you are), you’ve heard of Tomoe River paper. It’s a little seductive and a little elusive. But boy is it worth it. Thank you to FPGeeks for making this review possible!

ABOUT

Made in Japan
Weight: 52 gsm
Size: 12.2″ x 8 5/8”
Color: Cream
Ruling: Blank
Price: ~ $100USD for 1,000 sheets/2 reams (minimum of 4 reams to order)
Tomoe River paper was developed by Tomoegawa Co,. Ltd as a lightweight, quality alternative to heavier printing papers, for reducing volume and weight when shipping things like catalogs to customers.

APPEARANCE

Rhodia R vs. Tomoe River vs. Clairefontaine Triomphe

Rhodia R vs. Tomoe River vs. Clairefontaine Triomphe. Download the hi-res version at the end of this post.

These are large sheets of loose papers that are creamy colored but not as dark as Rhodia paper. It’s a nice in between to bright white and dark cream papers – easy on the eyes and still provides nice contrast between your writing and the paper itself. These particular sheets have no ruling and I do feel as though lines or grids would ruin the overall smooth look of these large pages.

PERFORMANCE AND FEEL

Showthrough on Tomoe River Paper

Showthrough on Tomoe River Paper

The paper’s performance met and exceeded my expectations. I had heard of Tomoe River paper but never really imagined how lovely it would be. The paper is completely suitable for fountain pens and I am very, very satisfied with it! There is no bleed through with normal use, as in, not slopping ink onto your paper like I did. Because the paper is so thin, show through is inevitable. Other than show through, it easily compares to Rhodia/Clairefontaine paper in terms of fountain pen-friendliness. To me, the most important quality of a fountain pen friendly paper is that there is no feathering, and there is none on Tomoe River paper, even when ink is blobbed on.

Drying Time on Tomoe River Paper

Drying Time on Tomoe River Paper

Not surprisingly though, like a lot of fountain pen friendly paper, dry time is longer than on copy-type paper. I had to be careful not to smudge when I was using wet/broad nibs. Drying time always varies amongst pens, nibs, and inks. Two extra-fine nibs may have different dry times. There are many factors that can affect this characteristic.

I would say it’s well worth the extra couple seconds wait! Ink looks, in Leigh’s words, “rich and velvety” and while she was referring to India ink in that quote, I can attest that all other inks, especially dark ones, look rich and velvety on this paper. What’s not to love about that? A paper that can bring out the beauty of ink is a lovely item to have to complement your fountain pens and inks.

Fountain Pen Samples Front & Back of Page

Fountain Pen Samples Front & Back of Page

All nibs tested wrote smoothly, even the extra-fine nibs. Writing experience always varies based on pen, ink, and paper, and the combination of the three. Tomoe River paper offers a stable part to that trio, guaranteeing you’ll have a smooth writing experience.

So while the paper is very thin, this does not affect its ability to handle fountain pen ink. As I mentioned, no feathering and no bleed through. Show through that may prevent you from using the backside of the paper really begins when a wet ink and wet nib is used.

Dog-Eared Tomoe River Paper

Dog-Eared Tomoe River Paper

Some might find the paper is too thin and lightweight for easy handling. I was always a little concerned about inadvertently bending corners when turning pages or trying to pick up an individual sheet. When I placed a sheet of paper over a ruled notebook for a guide, I ended up crinkling the paper where the notebook ended because it was shorter than the Tomoe River page.

Other than this, the paper itself feels wonderful in hand. It is very delicate, smooth, and soft – almost velvety. I personally love the crinkly noise it makes when it’s written on. It’s a very satisfying experience.

Tomoe River in Diamine Havasu Turquoise

Tomoe River in Diamine Havasu Turquoise

PROS
Fountain pen-friendly
Makes ink look rich and velvety
Soft paper colour – easy on the eyes
Thin paper means you can lay over ruled pages to use as a guide
Smooth, delectable paper
Acid free
Uses essential chlorine free (ECF) pulp
Raw materials selected carefully to protect natural resources
Perfect for writing letters or making your own journals
Perfect.

CONS
Hard to get – must buy in large quantities and is expensive
Paper may be too thin/lightweight for some users to comfortably use it
Large sheets can be difficult to handle/store/carry
Can bend and fold easily

OVERALL

If you are a fountain pen user, I hope that you will get the chance to try Tomoe River Paper for yourself. It’s only fair and you need to know for yourself if this is one of those fountain pen-friendly papers you’ve been searching for! I am so impressed with the way it handles fountain pen ink and the way ink looks on the page – it’s beautiful. I can overlook the issue with its size and its light weight. It’s not cheap paper, but few quality products are. You will be granted a unique, magical writing experience! Do I sense a group buy in the near future?

Download the hi-res Tomoe River Paper images here.

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  • http://www.inkdependence.com/ Mike

    Nice review, Azizah! That paper looks like good stuff, and it ought to be for the cost.

    • http://www.gourmetpens.com/ Azizah Asgarali

      Thanks so much! I’m totally in love with this paper now. *Sigh* The perils of being a fountain pen geek, right?!

  • Steven Camhi on Facebook

    So glad you did a review of this. Can’t wait to hear you discuss this on the next pocast, which I am sure you will. I first heard of this from your podcast last summer, or early fall. This paper is amazing, and yes seductive.

  • ethernautrix

    Yes, nice review! I love Tomoe River paper (toe-moe-eh, in case there were doubts), and I don’t mind if it gets wrinkled, cos it still feels very strong. For a thin paper, it feels dense, robust, and oh how my nibs and inks love it!

    • http://www.gourmetpens.com/ Azizah Asgarali

      Ah! I was saying it wrong, thanks for that! I do like the character the wrinkling gives the pages. Loooove this stuff now! Need more!

  • Steven Camhi on Facebook

    …and another thing – I had no idea how nice Diamine Ancient Copper looks on TR paper. Saw that on the Hi Res pics.

  • Steven Camhi on Facebook

    The last pic titled “Showthrough on Tomoe River Paper.JPG” looks like scripture/bible paper. Amazing!!

  • David

    You said, “Price: ~ $100USD for 1,000 sheets/1 ream (minimum of 4 reams to order)”

    I think you mean 1,000 sheets/2 reams – right?

    Writing paper measurements
    25 sheets = 1 quire
    500 sheets = 20 quires = 1 ream
    1,000 sheets = 40 quires = 2 reams = 1 bundle
    5,000 sheets = 200 quires = 10 reams = 5 bundles = 1 bale

    • Stephen Brown

      Cool, I didn’t know this :-).

    • http://www.gourmetpens.com/ Azizah Asgarali

      My apologies! I had a heck of a time sourcing information for it! Thank you for correcting this :) Sorry for giving the wrong info! Eep!

    • skyppere

      I can’t wait to order a bale of paper….

  • carlos2948

    How/ Who/Where do you go to in order to purchase Tomoe River paper ? Would a group purchase be of interest to any one? I’m in

  • ethernautrix

    I forgot to mention how much I love the writing samples — the lines, the colors, the handwriting. Beautiful!

    • http://www.gourmetpens.com/ Azizah Asgarali

      Thank you! I’m so glad you like it :)

  • kp

    very nice review, Azizah!

    • http://www.gourmetpens.com/ Azizah Asgarali

      Thank you so much!

  • http://twitter.com/sakisaki6 SakiVI

    I want. Now. Darn.

    • http://www.gourmetpens.com/ Azizah Asgarali

      Yep. I need more.

  • Paul Svendsen

    I want some of this paper. I would be happy to place the order as soon as I figure out where to get it.

  • pictogramax

    Beautiful review and samples. Thank you!

    • http://www.gourmetpens.com/ Azizah Asgarali

      Thank you! I’m glad you like it!

  • Brenda – TonicLime

    Great review Azizah! Looking forward to more reviews from you.

    • http://www.gourmetpens.com/ Azizah Asgarali

      Thank you :D

  • Jigar D. Patel

    You have beautiful hand writing, a dying art. Thank you.

    • http://www.gourmetpens.com/ Azizah Asgarali

      Well, I must say your comment has made my day. Thank you so much.

  • carlos2948

    So, Azizah how did you come about this paper? Where did you get the price and amount from? A seller? Who? I believe some of use would be interested in buying some Tomoe River Paper please tell us our option…indiviual purchase…group purchase?

    • http://www.gourmetpens.com/ Azizah Asgarali

      It was gifted to me by someone :) He got it from a group buy on FPN though. I’m not sure who the seller is but I’m trying to track that down myself!

  • http://twitter.com/edisonpenco edisonpenco

    I have some of this paper…..it really is phenomenal.

  • carlos2948

    Thank you Azizah. Please let me know what you find out

  • angiee

    I’m sorry if I missed where you can buy the paper. Is there a website where we can order and have it delivered to the US? Thank you.

    • http://www.gourmetpens.com/ Azizah Asgarali

      Hey there. What I have learned so far is it has to be ordered through an intermediary because they won’t ship to the US, so it goes to this place in Japan and they then ship it here. You also have to buy at least 4 reams (~$300 I believe) plus customs and all that… I have no idea what it all works out to be, but Hennypenny on FPN has done it and distributed sheets to people who were interested (group buy thing). Penhand on FPN is also selling some! He is located in the US. Not sure how he gets it though.

  • Jaz Lee

    Not sure if I can say this but ‘penhand’ on fountain pen network’s classified is selling Tomoe River (52gsm) paper, loose and in a pad. I brought some but haven’t used it yet.

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  • Cosetthetable

    It’s currently being sold for reasonable prices at paperforfountainpens.com ! I was very happy with my purchase.

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