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!
Made in Japan
Weight: 52 gsm
Size: 12.2″ x 8 5/8”
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Uses essential chlorine free (ECF) pulp
Raw materials selected carefully to protect natural resources
Perfect for writing letters or making your own journals
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
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?