Tomoe River paper is widely considered the most fountain pen friendly paper around. Not only is it extremely fountain pen friendly, but it’s easily some of the most lightweight paper out there at a measly 52gsm. To put that into perspective, that’s about half of the thickness of regular computer copy paper. Check out our video review, then continue reading for some more details.
Tomoe River paper is available in 4 options: White or cream in color and either loose leaf or bound as a top-glued tablet. Both binding options measure app. A4 (8in x 11.5in) and include 100 sheets of this miracle paper. The loose leaf comes packaged within a cellophane sleeve and, just as the name implies, comes simply as 100 loose sheets. The top-glued tablet option comes with a few other features. The tablet’s cover is maroon in color and has either gold or silver foil imprinting depending on if you’re chosen cream or white paper, respectively. The foil imprinting is a nice little bump-up in classiness over the standard cover printing that most other stationery presents.
Inside of the tablets, you’ll find a grid-ruled insert which you can use underneath the current page you’re writing on to give you a little more structure to your work. Each tablet also includes a full-size sheet of blotting paper to slip between the pages while they dry – which may definitely come in handy considering the longer dry time of this paper. Overall, while both options include the same 100 sheets of ultra fountain pen friendly paper, the tablet comes conveniently bound and with a few other bells and whistles to enjoy.
When it comes to the paper, the white and cream are fairly close in color, being more of a white or off-white instead of a cream. The white is great when you want to really show off the shading, while the cream (or off-white) will give you a nice vintage type of look. My personal preference is for the white, though I can see myself using the cream when writing letters.
As mentioned previously and visible in the video, this is easily the most fountain pen friendly paper I’ve experienced. Not only is it bright and smooth – providing for an exceptional writing experience – it doesn’t really present any bleed through, despite being only 52gsm. The only bleed through that I experienced was when I wrote over the same area multiple times, or pressed very hard with a fine nib. In the video, you can see just how much ink I applied with my Noodler’s Ahab, and nothing bled through.
A few things to note is that since this paper is so thin, show through is almost inevitable. Light is just going to pass through this paper and you’ll be able to see some ghosting with just about any ink. While it’s not too big of an issue, don’t be surprised when you can’t use both sides of the paper. Not only will you experience show through, but you’ll get some indenting from the writing instrument you use. I don’t feel that this is that big of a problem (especially since I wasn’t going to use the opposite side anyway,) as it provides a more tactile experience with the paper.
Lastly, you’ll need to leave a little extra time to let your ink dry. The ink doesn’t absorb into the Tomoe River as it might with some other papers, but because of this, you won’t experience any feathering either. As you write, you’ll also likely notice that the lines are more crisp and fine than they would be with some other stationery (and especially copy paper.)
Note: we did test this paper with pencils and regular pens (in the video,) and the paper performed equally as well, though this paper isn’t really marketed for those writing instruments, so we’re not going to to go too indepth into their performance here. Long story short, pencil and pen users will have a great experience with this paper, though they won’t notice much of a benefit over using more economical options.
Overall, I love this paper. It’s the best stationery I’ve ever used and I can’t recommend it enough. Probably the only major drawback I can find is the price. At $15-$26 per pack, it’s definitely going to be an investment, but in keeping with the old adage: you really get what you pay for.
If you’re all about the highest quality goods and best writing experience, then this is definitely a great paper to look into; however, if you’re not too worried about that stuff or don’t feel that you’ll use this paper that often, then there are some other great stationery options out there, such as Clairefontaine and Rhodia. They aren’t as lightweight and only come in white, but they still perform very well and are great alternatives.
What do you look for in fountain pen paper? Let us know in the comments below.