The Ink Whisperer – Tomoe River Paper


“Love” is the best way to describe my initial response to Tomoe River paper. For correspondence, general writing, or musing in a journal, this line brought joy to every fountain pen and ink duo tested. This is a writer’s paper.

The word-of-mouth is consistently outstanding, a rarity in the fountain pen community. There is no substitute for first-hand experience, so I solicited a sample from Jay at Paper For Fountain Pens. I was hoping for a few sheets, but he generously sent a journal, a pad and a packet of single sheets. He included a three-page letter that immediately got passed around to family members who were impressed with the texture and the thinness of the paper. We all use fountain pens and the amazing performance as evidenced by Jay’s letter wowed us all. Rest assured we are not easily impressed.

There is something unusually satisfying about the combination of weight and texture. It is not unlike airmail paper or even the paper in some Bibles. For people who are fascinated with paper, Tomoe River will delight the senses.

Tomoe River is smooth but not glassy and for fountain pens, that is a very good thing. It is smooth enough to tame even a scratchy nib and that earns it the highest marks. Given the weight of the paper, there is surprisingly mild show-through and only the occasional dot of bleed-through. The thin sheets pack a lot of writing into a very small profile.

The only caveat is that the paper needs somewhat gentle handling and the support of a solid writing surface. The journal format meets both criteria, but the pad and single sheets could use a protective binder and a desk or clip board for best performance. In fact the pad would benefit from a cover that could easily be constructed from a heavier paper measuring 9.5 – 10″ x 6 1/10″. This would allow enough extra paper to wrap around the top edge and glue to the back of the pad. It won’t interfere with detaching pages, but it will protect the top page and the edge where the pages are glued together.

Ink whisperer is fitting as the writing samples above show, but Noodler’s Blue Nose Bear is in a class unto itself. It’s a lovely color, but feathers on many brands and grades of paper as the samples below demonstrate. However, Tomoe River tames the beast and that is no mean feat.

This is one of the few papers that enhances shading. Yes, you read that right. The writing sample shows how well it does the job with inks that are so inclined.

Peruse the Paper for Fountain Pens website for more information, but suffice to say, this is one paper that won’t disappoint. I would never say you need to own anything, but Tomoe River might be the exception.

More at PenPaperInkLetter including a gazillion photos.



  1. Now you know what all the fuss is about! Only budget constraints keep me from wallowing in even more of this fabulous paper.


    • Phooey on budget constraints. They make me use things too sparingly and this is a certain example of that.


  2. I just love this paper. When my spouse and I discovered Jay’s website, Paperforfountainpens.com, we immediately ordered notebooks. I will never look back and have ordered several more since. I write on average 600+ pages per year in my daily journal and I have never enjoyed it as much as I have with this paper. There is not a nib or ink that isn’t shown to it’s best advantage; getting shading from inks that are marginal at best. Thanks for your great review- we want Jay to be in business a looong time!


    • That’s a lot of writing. Do you write on both sides of the paper?

      Yes, Jay is not allowed to close up shop now that he has made addicts of us. No, no, no, no, no.


      • I do write on both sides of the paper. At first I had reservations about 2 things- first, writing on blank paper (no dots, grids or lines to keep me from the up/down hill syndrome!!!) and secondly, the small amount of show-through. Happily I discovered that I could write in a straight line and the show through was not an issue, or at least for me. I have read other comments and blogs where this was a “make or break” issue but it just isn’t for me. BTW, I am glad you mentioned that this paper really does require “padding” in order to perform well.
        On a side note: inkjet printer inks look fabulous on this paper as well. Makes sense since this was designed for lightweight catalogs with multicolor printing. (I know, I know- heresy !)


        • Lines are important to me, too, so I printed a lined guide to keep me on track. http://incompetech.com/graphpaper/lined/

          So that was its original purpose. Not that I would waste it in a printer, but good to now it’s useful that way.


  3. Thanks for the mention. Great writing samples!


  4. […] Tomoe River Paper (via Inkophile) […]


  5. Thank you so much for posting this! I love the color of Blue Nose Bear so much that I had to buy a bottle, and was hoping that it might fare better on Tomoe River paper than on others. Happily, I’ve just acquired a bunch so that’ll have to be my go-to pairing!


    • It is a great color ink and Tomoe River seems to suit it best. Enjoy!


  6. […] the new Backpocket Journals with Tomoe River Paper, and then scroll through my WordPress feed and see Inkophile’s review of the paper too! It’s a sign … a sign that I need more of this […]


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