It’s thin but mighty.
Tomoe River paper is thin but mighty. When my Hobonichi Cousin first came in the mail, a memory that’s still precious to me, I fell instantly in love. There was so. much. paper. One for every day of the year, plus all the weeks and months had two. And it was still skinnier than my passion planner. And the paper held up against ink and paint without bleeding through. Just touching it felt magical.
It was made for fountain ink.
It was actually specifically made for fountain ink. Plus it doesn’t rip, shred, or pill up easily. Markers like Tombow and fountain pens like fountain pens all have an extra sheen.
Using fountain pens is like connecting with history. Some of the most famous writers have used them, and whether it’s because you’re an artist or a writer, writing on the smooth tomoe river paper with a fountain pen, enjoying the way it glides across the page, is an experience you shouldn’t miss.
And also watercolor paint.
I saw beautiful watercolor paintings on Tomoe River Paper and, even though I hadn’t painted much, after one try it became addictive. Now I hobby watercolor just because of Tomoe River Paper. The paint has an extra brightness as if it’s backlit or has a photo filter.
It has a an intriguing history.
Tomoe is short for Tomoegawa. Only one place in the world makes this special paper, and it’s in Japan near the Tomoegawa River.
“In 1914, Tomoegawa Paper Company was founded in Shimizu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. The company was named for the Tomoegawa River that flowed near the manufacturing site. 105 years later Tomoe River, the paper originally made for catalog mailings, is one of the modern stationery aficionado’s most beloved papers.” (Galen Leather).
There is much internet lore about the “old” tomoe river paper running out in 2022. Such as that since then, they have switched machines because the old machine can no longer be repaired. The new paper is so close to the original, but many people keenly feel the loss. The difference I notice is more tooth to the new paper, not affecting the quality of all the beautiful inks and paints.
The crackly crinkle tomoe river paper makes when you turn the pages.
Printing on Tomoe River Paper requires a method from the past.
You can’t put Tomoe River Paper through a roller or printer. Individual metal plates are made for each page and apply ink to the page. This is charming, nostalgic, and makes it precious. Launching a planner or bullet journal on tomoe river paper is quite an expensive enterprise because of the startup costs. It has to be printed on something called a Heidelberg.
NightOwl Tomoe River Paper Journal Pen test:
Here is a lineup of my favorite pens and markers to use in Tomoe River Paper jouansl.
- High quality ink with Jinhao fine nib.
- Zigi metallic chisel calligraphy marker.
- Tombow marker.
- Frixion erasable.
- JEtstream UNI.
Some watercolor swatches to show sheen on the left of the purple and blending quality of blue and green. I’ve since tried other papers but always come back to tomoe paper. Since I am getting quite a collection of TRP journals, there’s going to be plenty of it around for awhile.