Notebooks are indispensable for study and work, and are used in a variety of situations. However, many stationery manufacturers sell so many kinds of notebooks. And it can be difficult to decide which one to choose. Japanese notebooks, famous for their high quality and low price, come in various sizes, binding styles, and even ruled lines. In this article, I will introduce 11 Japanese notebook brands, along with their features and recommendations.
Japanese Notebook Brands
When it comes to notebooks, KOKUYO is such a standard stationery manufacturer. It is not an exaggeration to say that it is the most famous Japanese stationery brand. In fact, It is difficult to find someone who has never used a KOKUYO notebook.
Basically, the lineup is mainly school notebooks, but the company has all kinds of stationery. So, there are a lot of things that can be used for office supplies and daily life, and many people are still using them as adults.
KOKUYO Campus Notebook
Among so many KOKUYO products, I recommend the Campus notebook series. It has a simple design in a wide variety of colors. It allows us to use multiple notebooks for different purposes.
Maruman is a stationery company with more than 100 years of history. Initially, it was selling sketchbooks. But due to the popularity of its paper quality, it also started selling other stationery products. And now sells a variety of paper products such as notebooks, binders, and files.
I especially recommend the MNEMOSYNE series, which is overwhelmingly popular as business notebooks. The grid notebooks with headings are perfect for writing meeting minutes and charts. And the pages can be detached for various uses. It is a ring notebook, so you can fold the notebook back and use it for writing in tight spaces or while standing.
Tsubame Note is a long-established notebook manufacturer that has been in business since 1947. The dignified design of the cover has remained unchanged since the company’s inception, giving it a prestigious atmosphere.
Tsubame notebooks are made of the highest quality “foolscap paper”, which is easy to write on, does not bleed through, and is not too slippery or rough. The colors are also free of fluorescent dyes, so your eyes won’t get tired.
Unlike most stationery manufacturers, this brand sells only paper products. It is a brand with a particularly strong commitment to notebooks.
All Tsubame notebooks look basically the same, but there are many different sizes and ruled lines to choose from. So, try to find the best Tsubame notebook for you.
Nakabayashi is a well-established stationery company founded in 1951. It deals in a wide range of products, including not only writing utensils, but also office supplies and smartphone & camera-related products.
Incidentally, the above video is an animated music video produced in collaboration with a singer (whose last name is also Nakabayashi). It shows the company’s corporate culture of actively adopting new things despite being a well-established brand.
Nakabayashi Logical Notebook
Logical Notebook, a unique notebook with vertical and horizontal dotted lines, is the most popular among Nakabayashi’s lineups. It is a notebook that allows you to adjust the size of the text and draw lines according to the headings and diagrams. It’s perfect for a notebook to organize something for study or other purposes.
Although MUJI has a strong image of fashion and interior goods, it actually has a wide selection of stationery. The quality of the notebooks is particularly good. And many people prefer to use MUJI notebooks rather than those from stationery manufacturers.
This notebook is thin and simple in appearance, but it shows MUJI’s characteristic of high quality at an affordable price. In Japan, it is sold under the name of “No ghosting notebook”. As the name suggests, it uses paper that prevents ink from ghosting. It is recommended for people who use fountain pens or pens with thick ink.
Nippon Note (Apica)
Nippon Note is a brand that sells Apica notebooks. Premium CD notebooks, which use their original high-quality writing paper “A.Silky 865 Premium”. It is as silky and smooth as the name suggests.
Apica Premium CD notebook
The notebook I recommend is, of course, the Premium CD notebook. It’s a unique writing experience, so please give it a try if you like smooth paper. There are two types of Premium CD notebooks: the other one is cream-colored paper, which is not A.Silky 865 Premium paper. It is also a high-quality notebook, but the texture is different.
The Premium CS notebooks with A.Silky 865 Premium paper have red, blue, and black covers. So, you can tell the difference by the color of the cover when you purchase them.
LIFE is a firm favorite among stationery lovers. It is a popular brand that once won first place in the notebook category of brand popularity poll in the female fashion website. But, of course, there are many male users as well, and I also use a black 2mm grid LIFE notebook.
LIFE noble notebook
I recommend the LIFE noble notebook, which is the most popular. The quality of the paper is really excellent, and there is almost no bleed-through and ghosting. The notebook has 100 sheets (200 pages), so it is especially good for those who like thick notebooks.
Like LIFE introduced above, Midori has many loyal customers. Midori is the stationery brand of Designphil, a design company that develops a variety of products. They also have other brands such as “Plotter”, a thin leather binder, and “TRAVELER’S COMPANY”, a traveler’s notebook.
Most of the notebooks and other products are designed with consolidated white color as a whole. This brand is ideal for people who like simple designs and want to arrange them in various ways by themselves. Incidentally, Midori also offers a service to create notebooks with original logos for companies that place large orders. What a fancy company.
Midori MD notebook
There are also notebooks that use MD cotton paper or a set of thin notebooks, but the standard Midori MD notebook is the best choice. The paper has a little rough surface. So, the notebook works well even with pencils as well as fountain pens and ballpoint pens.
Nakamura Printing is a notebook manufacturer famous for its revolutionary notebook called “Grandpa’s Notebook”.
It is a small printing house run by a grandfather. It has developed and sold a revolutionary notebook. What makes it remarkable is it can be opened completely flat. Its manufacturing method, which has been patented in the US and many EU countries, makes it possible to open the notebook perfectly horizontally.
And since there are no bumps between the left and right pages, you can write as you like, as if it were one single sheet of paper. In addition, each sheet can be easily removed, so we can use it as an A4 paper.
As I checked, Nakamura Printing’s products are not yet available on Amazon.com. However, you can find them at the online Japanese stationery stores such as Yoseka Stationery or through Amazon Global Service from Amazon Japan.
This brand name comes from the German word “Kleid,” which means “clothes” or “dress. Kleid is a stationery brand that pursues a fusion of technical functionality and fashion design. Their notebooks all use the rare 2mm grid.
In addition, this brand frequently collaborates with other companies. For example, it sells products in collaboration with LIFE and Nakamura Printing, introduced in this article.
Kleid 2mm grid A5 notebook
I recommend the thin 2mm grid A5 notebook. The quality of the paper is excellent, as it is made of the highest quality OK Fools paper. It dries very quickly, and there is no bleed-through and ghosting at all. Also, as it’s a very thin notebook with only 32 sheets, it’s not too heavy to carry around multiple copies.
Etranger di Costarica
Etranger di Costarica is a brand characterized by its vivid colors. As you can see from their official website, the concept of the brand is based on famous paintings and designs.
Etranger di Costarica Ring notebook
The Ring notebook series is one of the most popular, with its bright fluorescent colors and beautiful design on the cover. It’s a thick notebook with 100 sheets, so it is highly recommended for people who want to write a lot in one notebook.
All of the brands introduced here are very well-known and popular, and are relatively easy to find. So if you are interested in any of these brands, please try them out. Moreover, I have also introduced top Japanese pen brands below, so please also check them out.