Top 8 Japanese School Notebooks You Should Get

Are you looking for a notebook that you can use at work or school? Japanese-made notebooks are highly recommended for daily use because of their high quality and durability for the price. Here are 8 of the most popular Japanese school notebooks.

How To Choose A School Notebook

There are several points you should keep in mind when choosing a notebook made in Japan.

Semi-B5 is the most common size, not A4

In Japanese schools, most students use Semi-B5, which is slightly smaller than B5. So when you search for Japanese school notebooks, most of them will be Semi-B5-sized notebooks. However, don’t worry about this. Most popular notebooks are basically available in different sizes, such as A4 and A5, since they have a comprehensive line-up.

If you are not sure about the size of the Japanese notebook, please refer to the Japanese paper book size page.

Grid & Blank notebooks are also available

This article will focus on ruled notebooks, but most brands also offer notebooks with grid and blank pages in the same one.

Some ruled lines are a little thicker than usual

A hand with a ballpoint pen and a notebook

Most notebooks have a slightly thicker ruled line of 7-8mm to match the Japanese writing style. But, of course, most of them also have a 6mm option. So you don’t have to worry so much about that either. But, just be careful not to make a mistake and buy a size that you don’t intend to use.

Thin notebooks with 30 sheets are the mainstream

Japanese school notebooks are usually thin notebooks with 30 sheets (60 pages). This is convenient for people who use more than one notebook for different purposes. Having said that, thicker notebooks are also available. So, please check them out.

Types of binding

Glued, Sewn, and Stapled are the most common ways to bind notebooks. In this article. I will introduce either glued or sewn notebooks.

Glue notebooks have the advantage that they are easy to open horizontally. But the adhesive can sometimes deteriorate over time, making them unsuitable for repeated opening and closing. For this reason, glued notebooks are the most common type of thin notebooks.

On the other hand, thread-bound notebooks are durable but not suitable for tearing pages. Therefore, it is also important to check how the notebook is bound according to the purpose.

Japanese School Notebooks

Before talking about the details of the notebooks one by one, here is a shortlist of each notebook.

Available sizesSemi-B5 / A4A5 / Semi-B5 / A4A5 / Semi-B5 / A4A5 / B5A6 / B6 / A5 / B5A5 / B5 / A4A6 / B6 slim / A5 / A4 variantA5 / B5 / A4
No. of sheets30 sheets40 / 80 sheets30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 80 / 100 sheets30 sheets33 / 40 / 50 / 80 / 100 / 150 sheets96 sheets24 / 88 sheets100 sheets
Paper colorWhiteWhiteWhiteWhiteWhiteWhiteCreamCream
Line width6 / 7mm5mm (grid)6 / 7 / 8mm6mm6 / 7mm7 / 8mm7mm8mm
Binding typeGluedGluedSewnSewnSewnSewnSewnSewn
Cost per page$0.043$0.047$0.074$0.031$0.086$0.085$0.132$0.127

Most brands offer a wide variety of notebooks in terms of size, number of pages, and type of ruled lines. So, I will introduce the most standard ones, but if you are interested in one, please check out the other options available.

Also, the costs listed in the table are US dollar prices including tax, referring to

KOKUYO Campus notebook

One of the most famous Japanese school notebooks is KOKUYO Campus notebook. It is so well-known and popular in Japan that it is hard to find someone who has not used one. According to a survey, about two-thirds of the students at the University of Tokyo, Japan’s top university, use these Campus notebooks to study.

It’s a very simple notebook, but the covers come in five different colors. So, you can use it for different classes or projects depending on your purpose.

There are various line thicknesses to choose from 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10mm, but 6mm is the standard. The ruled lines are pre-dotted, so you can also use it almost like a grid notebook if you like.

Available sizesSemi-B5 / A4
No. of sheets30 sheets (60 pages)
Paper colorWhite
Line width6 / 7mm ruled
Binding typeGlued
Price (for B5 size)$13 (Pack of 5)
Cost per page$0.043

Kokuyo 5mm grid notebook

Here is a KOKUYO notebook for those who particularly love a grid notebook. A 5mm grid notebook that maintains the simplicity and ease of use of KOKUYO notebooks.

The original target was adult businesspeople, so the notebook’s appearance is a very calm dark navy color. I recommend this notebook not only for business use but also for people who want a stylish one.

Available sizesA5 / Semi-B5 / A4
No. of sheets40 / 80 sheets (80 / 160 pages)
Paper colorWhite
Line width5mm grid
Binding typeGlued
Price (for B5 size)$18.9 (Pack of 5)
Cost per page$0.047

Tsubame notebook

Tsubame notebooks are as famous as KOKUYO notebooks, with their distinctive cream-colored covers. It comes in various thicknesses and is recommended for people who want specific writing spaces but don’t want a too thick notebook. In addition, it is made of high-quality foolscap paper, so it is very comfortable to write on.

Available sizesA5 / Semi-B5 / A4
No. of sheets30 / 40 / 50 / 60 / 80 / 100 sheets
(60 / 80 / 100 / 120 / 160 / 200 pages)
Paper colorWhite
Line width6 / 7 / 8mm ruled
Binding typeSewn
Price (for B5 size)$11.9
Cost per page$0.074

MUJI notebook

In Japan, this notebook is sold by MUJI under the name of “notebook that doesn’t easily bleed through”. It has a simple appearance, but the binder is color-coded.

As the name suggests, the ink does not easily bleed through on this notebook, even when using a fountain pen. The number of lines is 39, which is relatively high. So it is recommended for people who want to write a lot per page. It is also much cheaper than other notebooks. So this is the perfect notebook for people who just want to write a lot and whatever they want.

Available sizesA5 / B5
No. of sheets30 sheets (60 pages)
Paper colorWhite
Line width6mm ruled
Binding typeSewn
Price (for B5 size)$9.2 (Pack of 5)
Cost per page$0.031

Apica notebook CD15

One of the features of Apica Notebook CD15 is that you can choose your favorite color from a total of 10 different colorful covers such as red, white, yellow, and green. This notebook is recommended for people who want a notebook with a color that matches their own stationery. Although it has a colorful line-up, the most popular one is with chic black.

Available sizesA6 / B6 / A5 / B5
No. of sheets33 / 40 / 50 / 80 / 100 / 150 sheets
(66 / 80 / 100 / 160 / 200 / 300 pages)
Paper colorWhite
Line width6 / 7mm ruled
Binding typeSewn
Price (for B5 size)$5.7
Cost per page$0.086

Apica Premium CD notebook

The Apica Premium CD notebook is a high-end notebook with the unparalleled paper quality. The paper used is Apica’s own proprietary paper called “A.Silky 865 Premium”. It is really smooth and silky to the touch.

This notebook can be used with any pen, including ballpoint pens and fountain pens. And it is especially good for those who prefer a smooth writing experience.

Available sizesA5 / B5 / A4
No. of sheets96 sheets (192 pages)
Paper colorWhite
Line width7 / 8mm ruled
Binding typeSewn
Price (for B5 size)$16.2
Cost per page$0.085

Midori MD notebook

Midori notebook has many fans overseas. It features a minimalist look with no unnecessary decorations with the original MD paper. The surface of the paper is somewhat rough. So it is recommended for people who want to write each letter carefully. In addition to the 7mm ruled lines option, 5mm grid and blank notebooks are also available.

Available sizesA6 / B6 slim / A5 / A4 variant
No. of sheets24 / 88 sheets (48 / 176 pages)
Paper colorCream
Line width7mm ruled
Binding typeSewn
Price (for A4 size)$19 (Pack of 3)
Cost per page$0.132

LIFE noble notebook

LIFE noble notebook is a thick notebook with 100 sheets (200 pages) regardless of the notebook’s size. It is a notebook that makes you feel good because of its stylish and dignified look. The paper is pretty thick and hardly bleeds through. So, there is no problem for daily use, and it is also very comfortable to write on.

Apart from the 8mm ruled notebooks, there are also 2mm and 5mm grid notebooks and blank ones.

Available sizesA5 / B5 / A4
No. of sheets100 sheets (200 pages)
Paper colorCream
Line width8mm ruled
Binding typeSewn
Price (for B5 size)$25.4
Cost per page$0.127


There is a wide variety of Japanese school notebooks. So you are sure to find the best notebook for you. There are also many thin notebooks available for those who want to use several notebooks for different purposes. And despite their high quality, they are inexpensive. So it’s a good idea to try them out until you find the best one for you.


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