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Seven Seas "MicroDot" A5 Grid Journal

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Max Purchase:
5 unit(s)

For the longest time, I resisted making a notebook with a dot grid. To me, dots have to be of a certain size and shade to be visible by themselves, and thus lack the precision of a grid pattern's intersecting lines. Plus, dots are solid shapes, require a lot of printing ink which repels water, and thus they easily show through dark fountain pen writing.


Then one day I was driving down the street past a Target store, and it hit me that the image of a target might have the benefits of a dot, with the precision and light weight of a grid. Thus, the idea for the "micro dot" - a tiny dot within a circle - was born, and became what you see here.


Now, to be perfectly honest, I think the micro dot idea is really good and original, but, given that I like to do things in an understated manner, our execution of that idea turned out to be a bit loud and strong for my tastes. See the pics - the pattern just jumps out at you! Part of it is because we made the circle a bit bigger than normal (0.8mm) and the print color could have been made a shade lighter. Please judge for yourself and look carefully before ordering.


Also, we all know that in thin-paper printed notebooks, the print on subsequent and preceding pages ghosts, giving the facing page a blurry effect. This is exaggerated by the dots and is shown in the pics. That can be overcome by placing a writing mat, blotter sheet (included) or just a plain 'ol sheet of paper underneath. The pattern is actually quite mild when the pages are used that way.


In any case, I do feel that once you start writing, you get used to it. My daughter feels the design is a bit too complex, but she is using it for her calligraphy, and has been ok with it so far.


So there you have it - our Micro Dot Grid. Please try it out, and let me know what you think in the reviews, or email me directly.



  • Flexible, semi-stiff coated fabric cover.
  • Smythe-sewn (thread-bound), lay-flat binding
  • White Tomoe River paper - lots and lots of it
  • No cover printing or branding except for the back end sheet
  • Comes with a kraft slip case


The pages are "thread-bound", which is a very old and still the best production method of bookbinding. Thread-bound pages are sewn (with a special sewing machine) into signatures, which are gathered to form a text-block, which is then cased into a cover. This method allows the journal to lay flat with no stress to the spine, and for that reason it is the absolute best method for binding a book (including a library book) that sees the daily rigors of opening, closing and pressing down with the hands. It can even be folded back on itself. If you were to go on an around-the-world trip over the course of many months and needed to document your experiences in great detail, this journal would certainly be up to the task.

The paper size is A5 (148x210mm or 8.3x5.8 inches), and 15mm thick. The cover is made of a coated fabric, similar to buckram, but a bit less coarse and heavy duty. The cover has also been made stiffer through the use of a core board sandwiched between the fabric and the end sheets. You can use the book as-is, or put it inside a leather, cloth, paper, vinyl, fabric, etc. outer cover.




  • The notebook will lay flatter if you bend it back on itself a bit. Go ahead and bend it backwards! It won't break.
  • If you use a fine-to-medium fountain pen, the ink will generally dry fast enough. If it doesn't, close the book on the included pink blotter sheet.
  • If you use a pencil, softer leads such as 2B and 3B work well.
  • Pencil marks erase very cleanly from this paper, and using a high quality eraser is pure pleasure. Don't be surprised if you find yourself making mistakes on purpose.
  • If you find the book a bit thick for your writing style, please read this.


Recommended accessories:



  • Size A5, 210x148mm, 15mm thick, (8.3x5.8x0.7 inches)
  • White-color (which is really an off-white) Tomoe River "Notebook" paper
  • 5mm dot grid
  • 480 pages (240 leaves), no lines, rounded corners
  • Lay-flat thread binding
  • Flexible, tough, thin water-resistant coated-fabric cover
  • Ivory-colored end sheets
  • Comes with one A5 blotter paper
  • Made in Japan


ABOUT MANUFACTURING VARIATION: We've found that Tomoe River paper, and thin paper in general, is unlike working with "regular" weight papers such as 20 lb bond, laid, wove, etc. papers (we have actually be unable to find any binders in the US that are willing to work with TR paper). Tomoe River paper is very sensitive to humidity, and when bound in a thick book by machine as ours are, some unexpected variations can occur. So far, we've experienced the following (also please see the pictures):

  1. Rippled pages
  2. A subtle "waviness" on the edge of the book block
  3. Dog-eared pages (rare)

None of these issues will affect the writing surface or quality of the writing experience, and it's not practical for us to go through each book page-by-page (these issues can be quite random). However, if for any reason you are not satisfied with the book you receive, please let us know (dave@nanamipaper.com) and we'll do our best to rectify the situation. Thank you for your understanding!

For more information and design goals, please read the Seven Seas Journal Fact Page.

If you'd like to compare this journal to the cost of other journals, please see our notebook value comparison.

Did you know that Hemingway wrote with a pencil? We like to think that, had he known about the Seven Seas Standard, he would have used a fountain pen. Here's the full story.


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Product Reviews

Showing reviews 1-10 of 27 | Next

  1. Love these notebooks, not this grid 3 Star Review

    Posted by on 27th Oct 2019

    The Nanami Seven Seas notebooks are hands-down my favorite notebooks. I'm addicted! It's almost all I ever use. Lovely Tomoe River paper, 52 gsm in great quantity, beautiful, light and sturdy A5 binding. I use the dot-grids for writing and bullet-journaling, and I loved the previous incarnations of the Crossfield.

    Why the 3 stars? I hate leaving a "meh" review for products I generally love by leaps and bounds more than other products, but... Unfortunately, this target-like grid is too pronounced. It's distracting to look at as I'm writing, and doesn't disappear into my handwriting as much as previous grids, which affects legibility as well as aesthetics. I find myself trying to split the distance between lines and cram my handwriting in tinier spaces than before, instead of writing on the bottom line. Showthrough, which I normally love for handwriting, is compounded by the added showthrough of grid misalignments and bold grid design, pushing it over the edge into being confusing. Difficult, as I like writing on both sides of the paper, and don't want to have to insert and move around other papers in between the sheets I'm using. It makes turning pages more laborious than it should be, and alters the paperfeel.

    This grid is an ok way to pass the time until the Crossfield comes back. I may switch to the blank Standard while I wait, even though it's easier using paper with guides printed on it. Less of a dealbreaker, but I'm not fond of the target bullseye logo on the front cover, either -- placement, size and design reminiscent of Target and targets in general all bother me there. That can be hidden, though, so it's okay. I also miss the burgundy covers, though the blue-black is growing on me -- just a personal preference, and not something that affects usability.

    Looking forward to the Crossfield returning in future, hopefully!

  2. beautiful 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 16th Oct 2019

    This notebook is awesome. The paper is thin like all tomoe River paper but has minimal ghosting. And of course, it’s a dream to write on.

  3. spectacular 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 15th Oct 2019

    Most beautiful notebook I’ve ever seen. Flat, crisp, thick and juicy. This sucker opens up and lies flat as a board!!! It holds my well-used and lived TN open as well. Fountain pen? No problem!
    Nanami, will you marry me?

  4. Fantastic quality, great paper and beautifully bound! 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 26th Sep 2019

    I’ve been using an A6 Cafe note as a personal journal for some time now, but needed something bigger for work. Enter the A5 grid notebook. Loads of pages, fabulous tomoe river paper and really well made. I don’t see any other reason to use any other notebook having had these in my life.

  5. Better than the best 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 23rd Sep 2019

    I loved the Crossfield and ordered this one and didn't expect to like it as much but I LOVE IT!!! Same paper, spacing. Love thevblue cover and the microdots. Just trust it and try it. If you don't like it, I'll buy yours.

  6. Lovely paper, great for fountain pens! 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 15th Sep 2019

    Bought this journal to use specifically just for my fountain pens. To have a place that could handle the ink and my thoughts. This had been perfect for that with the most pages in a journal I have ever found. Nanami paper took great care in safe and speedy shipping. Thank you so much; I am happy!

  7. A pleasure to write in. 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 15th Aug 2019

    I received this notebook with much anticipation, having read many accolades from various people on various sites touting the incredible quality of the paper and the general aesthetic of it. I have to say these accolades are completely deserved and will not reiterate them all here. I will add that a cover for it of some type is something that my brain wanted to add because any kind of possible damaging contact was quite unthinkable, so consider that when purchasing your own.

  8. i wish i had known about this sooner 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 11th Jul 2019

    Okay, so I don’t usually do reviews. Mainly because I don’t care enough to do them. But, I absolutely have to for the microdot. I've only inked 10 pages so far but I don't see a need for any other journal. Absolutely love the design, and as a comic book nerd it reminds me of Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen and the design of the cover and pages is exquisite. It's a minimalist design and I know it's been talked about, someone said that the dots are "distracting" and honestly I don't feel that way at all, in fact. I find it quite pleasing to the eye.

    I am brand new to journaling, but I knew what I was looking for. A5 size, good quality paper, fountain pen friendly, and big (page number wise) and this checks all the boxes. I don't want to buy a new journal every 3 months. I want something in it for the long haul.

    I started journaling because it hit me the other day that "I am going to die someday and it could be tomorrow" and that I wouldn't be leaving something of "me" to my children. They're young (4 and 1) and if I died within the next couple of years they wouldn't remember me much. I want them to have something of my personality, my thoughts, my feelings, my love for them.

    I want to thank the team for putting this beautiful book together and thanking them for allowing me to give something back to the people I love so much

  9. Stopped using my previous notebook early 4 Star Review

    Posted by on 26th Jun 2019

    The writing experience is sublime, as all Tomoe River paper is, and the design of the dots are more subtle than other competing products, while still serving as excellent guides for sketching or bullet journalling. It delivers exactly what the description promises.

    It's almost perfect. The minor manufacturing variations are okay - very subtle misalignment of signatures and some pages sticking together on the edges and corners - but I'm a bit bothered by the mis-alignment of the printed dots on the two sides of each sheet of paper. On paper this thin, it's quite noticeable even if it doesn't necessarily detract from the experience.

    That being said, none of these flaws should keep anyone from buying what's probably the best dot grid (or other) notebook out there!

  10. I'm in love! 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 7th Jun 2019

    I'm in love with these notebooks, and eagerly look forward to writing in them each day. Since I use fountain pens as my primary writing tool, I find myself swooning over how my pens and inks look and feel against this paper. The book covers are a simple and elegant design to offset the quality of the notebook. I'm a new customer who was recommended to visit this site by many online reviewers. There won't be too many stores other than Nanami which I'll go to for my writing needs.

Showing reviews 1-10 of 27 | Next