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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 47 | Next

  1. Incredible Value 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 27th Sep 2020

    I would be surprised to find a TRP notebook at a better value than this. 240 sheets of TRO at around $25 is unheard of. Not to mention the thin but very tough covers and excellent binding. Nanimi paper has outdone themselves! Next I am hoping to get an opportunity to try the 68gsm TRP!

  2. It might be 5 stars but I haven't used it yet 4 Star Review

    Posted by on 16th Sep 2020

    This is my second notebook I have bought from Nanami. Their quality is outstanding! I chose this because no other pattern was in stock (dying for the grid notebook) and I actually like that it's more bold than the crossfield. Sometimes I need a guide for what I'm writing and want the dots to be more pronounced. So far it looks great, it will be my Bujo for 2021.

  3. Very nice. 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 6th Sep 2020

    Bought it as a present for my notebook-addicted partner. Lovely paper, lovely binding. The microdot grids are not obtrusive, and are elegantly printed. As many have noted, the pages are quite thin, but they are amazing in terms of quality and consistency. Absolutely worth the money spent.

  4. My favorite notebook for journaling 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 3rd Sep 2020

    I love my Nanami Seven Seas dot grid notebook! I’ve used every notebook out there, and this is my favorite. I use watercolors, fountain pens and paper ephemera in my notebook, and the Tomoe River paper in this journal responds beautifully to them all. What I love most about the Seven Seas notebook is how well made it is. I’m not easy on my journals. They get stuffed with photos and washi tape and paper. I fold the binding back on itself and toss it around in my bag, and it just holds up to all my abuse. The stitching is very solid. I trust that my notebook will hold up for a very long time.

  5. Best fountain pen journaling paper, period! 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 5th Aug 2020

    Since finding tomoe river paper during my fountain pen adventures, I have not looked back. The most amazing paper to hold and show impressive inks, keeping them from bleeding through and still allowing a wet flow of ink to enhance the shading. Thank you Nanami for being dependable and fabulous!
    480 pages lasts me just over 3 months of jounaling. Satisfying.

  6. Overwhelming Dot 3 Star Review

    Posted by on 2nd Aug 2020

    It eludes me as to why this dot grid pattern was design in such a way. As much as I love Tomoe River paper my sentiments over this dot grid design is not the same. Though I have seen the images posted I wanted to see this for myself in person and took a gamble and ordered the journal. The "dot in dot" design is overwhelming and distracting to say the least. One light grey dot would have sufficed in my opinion. I understand that sometime you want to stand out from the crowd and make a product more appealing and somewhat different but in this case it wasn't the case for me. I find the craftsmanship and quality of this journal above par. Sadly this journal will be delegated over to my grandchildren to doodle and draw on.

  7. Best Dot Journal I’ve Found 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 15th Jul 2020

    The Nanami Seven Seas Micro Dot is the best dot grid journal I’ve found. I’ve tried all sorts: Moleskine, Leuchtturm, Rhodia, Mindori. The Seven Seas beats the lot. Right off the bat, its use of Tomoe River sets it apart. This is the best paper for fountain pen users. It brings out the characteristics of ink in a way that even Rhodia and Clairefontaine do not. And the thinness of the paper means you can get more than 400 pages in the same dimensions (length, width, and thickness) as other standard A5 notebooks such as the Leichtturm 1917 which only gives you 250 or so. With the Seven Seas I have enough pages that I don’t need a separate bullet journal and journal journal. There is no bleeding or feathering on the paper, unlike what I’ve experienced with Moleskine and the 1917. And the Seven Seas’s binding and cover construction allow it to lay flat with minimal effort for comfortable writing. If you don’t need the pocket or the enclosure strap of other “bullet journals”, and want the best possible paper and construction for pure writing, I don’t see how the Seven Seas can be beat. Even if those things appeal to you, I’d still suggest the Seven Seas because the writing experience is just so much better. Cheers!

  8. The absolute best Tomoe River notebook 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 21st Jun 2020

    I'll start by talking about the ruling, as that is what sets each type of Seven Seas journal apart. The microdot is an innovative ruling that solves the issue of inks pooling away from dots in a dot grid. When a dot grid is printed, the ink that makes up the dots acts as a hydrophobic spot on the paper. This lessens that effect and makes letters and words more uniform as they meet the ruling. You should definitely give it a shot.

    On the notebook itself - it's the best money can buy. Don't be fooled by and of the other 52 gsm Tomoe River notebooks, as I have tried them all. The stitched binding is the real deal. You can crease it and fold it to your heart's content along the spine, and the notebook lies flat from the very first page. The notebook is incredibly durable as a result, and with a cheap cover, it won't sustain any wear whatsoever while you fill it up. Show through/ ghosting is overstated by the people who take issue with it. Bleedthrough is nonexistent. Simply the best.

  9. Exactly what I was looking for 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 15th Jun 2020

    This note book checks all the boxes: TR paper, durable cover, and no frills. It’s functional and refined at the same time. The dot pattern is really cool, and I disagree with the assessment that they are too pronounced. It’s personal preference surely, but to me they’re just right. This is my new loyal notebook!

  10. excellent journal 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 13th Jun 2020

    I highly recommend this journal to anyone but especially to fountain pen lovers. Writing in this journal is pure pleasure. It lays flat so its very comfortable to write on each side.

Showing reviews 1-10 of 47 | Next