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5 unit(s)

Introducing the new "Zen" paper. Great for ballpoint pens, gel pens, various other kinds of pens, pencils....but for fountain pens, not so much. Too much bleed-through! So, if you want a high-quality, high page count notebook, and don't intend to use fountain pens, this may be the book for you!

To be honest, I really had high hopes for this paper as a Tomoe River 52gsm replacement. But, it was not meant to be, and the search goes on. And, who knows, maybe in the future, this paper can be reformulated with a thicker sizing (coating) so that it is more bullet proof.

I thought about not selling this at all, but it would be a shame to make it unavailable, because in every other respect, it is still an excellent notebook - our partner in Japan really has the craft down, and everything about it is just so...beautiful. But - I also don't think I can justify the same price as Tomoe River, so for now, we are lowing the price.


Finally...please note: the slip case says "3.5mm grid", but it is really a 3.7mm grid, as stated on this product page.


The Zen paper is very similar to 52 gsm Tomoe River paper; slightly thicker than the "old" Tomoe River, perhaps about the same as the "New" Tomoe River. The writing experience lies somewhere in between the old and new TR, but it's so subtle that I am not really sure. It IS somewhat toothier than the old TR, which some people will like, others may not.

Finally, because of the slightly thicker paper, the page count has been reduced from 480 to 432...it makes a difference of about 1mm.


PLEASE NOTE: All reviews dated before 6/16/2021 are for the prior version which used the OLD TR paper!


If you'd like to try our new ZEN paper, please ask for a free sample by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:


Nanami Paper
Att: Samples by Mail
P.O. Box 17422
Irvine, California 92623-7422


I'm confident that you will like this this paper as long as you don't expect it to be fountain-pen-bullet-proof like Tomoe River, but I always encourage "trust but verify", so please don't hesitate to ask for a sample.




  • Size A5, 210x148mm, 8.3x5.8 inches
  • White-color ZEN "Notebook" paper,  52gsm
  • 432 pages (216 leaves) with rounded corners and 3.7mm grid
  • 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 thin paper 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 52gsm). Thin 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)


Except for a torn page, none of these issues 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 table.

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



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Product Reviews

Showing reviews 1-10 of 67 | Next

  1. Great journal but proceed with caution 4 Star Review

    Posted by on 2nd Jul 2021

    I'm not sure anything will ever meet the expectations that the older TRP paper left behind. When I noticed that the studio note was back on stock, I immediately bought a few without noticing the use of ZEN paper (I was too excited). That said, I'm honestly satisfied with this paper, but this comes with a couple reasons.

    I have no experience with the previous version of this journal. My main journal has been the Writer, but even if the paper wasn't the same, I trusted Nanami Paper to use a similarly performing paper (and they did).

    I primarily write in these journals with fountain pens. More specifically, I only use EF pilot pens. It's for this reason that I'm satisfied with this version of the Studio Note. The fine line my preferred nibs lay down don't have noticeable feathering and bleed through. I'm sure that will not be the case if I use one of my larger flex FPR pens, but that's not a deterrent for me.

    If you use EF Japanese nibs, I think this journal is still great. But as you can see from the images above, anything much larger will cause issues. If there are paper samples available, I highly recommend testing them out first before committing to a purchase. As for myself, I will not request a refund for the journals I purchased.

  2. Like the hobonichi graph notebook but nice addition of a border and many more pages! 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 29th Jun 2021

    I just use fine fountain pen nibs, so this is perfect! Super smooth paper. But yes too much ink piled on these will cause bleeding. So some people may not like it for that reason. I don’t use thick pens though so it’s a non-issue for me. (: But perfect for my thin pens and of coarse all varieties of ballpoints and pencils! Feels like old TR. super thin paper with lovely faint grid print. Love it! Nanami always delivers great quality and notebook build. I would love to see them on Amazon at some point so I can use up my gift cards and stock up on them haha

  3. Great quality notebook 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 28th Jun 2021

    I've been waiting several months for the next iteration of the Studio Note A5 and I think this notebook is great. The construction quality is top-notch like the other notebooks from nanami. I like this notebook better than many other brands for the large number of pages you get and the plain 3.5 mm grid with empty gutters. No other notebook has this combination.

    Compared to TR paper, the Zen paper feels a little crisper when flipping a sheet back and forth. It also has a bit more tooth in comparison, especially when using a pencil. With ink, I still get the same amount of shading I get on TR paper. In my hands, I do not experience any feathering or bleedthrough with normal writing. I do get a little bleedthrough when putting down multiple layers of ink (3+) without waiting for the ink to dry. I also get a similar amount of bleedthrough on TR paper when doing the same. However, I primarily use pigmented Indian inks in 0.5 mm or finer pens. In my hands, Indian inks don't feather much, but can have a moderate amount of bleedthrough if used in wet pens or multiple layers. I think with a VERY wet ink and a generously wet pen with a broad nib, you may get a minor amount of bleedthrough with normal writing.

    Overall, I think these notebooks are an excellent new product for my use case. I use these for journaling, scheduling, and general writing. Very little drawing/art so no areas of pooled ink to bleed. My pen and ink choice also work very well with this paper. I'll definitely purchase more in the future when I use up my current Studion Note A5. I hope that Nanami will be able to keep these in stock for a long while to come!

  4. I was thrilled at first... 3 Star Review

    Posted by on 26th Jun 2021

    I was hesitant when the ZEN paper used in this new Studio Note was billed as a viable alternative to Tomoe River Paper, which I love writing on with fountain pens. I've tried several other papers that are being compared with TRP as of late, and I haven't found one yet that I'd be happy to switch to. Still, I trust Nanami Paper very much and know they prioritize the quality of their products, so I wanted to try this notebook out.

    I opened it up, and first I was surprised by a noticeable smell. If you experience this as well, don't worry, I've only had the notebook for a few days and it has almost entirely dissipated. Despite the scent, I was excited to quickly get in and test the paper.

    I was happy to see the thinness of it, and the beautiful printed 3.5mm grid Nanami uses. The paper color is very similar to white TRP, perhaps a tad more ivory, which is fine by me, because I prefer the cream. I went ahead and tested out all six of the fountain pens I currently have inked up. The ZEN paper does feel fantastic to write on, and I was immediately thinking, "This is it, we've finally got a new TRP!" My pens ranged from a Sailor 21k Medium Fine nib to a Pilot Custom 74 14k M and a steel Goulet 1.1 stub, with a couple others in between.

    It was a joy to write with almost all of them, and I was thrilled...until I flipped the page over. Every single pen had bled through. And I don't mean ghosting, which I like the effect of; I mean actual bleed-through. Some, like the Sailor MF, only bled a little and only in a couple places. The medium and stub nibs bled much more frequently, however, to the point that I don't think I could write a whole page with them and then still enjoy writing on the backside.

    I still intend to use this notebook, because I bought it and, aside from the bleed-through, it really is a well-made product. It's unfortunate though that I'll probably try to use only dry-writing and finer nibs on this paper, because it does show really lovely shading qualities in ink.

    So while I believe this issue can be worked around, that isn't something I usually expect to have to do with Nanami's products, and I think it should be taken into account if you're thinking of purchasing this notebook. If the bleeding issue with the paper can be resolved somehow, I'd happily buy several more of these notebooks. They are five stars in every other way.

  5. A Fantastic Notebook with a Painful Achilles Heel 2 Star Review

    Posted by on 26th Jun 2021

    This notebook is really, in many ways, wonderful. The overall quality is something to brag about. From the beautiful deep burgundy cover to the durable thread binding, it's hard to find fault with it.

    The new ZEN paper also delivers in many ways. The thinness TR taught us to love, a nice barely toothy feel to your writing but still with just enough 'smooth', it's a very satisfying paper to use. And the grid! 3.5mm grid went from something I had no interest in, to something I reluctantly tried, and is now one of my favorite layouts to use.

    But it's not all sunshine. The ZEN paper has let me down in one fairly major way. Unlike TR, it isn't truly fountain pen friendly. TR paper never suffered from feathering or bleeding in my use of it. While ZEN doesn't feather, it has shown moderate to severe bleeding with the vast majority of pens and inks I've tested on it. This alone has basically made the paper not viable for me, as I prefer to do most of my hand writing with a fountain pen. Even a Pilot Cust. 823 with a Medium nib and Pilot Iroshizuku ink, a usually well behaved pairing for me, bled through enough that the back of the page became unusable. I will use the notebook up as a 216 page book, only using one side of each sheet, but I won't be buying any more ZEN paper notebooks until this issue is addressed.

    Once the paper is truly fountain pen friendly, I'll gladly buy a half dozen more of these notebooks! It truly is otherwise a pleasure to write on. There aren't a lot of 52gsm papers out there that let us have high page count, low thickness notebooks. This paper could be great, but the bleeding issue needs to be remedied first, and once it is, I would be happy to see ZEN take over in the other Nanami notebooks as TR becomes unavailable.

  6. Great Notebook with a Caveat 4 Star Review

    Posted by on 25th Jun 2021

    I have mixed feelings about this notebook, because this is the new version with Zen paper, rather than the famous Tomoe River 52 gsm paper that Seven Seas was previously known for.

    So first, the good. This paper is still nice and thin. It feels very nice and smooth to touch and write on. It is a bit more buttery feeling than TR paper, so it actually feels a bit nicer to write on, if that makes sense. The paper still shows a good deal of ink sheen if you use fountain pens. It is also slightly more absorbent, which means that you can use ballpoint and gel pens on this without smearing issues, like you would get on TR paper. The grid is subtle enough to not be obtrusive while still being visible enough to be useful.

    On the bad side, this paper is not the equal of Tomoe River. It feels nicer to write on, but it also bleeds through to the other side of the page, which is something that TR paper never does unless you douse the page with ink. That probably isn't a deal breaker, since a lot of people don't use both sides of TR paper anyway due to the ghosting inherent to such thin pages. But the real issue here is that this paper feathers. I tried some of my favorite wet-writing pens on this notebook and immediately noticed feathering issues where the ink would just blow out and cause blotchy letters.

    So you cannot use super wet writing pens or super wet ink on this notebook.

    However, I don't think that will be an issue for most people. This is a graph notebook with a very small graph ruling. You probably won't be using gusher pens on this thing anyway. As long as you stick to pens that don't flood the page with liquid ink you will be just fine.

    But this does make me worry that Zen paper will be more problematic for the other Seven Seas notebooks once they start to come out.

    Still, at least in this application, this a great notebook with great paper where the only problem is that you may need to avoid using both sides of each page.

  7. still waiting for the best all around notebook in the solar system 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 24th Apr 2021

    Easily 50 stars out of 5!! I purchased one almost two years ago and have been eagerly waiting for them to be restocked for a year now. It’s just such a perfectly produced notebook—the Tomoe paper, the perfect shade of grey 3.7mm grid, the lay flat spine and cloth soft cover. I’ve been checking nearly everyday to see if they’re available and have become accustomed to being disappointed.
    Dave!! Are you listening? Please restock this exquisite notebook! April is here and you said they’d likely be here by now. If anything, please provide us a release date and offer pre-orders. I’m not alone in wanting this notebook. You could be selling so many more of these. I’m on me knees begging you to come through for us, your loyal fans. Just tell us what you need to make it happen—Sasquatch’s pelt, the Golden Fleece, my left pinky toe? I could get you a toe by this afternoon... with nail polish.


    Posted by on 9th Feb 2021

    I would give this notebook one million out of 5 stars if I could. I ordered this notebook a few years back and have completely used up every single page. This notebook is such a joy to write in, the paper is gorgeous, the binding can take a serious beating without falling apart, the page number is so generous, the grid size is PERFECT!!! I have lost sleep over not being able to find a replacement notebook. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE BRING THIS NOTEBOOK BACK. I am a paper enthusiast and have been my whole life. I NEED THIS BOOK IN MY LIFE. Anyways I really hope this review will encourage Nanami paper to make this notebook again without any revisions, it is ABSOLUTE PERFECTION. I have been checking the Nanami paper website every week for many months to see if it is restocked and my heart breaks every time I check.

    Note from Dave:

    Yes, we are bringing back this notebook and hope to have it in stock around April 2021. It will not have Tomoe River paper, but rather something just as good (we have finally found it). This new paper is made in Japan, and like Tomoe River, it is 52 gsm, but a few microns thicker. Because of the greater thickness, the notebook will 3 fewer signatures and will have 432 pages instead of 480.

  9. availability 4 Star Review

    Posted by on 3rd Jan 2021

    Great product! But been checking for more than a year for the availability. Hope the seller can at least give us information if this is still coming back. It’s like they never cared for people keep asking and waiting. I message them before and never get any response.

  10. will this note book be available? 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 5th Dec 2020

    I bought the b6 slim note book twice the past 5 months.. I was looking around the website to see if they have bigger options.., the quality of note books offered on this website is amazing, the shipping is fast and well packaged.. they come with their own charm... this seller is a hidden gem in stationary world.. I am glad I found it... I will be checking until next year to see if this edition A5 will be available so I could purchase 2 of them.

Showing reviews 1-10 of 67 | Next