14 Best Japanese Pens

Japan has an age-old tradition of calligraphy, and beautiful penmanship is revered there as an art form. Japanese children learn shodo in school from an early age. The strong emphasis on creative writing leads to a culture of possessing fine writing materials. Japanese pens are popular for their thoughtful design and high quality.

Check out our list of functional and reliable Japanese pens.

Table of Contents

Best Japanese Pens

Top ProductsRatingPoint Diameter
1. Pilot Juice Up Gel Pen4.70.44mm
2. Mitsubishi Uni-ball Signo RT14.40.38mm
3. Zebra SARASA Grand4.70.7mm
4. Zebra SARASA Clip4.70.5mm
5. Muji Smooth Writing Gel Pen4.60.5mm
6. Pilot Juice Gel Pen4.60.5mm
7. Mitsubishi Uni-ball Signo4.50.38mm
8. Zebra SARASA Dry4.50.55mm

1. Mitsubishi Uni-ball Signo RT1

This pen by Mistubishi boasts quality ink, innovative design, and comfort for effortless writing. It features a firm grip down to the nib, making it ideal for those who hold pens low. The Mistubishi Uni-Ball pen is a clear winner among our top recommendations. It doesn’t have any sharp angles on the top, so there will be no unpleasant scratching or grinding. This pen iscomfortable and easy-to-use.

The ink is water-resistant and pigment-based. You can write dark, crisp, and clear letters that don’t bleed or smear. Lastly, it’s ranked first for the link’s longevity and how it glides against the paper.

2. Pilot Juice Up Gel Pen

The Pilot Gel Pen uses cutting-edge technology with a Fine Point to provide a smooth writing experience. The Juice Up comes with a remarkably thin nib that lays down a lot of ink. It comes in 0.3 mm and 0.4mm and makes writing a breeze.

Furthermore, the clip is at the top of the clicker. That means you can clip this pen to the pages of your notebook without it peeping over the top. The pigment-based ink glides smoothly on paper, making this gel pen indispensable when writing small letters.

3. Zebra SARASA Grand

Our next pick is the Zebra Sarasa Grand – a pen featuring a solid design that combines classiness and practicality. It has the strength of older models and boasts a design that you’ll be proud to take to high-profile meetings.

Moreover, the grip features a grooved texture that rests easily between your fingers. With this pen, you get a high level of quality and comfort at an affordable price.

4. Tombow Pens 

If you want a customizable pen that fits any hand, consider buying the Tombow brush pen. It has three different grip sizes, including thin, medium, and thick. You can adjust the grip to fit your preferences by rotating and re-positioning the level surface.

Moreover, you can personalize how you use this Japanese pen and guide your fingers into their natural position. You also choose between oil-based and gel ink and a 0.5 mm or 0.7 mm point.

5. Zebra SARASA Clip

The perfect blend of quality and the pocket-friendly price has earned this Japanese pen a dedicated following. It’s a goodoption if you’re looking fora standard gen pen.

The grip gives you a stronghold; the body features both 20th and 21st-century design elements. The Zebra SARAS pen sets a benchmark for gel pens! It’s also available in different thicknesses and colors, so you’re guaranteed to find something you like

6. Sakura Craypas Ballsign Knock Gel Pen

This open has a rich ink flow with a nib that scratches softly against the paper. Sakura Color Products corps is the pioneer of gel pens.Ballsign is the first pen commissioned to a foreign designer, and the resulting product was a pen that balloons near the bottom. It’s adorable, easy-to-hold, and fits your hands perfectly.

Moreover, the ink flows freely, and the nib glides firmly across the page. If you want thick lines, you can write slowly as the ink-flow is easy to control. Lastly, it comes in different colors so you can buy a collection.

7. Muji Smooth Writing Gel Pen

Writing with this gel pen by Muji is as smooth as the name promises. It’s one of the top-rated products available in the market and comes highly recommended. The ink comes out smoothly, and the nib glides easily against the paper. Another great feature of the pigment-based ink that dries quickly.

Moreover, the half-transparent tip of this pen is a known characteristic of Muji design. It’s a smartly engineered and durable pen.

8. Pilot Juice Gel Pen.

The ink flow is smooth, heavy, and consistent. It doesn’t smear or bleed. You’ll notice the colors flow out easily because the ink is pigment-based. Moreover, it holds up well to moisture. It comes in different colors and has a 0.38mm point, making it elegant and easy to use.

If you’re worried about scratching your paper, consider buying this Japanese pen.

9. Mitsubishi Uni-ball Signo

If you like scratchy pens with a short grip, this product is a great choice. It’s one of the top-sellers on Amazon. When you write, the Mistubishi pen clings to the paper.

The ink is pigment-based and water-resistant, so you can use it when addressing packages and envelopes. It also features a sleek, metallic barrel that enhances grip.

10. Zebra SARASA Dry

The Zebra Sarasa isn’t the most water-resistant pen, but it dries quick enough. The ink transfers smoothly and dries instantly on a color copy, thermal paper, and laminated labels.

Compared to the original Zebra Sarasa, this pen boasts faster-drying ink and heavier ink flow. You can achieve smooth, smear-free writing with this Sarasa gel pen. It features Zebra’s dry jell ink technology and dries 75% faster than conventional inks. It’s smear-proof and won’t smudge even if you run your hand over it.

Moreover, it’s a huge convenience for left-handed people and ideal for jotting quick notes in your pocket notebook. You don’t have to worry about the ink transferring to the next page. Besides, the pen’s retractable tip is sturdy enough to endure writing pressure. It also has a comfortable rubber grip and a break-resistant binder clip that fastens to notebooks and pockets.

11. Pentel Energel

If you want a gelpen that writes clean, crisp letters, then Pentel Energel is perfect for you. It’s one of the most popular pens for new graduates in Japan, who draft their resumes by hand. It dries out fast, and it doesn’t smear – also why this pen is well-liked among left-handed people.

It has a sleek and modern barrel design with stainless steel accents for a professional look. Moreover, it features high-performance ink technology that combines the best qualities of gel and liquid ink. Lastly, it has a latex-free grip for the ultimate writing control and comfort.

12. Mitsubishi Uni-ball Signo

If you want a pen that glides as smooth as silk, the Mistubishi Uni-ball Signo is the best choice. It uses vibrant gel ink that doesn’t skip, smear, or stutter. You can try it on different papers, including glossy sheets, and expect to write bold, easy-to-read lines.

It uses an advanced ink formula and cellulose Nanofibers that bond with paper fibers, resulting in a smooth finish. It’s also fade-proof, water-resistant, and acid-free. Moreover, it features a textured grip that provides a slip-free and enjoyable writing experience. You can tuck in the retractable nib when not in use, allowing for a quick click and write action.

13. Pilot Hi-Tec-C

The Pilot Hi-Tec C pens are highly sought-after in Japan. With its simple design and clear plastic body, this pen is deceptively ordinary. It lets the ink flow out effortlessly and smoothly, making it a cult-favorite among students and teachers alike.

The secret behind its greatness is two-fold – the tip design and the ink. The pilot uses ink made of a unique biopolymer consisting of resin made from microbes. As a result, the ink’s viscosity is enhanced, which prevents it from smearing or bleeding.

Since Hi-Tec-C’s launch in Japan, it has been a pioneer of gel pen innovation. Various iterations and have emerged, and it also won the Good Design Award in 2012. Appreciated by pen lovers everywhere, it’s only right that we add this cult classic to our list.

14. Pentel Hybrid

Pentel’s Hybrid pen is a pioneer in the industry. It was one of the first-ever gel ink pens to gain worldwide popularity. This pen uses acid-free, water-resistant ink that protects your drawings, sketches, and anime from fading over time.

Moreover, the unique carbide rollerball tip ensures a consistent line from the first to the final ink drop. It also features an archival roller system that delivers smooth, pigmented ink on paper. Besides, it’s available in multiple line sizes such as 0.3mm (ultra-fine), 0.4mm (fine), 0.5mm (medium) and 0.6mm (bold). It’s ideal for sketching, manga art, and you can choose one that suits your drawing style.

Buyer’s Guide – Choosing the right Japanese pen

Different Types of Pens

Checkout different types of pens available in-stores and online:

Ballpoint Pens

Ballpoint pens use permanent, thick, non-water based ink that won’t thin while you write. These pens have a small rotating ball made of steel, brass, or tungsten carbide to release the ink as you write. Standard ballpoint pens feature fine, medium, and bold options depending on your line’s desired thickness.

Rollerball pens

Rollerball pens use a water-based ink that takes little effort to flow, allowing smooth and clear lines. These pens have the same type of ball as ballpoint pens, but the ink is much thinner. It floods the ball and creates a “dragging pool” of ink across the paper as you write. The smaller the ballpoint size of your pen, the less ink there it’ll drag, thus making a finer line. Rollerball pen ink isn’t permanent. Like ballpoint pens, you can decide the desired thickness with rollerball pens.

Gel Pens

Gel pens utilize water-based ink with a “thickness” or viscosity that fluctuates. When you’re not using a gel pen, the ink will have a higher viscosity. When the ball begins to rotate, the ink becomes thinner and “drags” like a rollerball ink. Micro, medium, and bold are the terms used to convey the line thickness of gel pens.

Marker Pens

Marker pens come in different types of ink: pigment, oil, water, and alcohol-based. Pigment and water-based inks are perfect for traditional paper. On the other hand, oil and alcohol-based inks are suitable for non-paper media (plastic, metal, or glass). These pens have permanent markers, non-permanent markers (dry erase markers), highlighters, and porous point (or felt-tip) pens. With a wide variety of point sizes, types, and colors, marker pens are ideal for both writers and artists. If you’re looking to add a splash of color to your artwork, marker pens are the best choice for you.

Stylus Pens

Stylus pens have dual purposes and are a two-in-one tool. One part is a traditional pen you can use to write on paper, and the other part comes with a stylus. A stylus features a round rubber tip that helps you navigate touchscreen devices. Some stylus pens have a stylus at the top of the pen, and others have one at the pen tip end. Scrolling, highlighting, and selecting are all made easier with stylus pens. Lastly, they also keep your screen free of scratches and fingerprints.

InkJoy® Pens

These stylish pens are the new kids on the block. They offer incredible smoothness and precision right from the start. They use a revolutionary ink system that glides softly like a gel and dries out like a ball pen. The inks come in a wide array of vivid, bold colors. These are also available with a medium tip. You can find them in a retractable style with a translucent or white barrel or stick style with a cap.

Factors to Consider before Choosing Japanese Pens

It only takes experience to find high-quality pens among the low-quality stuff present in the market. If your head is reeling from the options and details, let us make your decision easy. We are going to save you from wasting your money on pens that won’t last an essay! Here are some of the factors that can help when you go out shopping:

Go for Fountain Pens

Let’s get one thing straight; fountain pens are the highest quality writing instrument. To ensure that you are purchasing the best pen, look for these features:

  • A metal pen with a metal or solid gold nib.
  • An internal ink supply with replaceable cartridges.
  • A refillable converter.
  • A built-in internal reservoir.

All these features in a metal fountain pen give you the edge that every writer needs.

However, metal fountain pens aren’t the only writing tools that provide writers with satisfaction. Ballpoint pens with replaceable refills and rollerball pens are an excellent choice for luxury pen lovers.

Prioritize the material used in the making

The second most crucial factor that you should look for in a pen is the material. Always check the material used to make the pen’s body, including the cap and barrel. While famous stationery brands like DeerPencil claim to use high-quality materials, it can help do your research. Experts believe the pen’s quality depends on different materials like ebonite hard rubber, precious woods, celluloid, or metals such as titanium and sterling silver.

Don’t compromise on writing quality

There’s a variety of pens that offer different experiences to the buyer when it comes to writing quality. You can write in different styles depending on the nib point used. The writing quality also depends on ink flow, writing pressure, and angle of use. If your pen is beautifully designed but offers poor quality writing, then it’s of no use. Always make sure to buy pens that offer the highest quality writing experience.

Check the Finishing

You might be thinking why this trivial detail is so necessary before purchasing a Japanese pen. Here’s why:

If a pen has remarkable finishing and texture, it becomes easier to grip and provides comfort. One such material is Urushi, a natural substance used for luxury and high-quality pen.

Price Point

Luxury Japanese pens can be pricey and a little over your budget. It’s crucial to check various factors discussed in this guide before buying one. Avoid spending your hard-earned money on cheap Japanese pens that won’t last long. On the other hand, a sophisticated, luxury pen is worth the money.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of Japanese pen writes the smoothest?

Water-based ink glides faster and soaks into the paper better than a ballpoint pen. Choose from the options shared in this guide to buy the best Japanese pen.

Which is better, rollerball or gel pen?

Rollerball ink flows out faster because it’s thinner. For this reason, it produces vivid lines because water-based ink saturates the writing paper more deeply. On the other hand, gel-based ink is water-resistant dries out like ballpoint ink.

Why do rollerball pens run out of ink so fast?

A popular complaint with pens is that they run out quickly. That’s because they put a lot of ink down on the paper, which means they won’t last as long as a ballpoint or gel pen.

Why are Japanese pens so expensive?

Japanese pens are the most expensive because they have a denser ink that gives you smooth writing. Expensive pens have more vibrant colors, and they come in bigger packs with designs that are hard to find.

Which pens can write the fastest?

Ballpoint pens are the cheapest option, and they’re also easiest to use. However, they fail in the most crucial metric: speed. Fountain and rollerball pens require downward pressure to make the ink flow; they let you write much faster.

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