Tokyo is a great place to shop for notebooks, agendas (paper diaries), paper products and fountain pens. The Japanese make the best notebooks for fountain pen writing. They make smooth paper that shows no ink bleed-through. They also make the best ink (look for Iroshizuku inks).
The selection of notebooks and agendas in Tokyo is vast and you will spend hours trawling through the aisles of Tokyo’s best bookstores (e.g. Tsutaya and Kinokuniya) or department stores like Tokyu Hands, inspecting notebooks and other paper products. I have written a short post on where to shop in Tokyo for paper products and fountain pens.
Last week, I purchased a Life Noble Notes ruled notebook (100 sheets, A5) for 945 Yen (about US$10) and a matching leather cover (2200 Yen, about US$22) from the Tsutaya bookstore in the Daikanyama district of Tokyo. Here are photos of the notebook and its cover. The leather cover has a pen holder on the right side edge and three inside slots on the left side for business cards. It also has a bookmark.
I was torn between this Life notebook and the Midori MD Notebooks, another highly regarded Japanese brand of quality notebooks. I would have purchased both if only I had more space in my suitcase! Midori is best known for the Midori Traveler’s Notebook, which seems to have a cult of worshippers worldwide.
Other excellent Japanese notebook brands are Apica, Kokuyo, and Maruman. You can purchase some of these notebooks in the US from the American branches of Kinokuniya or online from Maido and Goulet Pens.
For writing on my notebooks, I use a Namiki Falcon fountain pen with a soft fine nib. Namiki is made by Pilot in Japan. For inks, I use Sailor (another Japanese brand of fountain pens and inks) and Iroshizuku. The Goulet Pen Company carries Namiki fountain pens and Iroshizuku inks.