Best Japanese Brush Pen - Review and Buying Guide

When you’re looking for a Japanese brush pen, you are looking for something very specific. Like the name implies, it is a pen that writes like a brush. The bristles are made to imitate the strokes of a genuine Japanese calligraphy brush. And it has the added bonus of being stylish like a slim bamboo straw.

Japanese brush pens are used for every day writing but also when you want to make your handwriting look really fancy or sincere. They’re perfect for letter writing on stationery and even better for writing professional signatures. You can find extra fine brush tips, soft tips, hard tips, and wide brush tips for making lines that can go from thin or thick in one stroke.

Unlike traditional Japanese brushes used in calligraphy, typical Japanese brush pen tips are not made of real animal fur. In fact, in our search for the 10 best Japanese brush pens, we found that the best are made of nylon – the quality is in the density of the bristles.

After an exhaustive search of the best Japanese brush pens on the market, we give these 10 top billing. Whether you are looking for a snazzy desk pen to use for your office or a beautiful gift wrapped Fude pen to give out as a gift, these are the best.

Want to go back to the original style calligraphy brushes? Check out our list of the best Japanese calligraphy pens!


10 Best Japanese Brush Pens

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1. Refillable Pocket Japanese Brush Pen

So this Pocket Brush Pen from Pentel is not exactly a Japanese brush pen, but it is in the same vein and among the most popular and top rated brush pens of its kind. It is small enough to fit in a pocket or purse but what makes this one our top pick is the ink and brush tips.

First, the brushes are made to create both fine and wide lines – easier to use for painting than traditional Japanese brushes. Secondly, the ink itself is water resistant. It only takes a little bit of pressure to make bold, dark lines that will not fade. The ink cartridges are easy to replace and ensure that this pen lasts a long time.

 

2. Multi-Color Set of Japanese Brush Pens

While most Japanese brush pens are made with black ink and used for decorative writing, we included this 20 Piece Sai Watercolor Brush Pen Set from Akashiya as the second best Japanese brush pen because of the quality of the design and the versatility.

Technically you should be able to paint with a Japanese brush pen or use it to write a letter or sign your name. We love this multi-color brush pen set because you can literally draw, write, or paint in 20 different colors using pens made with perfectly designed bristles and traditionally slim pen handles.

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3. Refillable Ink Pen Style Japanese Brush Pen

If you want the type of Japanese brush pen you can carry around and use all the time, this is our top pick. It is a Fude Brush Pen made by Pentel. The tip is so fine it barely looks like a brush, but it is, which makes it perfect for everyday use. The body is designed like your typical ball point pen.

You can order these in single packs or sets of three. It even comes with a refillable pack of ink cartridges. Want to make your office sign-in sheet really hoity-toity? Put one of these pens out – but make sure you tether it to a chain or something or it will disappear!

 

4. Japanese Brush Pen for Everyday Writing

Similar to the Fude Brush Pen, Kuretake makes a Fountain Brush Pen designed like your typical fountain pen for everyday writing. If you love pens that make bold, dark lines, you’ll love this fountain pen. Made in the Fude style, it is classified as a No. 8 fountain pen which means it makes heavy lines.

You can buy these pens as a single pen or in packs of 3. There is also a refillable version available – excellent for office use.

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5. Two-Sided Fude Japanese Brush Pen

Kuretake makes another one of our top 10 Japanese brush pens, this Felt Tip Fude Brush Pen in black. What we found so unique about this one is that it is two-sided; one side is made of felt and the other is a fine tip ink pen.

These pens make great gifts. It has genuine Japanese writing in gold on it…you could blow someone’s mind with a gift like this!

 

6. Fine Tip Pocket Japanese Brush Pen

Pocket pens are short and tiny, able to slip in and out of your pocket. For convenience, we selected what we think is the best Pocket Japanese Brush Pen made by Kuretake. This pen has a fine tip but with a little pressure can make strokes up to 1.5 mm wide.

This pen is made in Japan and can be gift-wrapped for you when you order it. If you want a pocket pen that writes really well, this is the one for you.

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7. Japanese Brush Pen for Calligraphy

Unlike most of the pens on this list, this Japanese Brush Pen from JapanBargain is made for Japanese calligraphy writing. It is prefilled with black ink and designed like your standard ink pen. But the tip is a brush head that is layered to make strokes of different widths like you need for calligraphy.

If you are just learning how to do calligraphy, this is a good pen to own and practice with. Maybe this is the one you need to get your feet wet.

 

8. Japanese Brush Pen with Nylon Tip

The best Japanese brush pens have a tip that can replicate the strokes of a typical Japanese brush. We found this Sumi Japanese Brush Pen from Aitoh, made with a nylon tip that is designed to mimic the strokes of an authentic Japanese calligraphy brush.

What we love about this pen is that it is portable and refillable. This one comes with three refills so you can use it all the time. Plus it works as a typical fountain pen or you can use it for Japanese calligraphy writing.

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9. Hard and Soft Tip Japanese Brush Pens

Of course, we love the Fudenosuke Brush Pen from Tombow because of the value. You get three hard tip brush pens and three soft tip brush pens in one set. Hard tip pens are excellent for everyday writing and soft tips can be used to write artistically.

If you’re thinking about ordering a Japanese brush pen to give as a gift to someone, this pack allows you to spread the wealth. Send the soft ones to your artsy friends and the hard ones to your friends who love pens – easy!

 

10. Hard Tip Fude Japanese Brush Pen

Last on our list is this Fudenosuke Fude Brush Pen from Tombow. It’s made by Tombow so it’s high quality but it has a hard tip so it’s not as versatile as the typical Japanese brush pen. That said, the tip while it is firm can still bend a little to create different types of strokes with a little bit of pressure.

You probably won’t do a lot of painting with this pen – it doesn’t make brush strokes per se. But you can draw and do calligraphy by barely touching the paper to create very fine lines and pressing down to create medium width lines.

 
 

Best Watercolor Brush Pens

Though the typical Japanese Brush Pen is made for calligraphy writing, even back in ancient times, pigments were used to create Japanese art. We thought it would be fun to include a list of the best watercolor brush pens too! Here are our top 3:

 
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1. 20 Different Watercolor Japanese Brush Pens

Just add water – seriously. This Watercolor Soft Brush Pen Set from Linshanbang comes with 20 colored Japanese brush pens but you can add water to make watercolor paintings! That’s why we think this one is the best, it is so versatile. One, it’s made for kids and adults. Two, you can use it for coloring books, or three, create a watercolor painting. Four you can use these as markers or five, use them for calligraphy – in 20 different colors!

 

2. Metallic Ink Fude Japanese Brush Pens

The pen casing is metallic and so are the six different colors included in this Fudebiyori Metallic Brush Pen Set from Kuretake. These make a great gift for art students and crafty kids. You can even have it gift wrapped if you order online!

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3. Most Colorful Set of Japanese Brush Pens

Finally, we pick the 30 Watercolor Japanese Brush Pen from Akashiya as the most colorful brush pen set around. There are 30 traditional Japanese colors in this set, including:

Beige, Black, Brown, Burnt Umber, Cerulean Blue, Cherry Blossom, Citron Green, Cyan, Dark Green, Ecru, Evergreen, Gray, Green Blue, Indigo, Light Purple, Madder, Magenta, Moss Green, Navy Blue, Orange, Pale Coral, Pale Orange, Pink, Purple, Rose, Rose Red, Ultramarine, Vermillion, Yellow, Yellow Green, and Yellow Ochre