Ten Best Japanese Fountain Pens
Having the right pen can make all the difference when it comes to making an impression. You don’t even need to be in your private office on the top floor to know how good it feels to hold a nice, sturdy pen in your hand.
The right one almost feels as though it was made for you. Like a nice watch, it can make all the difference in how clients and colleagues see you. Looking professional means taking care of every last detail-the big stuff, like how you are dressed, for example, and the little things, too-like your tie pin, cufflinks and the pen you hold while helping customers.
You don’t even need to be a three-piece-suit wearing business world denizen to appreciate a nice pen. Small business owners will make a huge impression when they wield the right writing utensil.
Even if you own an auto body shop and your hands are covered in grease, you can still demonstrate you have excellent taste and know what good quality is. Students will speak volumes when they pull out their professional-grade fountain pen for signing syllabi or getting homework done. Creativity seems to flow easier when you have the right pen.
Plus, like wearing a nice outfit, you will feel confident and dapper writing with an extraordinary pen. And since they come in a variety of colors and styles, you can be as playful or as demure as you desire.
Come take a look at the ten best ones-and get ready for the “write” of a lifetime.
Want the more modern take on Japanese calligraphy? Check out our post on the best Japanese Brush Pens!
Want something that isn’t permanent? check out these fabulous Japanese mechanical pencils!
Want to go back to the original style calligraphy brushes? Check out our list of the best Japanese calligraphy pens!
1. Pilot Kakuno Medium Nib Fountain Pen
Here is a beautiful, well-writing pen that comes at a price we all can afford-only $13. It makes a great fountain pen for those of us who are on our first fountain pen and trying to get a sense of what we like and do not like in a pen.
They start each and every time that they are tried. They are very smooth in the way that they write and stand up too many of the high-end brands. The medium nib is much smoother than the fine nib, and is a lightweight, easy to carry pen perfect for backpack, briefcase or purse.
If you do own a few high-end fountain pens, you might consider purchasing a few of these so you can have the same quality without the fear of losing one of your treasured ones out in public (though you will really come to love this one).
2. Xezo Maestro Natural Sea Shell Medium Nib Fountain Pen
Here is a pen that is expensive, but for those with a taste as unique as the stars in the sky…or the shells on the beach. Here is a pen that is based upon the Maestro Mother of Pearl pen series, which quickly sold out.
You get a slim barrel, and a sea shell mosaic right on the body of the pen. They are produced in a limited number, so do get yours if you can soon-they are individually numbered.
Fittings are plated in platinum, and no two pens are exactly alike. There will be a slight weight difference in the each of the sea shell, panels-so each pen will weigh slightly different than others.
You will enjoy the springy nib, and the smooth and careful manner in which it writes. It comes at a premium, but the quality speaks for itself. It is truly an heirloom piece, as impactful and unique as the person who carries it.
3. Muji Aluminum Body Fountain Pen-Fine Nib
Here is another great pen that is perfect for the starter and the veteran alike. If you are an avid pen collector and enthusiast, do not sleep on this one. If you are a novice, pay attention-you might just get into something good.
The pen is smooth and clean in its design, with smooth lines and a sleek look. The silver lends a businesslike, no nonsense touch to the pen. The flange slides into a thin, circular gap around the nib, and regardless of the pen being capped or uncapped, the diameter is constant.
You will take pleasure in the smooth and precise nature of the nib. It flows oh so well and performs like a dream at a bargain price.
4. Pilot Kakuno Fine Nib Fountain Pen-White Body, Soft Blue Cap
This is a top choice by Amazon when it comes to fountain pens, and for good reason-the price is right and the performance is there.
Perfect for beginners to the world of fountain pens, the pen is easy to hold and comfortable for penning thoughts, stories or business plans. The pen is feather-light, rivaling the feel of its ballpoint brethren, but much more fun to hold and use.
The nib offers a superb ink flow, and users report that they can press the nib for a few seconds without fear of there being an ink stain. There is a nice triangular shape on the grip so that you always hold your pen properly.
An additional ink cartridge is included. You may want to opt for thicker paper due to ink bleed and look closely at the nib-there is a smiley face on it.
5. Pilot Prera Iro-Ai Fine-Nib Transparent Light Blue Body Fountain Pen
Left-handers, rejoice! We have found the perfect pen for you. It is a lightweight and easy to hold pen that comes in many colors. The point is superfine and will make precision a breeze.
It will lay down the finest line you ever did see from a pen, and at a medium price point that many can afford. A variety of inks will flow freely from this pen-you can try Ottoman Azure, Noodler’s Bulletproof Black, or even Namiki blue and you won’t be disappointed.
The pen is short-but don’t let it distract you from the comfort it will bring. Great for office and school use, especially if you love fine lines. You might want to get a converter kit for easier use.
6. Platinum Fountain Pen-Preppy-Extra Fine Nib-Black
If you love fine lines, then try this pen and its extra fine lines. Made of sturdy stainless steel, this pen doesn’t mess around when you need to get work done. Despite it being made of this heavy metal, you will enjoy the light feel in your hand, especially if you tend to write small.
The pen does a wonderful job of writing, but it will take you a little time to break it in. Be sure to give it some time-you may notice some scratching and skipping at first-but once the initial writings are completed you will notice a fine flow from this solidly constructed writing utensil. You may even consider polishing the nib prior to the first use.
Thanks to the fine nib, you will enjoy a lesser ink usage, which means less to buy. This is great for those who desire good quality at a price that won’t break the bank-and won’t require refills too often.
7. Sailor Pen-Professional Gear Imperial Black
If you need to make a big impression, consider this pen. The price point is one that is only available to the very discerning, and rightly so-the pen comes directly from Japan. You will get your pen in a box with a certificate and two ink refill cartridges, as well as instructions-bear in mind that they are all in Japanese.
An ink converter is not included, so you may wish to pick one up.
The nib is a fine Japanese variety, much finer than some of the Western brands you might be used to. If you are a beginner, you may wish to start with a less fine nib.
Sailors are known for being consistent in comparison to other brands, and this pen will arrive perfectly aligned and ready for writing. You will not experience any hard starts or skipping.
One final note: the pen is rather short. So, if you have larger hands, this may not be the most comfortable pen for you.
8. Sailor 1911 Standard Black GT 14k Gold Medium Point Fountain Pen
In keeping with the Sailor tradition, we would like to show you a well-made fountain pen with a medium nib that is perfect for everyday use. It perfectly captures the spirit of a fountain pen-when you think of one this is what you think of.
You get a perfectly round body, 14k gold finishings, and a nib that stands out in a unique way in that it is flexible.
You will like how smoothly the pen writes, and the cleanliness of the flow. You will find that taking notes and performing other writing activities-like journaling-are completed with greater ease and speed with how smoothly the ink flows. It is a lightweight pen easy to hold for advanced and new writers alike.
9. Travelers Company Brass Fountain Pen
This pen combines a unique design with superb writing mechanics. This is a rare gem at an affordable price which combines a beautiful aesthetic with good writing capability. It is compact and looks very stylish tucked into your breast pocket or pulled out of a planner for quick note-taking.
Your pen will gain a patina over time that will give it a charm and character indicative of your use-do not be alarmed when this appears. You might consider some polish to keep it in tip top shape.
Short internationals are the key cartridges to making sure this pen stays writing the way you want it to. You may want to carry some with you to ensure you’ve always got the smooth, skip-free experience this pen will bring.
10. Pilot Metropolitan Collection Fountain Pen-Black Barrel, Classic Design
We close our list with the premier fountain pen that beginners and even veterans alike will enjoy. It is a no-nonsense pen at a great value. It works every time it is tried. And it comes from one of the top names in Japanese fountain pens.
You can buy this pen alone, or even go to the next level and get it as a bundle with a refill. This is great if you have a student just beginning their college journey, or a young professional establishing themselves at the office.
You are going to have a great time writing with this pen-it just hits the paper smoothly like butter on a hot roll. The ink dries quickly and will not smudge. The body shape and weight make it a great choice for all users of all writing styles.
Choose a tip that is round or shaped. The round tips create the same line width in any direction, similar to a ballpoint pen. Meanwhile, nibs that are shaped have different line widths dependent upon the direction of their stroke. Newcomers should choose a nib with a round tip. Japanese fountain pens, in particular, write about one size finer than pens that are not Japanese.
Body Shape and Weight
This will not affect how your pen writes. But, you must choose a design that fits your hand and feels good to hold. Choose a pen that matches your hand size. To do otherwise would mean cramping and fatigue while writing. Weight also matters for your comfort. Some like a heavy instrument to hold. Others prefer a lightweight pen that flies across the page.
All fountain pens use ink. However, not all ink is refilled in the same way. A cartridge is a simple, easy way to refill your pen, but the ink choices are limited in color. You can buy standardized cartridges, or you can buy ones that are designed for your pen only. You might also consider a converter, which allows you to fill the ink from the bottle and use a variety of colors. Converters hold only about half the ink of cartridges.
If you choose a pen with a built-in filling system, like a piston or vacuum, you can simply put the pen in the jar of ink and fill it, up-but no cartridges can be used in these pens. You will need to carry an ink bottle wherever you go to ensure you don’t run out.