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The Paper Plane - Taccia Ukiyo-E Prime A5 Notebook

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The Paper Plane - TACCIA Ukiyo-e Prime A5 notebook


I've been enjoying this little corner of the web for some time now, mainly focusing on inks and pens. But these are more or less useless without the humble paper or notebook that will let you capture your thoughts. So here comes the "Paper Plane", where I review some of the paper and notebooks that I've enjoyed using over the years. Today's guest is the TACCIA Ukiyo-e Prime A5 notebook, a small and elegant notebook with some very fine paper.

This TACCIA notebook is a rebranded form of the Nakabayashi Prime A5 notebook. In fact, all of the TACCIA Ukiyo-e inks & corresponding paper happen to be rebranded Nakabayashi products. The latter company was founded in 1923 with a focus on library book binding and restoration of old documents. Later, Nakabayashi added stationery products like address books, notebooks and office products to their portfolio.


For each of the 16 TACCIA Ukiyo-e inks, there is a corresponding A5 notebook, featuring the same Ukiyo-e painting on its cover. For this review, I describe the Sharaku Prime A5 notebook, which has a picture of the actor Otani Oniji III as Yakko Edobe on its cover. Yakko Edobe is a villainous rogue who plots to steal money from the servant Ippei. Otani Oniji's leering face, shown in three quarter view, bristling hair, and groping outstretched hands capture the ruthless nature of this wicked henchman. Aside from the difference in covers, all notebooks of the Ukiyo-e series have the same technical characteristics. The notebook itself is only one part of a stationery set, which also includes the corresponding ink, letter envelopes and paper, greeting cards, ...


But let us focus on the notebook, which is the centerpiece of this review. I got mine as a gift from Sakura Fountain Pen Gallery and was told that it was worth checking out - thank you Catherine. This is an A5 size notebook (148x210 mm), containing 48 pages of ruled paper. These are minimalistic, but perfectly constructed notebooks; the beautiful covers form the only ornamentation.


Inside there are no distractions - only light-grey ruled lines on the paper (with an 8 mm spacing). The first and last rule on each page are a tiny bit darker, framing the page and adding to its elegance. The notebook lays very flat when opened. This is due to the way it is stitched together. Each notebook consists of a number of 6 page bundles, with every bundle (or signature as it is called in bookbinding parlance) built from 3 A4 pages, that are folded over and stitched together to form a small booklet of 6 A5 pages. Stitch together 8 of these signatures, and you get a very flat-laying 48 page notebook.


This A5 notebook uses 75 gsm Nakabayashi paper that is very fountain pen friendly. The paper is smooth but still has a tiny bit of tooth to it. This makes it a joy to write on. It has an off-white colour, but it's still close to white, certainly not yellowish. Inks look fantastic on this paper, and even with wet pens and broad nibs there is zero feathering. Looking at the backside, there is almost no see-through, and zero bleed-through - even when doing ink swabs on the paper. You can easily use both sides of the page in this notebook. This is really top-notch paper! Excellent!




If you like small and elegant notebooks, the TACCIA Ukiyo-e series of A5 notebooks is worthy of your attention. Great fountain pen friendly paper that is pure pleasure to write on. I can see myself using these little notebooks for theme-specific purposes - e.g. as an ink journal, reading journal, ... Beautiful pieces of stationery! I'm glad I discovered them.

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I love all Nakabayashi paper, though I haven't tried the "Air" version, which I suspect is not fountain pen-friendly. I get loose leaf Nakabayashi Logical "Swing" B5 sheets that are I think 75g/m2. And I have some Logical "Prime" notebooks which have coated paper. I prefer the uncoated (or much less coated) Logical Swing sheets and would love them in A5 size so much. But the loose leaf sheets only come in B5. It's my second favorite paper after Tomoe River (52g).

Edited by Intensity

“I admit it, I'm surprised that fountain pens are a hobby. ... it's a bit like stumbling into a fork convention - when you've used a fork all your life.” 

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