Itoya Romeo A5 Spiral Notebook Review

Itoya Romeo A5 Spiral Notebook

For those unfamiliar, Romeo is Itoya’s store brand and under than name they sell pens and pen related items.  The products I have seen bearing the Romeo name are all of very high quality unlike typical store brand products.

The Romeo A5 spiral notebook is designed for use with fountain pens and even has a nib and ink bottle embossed in gold leaf on the textured black cover.  The interior contains 70 sheets of cream colored paper with a grey ruling and a rather precise 102.9 g/m² weight.  This is heavy weight paper and by comparison Rhodia’s paper is only 80 g/m².

Itoya Romeo A5 Spiral Notebook

As you would imagine that paper handles fountain pen ink link a champion.  There was no bleed through in my test and only some minor feathering.  Compared to other papers/notebooks I have tested this one is one of the best in terms of ghosting; there is almost none to speak of.

Itoya Romeo A5 Spiral Notebook
The ghosting is more apparent in the picture than in person

 

The paper is smoother than Rhodia’s, so if you like a lot of feedback, steer clear.  I normally prefer a bit of feedback but it is nice to have a Rolls-Royce smooth ride every once in a while.  I like to pair this paper with my fine and extra fine nibs as it makes them feel smoother than normal.

The double spiral binding is made out of brass wire and feels quite sturdy as does the stiff 600 g/m² cover.

Itoya Romeo A5 Spiral Notebook

This is a great notebook that I have been enjoying using.  They cost only 800YEN (or about $6.5USD these days) and for that price you get a lot of notebook.  They also come in blank and grid versions and I have seen them for sale on Rakuten (no affiliation).

 

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Score from First Day in Tokyo

Itoyas famous red paper clip sign out their temporary store location.
Itoya’s famous red paper clip sign out their temporary store location.

I have been in Tokyo for a few days now and it is amazing.  This is pen lovers paradise.  There are so many pen shops, it is truly unbelievable.  The first day I stopped by Itoya’s two stores in Ginza.  One is dedicated to fountain pens and art supplies and the other is dedicated to stationery and office pens.  Both stores are 5 stories each and the selection is just incredible.

K. Itoya, the fountain pen shop.  This is the second floor dedicated to Maki-e pens and limited editions.  They had tons of Maki-e pens from Namiki, Danitrio, Nakaya, Pelikan, and even Parker.
K. Itoya, the fountain pen shop. This is the second floor dedicated to Maki-e pens and limited editions. They had tons of Maki-e pens from Namiki, Sailor, Platinum, Danitrio, Nakaya, Pelikan, and even Parker.

I was a bit overwhelmed my first day so I did not buy a ton but I did find the Midori World Meister’s note Vol. 2 that I was not able to source in the USA.

Itoya Score

 

Down the street from Itoya is Euro-Box, a tiny shop that specializes in vintage European fountain pens.  The stores owner Eizo Fujii speaks English quite well and let me dip any pen that caught my eye.  He had an amazing selection of vintage Montblancs and Pelikans.  I looked a few of the Soenneckens he had but I couldn’t stay for long because it was incredibly hot humid in the store.  I am going to try and go back before I leave Japan because he had some very nice Montblanc 146s from the 1950’s that I would like to take a closer look at.

The store is located on the 4th floor of this dilapidated building  in a posh part of town next to the high end furniture store, IDC Otsuka (if you love modern European furniture like I do, IDC is a must see;  they have a beautiful selection of de Sede, Rolf Benz, and Poltrona Frau).

[It looks much worse inside]
[It looks much worse inside than out]
I also stopped by Pilot Pen Station a few blocks from Euro-Box.  Pilot Pen Station is Pilot’s HQ in Tokyo.  It features a small fountain pen history museum and cafe.  It’s not a brilliant museum but admission is free so there is nothing I can complain about.

Pilot Pen Station

 

That’s all I have for now.  I have been to a few more shops since my first day and spent plenty of money but I am hoping to escape Japan with a few dollars left in my bank account, so far it isn’t looking good.