The Best Japanese Fountain Pen Ink On The Market!

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With the popularity of Japanese fountain pen brands such as Sailor and Pilot growing exponentially in both Europe and North America, we have seen their market shares steadily grow as their reputation continues to grow due to the excellent quality of their products. Due to people starting to realise that they offer outstanding products, often for a lower price point than their European or North American competition, more and more people have been looking at what else these Japense fountain pen brands have to offer them.

As you may expect due to the popularity of the Japanese fountain pen models, it’s not surprising that more and more people are looking towards Japanese fountain pen inks. Our regular readers will probably know that we are huge fans of the Pelikan Edelstein ink that has been one of the dominant ink choices for years. That said though, the Pilot Iroshizuku ink is a definite competitor to it and in some cases, it is actually better and fountain pen users are starting to realize.

Due to this, the western fountain pen brands are also starting to lose market share to Japanese ink as sales of the Iroshizuku ink formula are starting to surge. If the sales spike of the actual fountain pens from Japanese brands is anything to go by, we only expect the sales of the Pilot Iroshizuku ink to continue to grow as we feel that it is the best fountain pen ink formula currently available on the market right now.

The Best Japanese Fountain Pen Ink!

As Pilot have been making both fountain pens and ink for over one hundred years, they have managed to pick up a thing or two along the way while also implementing the highest possible production standards that Japanese brands are known for. This has resulted in an excellent ink formula that is easily one of the top three in the world but in our opinion, they are top two with the Pelikan Edelstein ink and the Japanese Pilot Iroshizuku ink often swapping between first and second place depending on exactly what you want.

Although the Iroshizuku ink offers excellent performance, it flows through the vast majority of fountain pen ink paths without issue no matter the brand of your fountain pen while offering you a very smooth writing experience with minimal scratch. Even with high price point fountain pens, their extra-fine and fine nib sizes can often feel a little scratchy, especially on thinner paper but the Iroshizuku ink can help to smooth this out too just like the Edelstein ink.

The Color Range Of Iroshizuku Fountain Pen Ink!

This is one of the main areas where the Japanese Iroshizuku ink actually overtakes the German Edelstein ink due to it being available in 43 different colors at the time of writing where as the Edelstein ink ink is only available in seven. In our opinion, this is one of the main reasons hat the Iroshizuku ink is going from strength to strength with each month due to you being able to find pretty much any color or shade that you need.

The inks color range offers you both intense and subtle colors that also tends to be rare as most fountain pen ink brands tend to only focus on intense bright colors or subtle more pastel colors rather than adding both in their range. Although most people don’t tend to have brand loyalty in the fountain pen space, some people do like uniformity amongst their collection and you should easily be able to fine all the colors you need with the Iroshizuku ink range.

The Iroshizuku ink is very easy to clean out of your piston filler or cartridge converter when needed too with regular water often being able to get the job done provided that you haven’t had a built-up of dried ink. This allows you to quickly and easily switch between the vast color range that this excellent Japanese ink offers when needed without having to use fountain pen flush solution or waste time on stubborn dried ink.

Does Iroshizuku Ink Bleed, Ghost or Feather?

Although Pilots Iroshizuku ink is a wet writing ink, it tends not to have any issues with bleeding, ghosting or feathering due to the formula of the ink. Now, to be clear, we are not saying that you will never have issues with bleeding, ghosting or feathering when using the ink as there are a number of different potential causes that can result in these issues.

The most common cause of fountain pens bleeding, ghosting, and feathering is the quality of paper that you are writing on. Many people end up having issues and blame their ink or their fountain pens nib but simply switching over to a high GSM paper can stop these problems due to the thicker page width.

If you so choose to switch over to using Iroshizuku ink and do notice issues with bleeding, ghosting or feathering then consider that the GSM rating of your paper is probably going to be the problem, not the actual ink or your fountain pen. Trying out a new paper bundle for a couple of dollars can usually fix the problem and end up saving you a large amount of money.

Can You Use Iroshizuku Ink With Any Fountain Pen?

The vast majority of fountain pen brands on the market will always recommend that you only use their brand of fountain pen ink with their pen models telling you that this will guarantee you the best possible performance. This is usually just a marketing trick to try and get as much money out of you as possible and they often forget to tell you that any premium, highly refined fountain pen ink will offer the same or at least a very similar writing experience.

The vast majority of the established fountain pen brands on the market all use a very similar ink formula to each other that is refined to the same high quality as each other. Due to this, you are able to use your Pilots Iroshizuku ink with any fountain pen model from any brand that you want without having any issues while getting the excellent smooth writing experience form the ink.

Please keep in mind though, there are some limitations for some fountain pen models if they are cartridge-based only. If your fountain pen model of choice allows you to use a piston filler, vacuum filler or cartridge converter then you can use the Iroshizuku ink with your pen. This tends to cover the majority of the popular fountain pens in the intermediate and premium price points as well as a number of the entry-level fountain pens too.

Why Is Iroshizuku Ink So Expensive?

Depending on your budget, you may think that Iroshizuku ink has a high price tag as each bottle tends to cost you around twenty dollars depending on the retailer that you purchase it from. In the grand scheme of things, for a premium quality ink that writes as well as Pilots Iroshizuku ink this is not expensive and tends to be in the middle of the price range.

If you are on a tight budget and you need to keep your costs down you may be able to go with a budget ink option that is highly refined such as Noodles pen ink. This can offer you a very smooth writing experience with a lower price tag but in our opinion, it does not write as well as Iroshizuku ink or Edelstein ink but Noodlers ink is better than a number of their competitors.


That brings our article going over the best Japanese fountain pen ink on the market to an end. In our opinion, nothing even comes close to Pilots Iroshizuku ink from the current Japanese competing inks on the market at the time of writing and as we touched on earlier in the article, Iroshizuku ink is up there in the top two best inks in the world. Depending on exactly what you need out of the ink, Iroshizuku ink could be the number one slot, especially if you are looking for some of the rarer ink colors.