8 Best Japanese Pens for Note-Taking

8 Best Japanese Pens for Note-Taking

Jan 10, 2024 Tags 

It’s hard to fight the urge to whip out your favorite notebook and take some notes while researching an interesting topic or making plans for the week. Technology is great, but nothing can beat a notebook where you can write short, simple points. Surprisingly, the type of pen you choose can seriously affect your writing experience; that’s why you should choose the best Japanese pens for note-taking. Anybody who has written with a very good pen can feel the difference when they write. Sometimes, their handwriting flows better!

Japanese pens are some of the most luxurious and high-quality pens you can find in the world. These stationery brands have existed for over 100 years, like the PILOT pen company in Japan. With that type of experience, it’s easy to see why Japanese manufacturers make some of the best pens in the world. In this guide, we'll delve into the world of note-taking pens, exploring the qualities that make Japanese pens stand above the rest to help you discover the perfect companion for your note-taking.


What Type of Pen is Best for Note-Taking?


When it comes to note-taking, the ideal pen strikes a balance between smooth writing, quick-drying ink, and a comfortable grip. There are different types of pens, like fountain pens, ballpoint pens, and rollerball pens. While ballpoint pens use oil-based ink, rollerball pens use gel water-based ink that tends to come in different color selections. The best pen for note-taking would be a rollerball pen with gel ink because it does not take effort to write with this pen, so you can do it fast. Ballpoint pens generally need more hand pressure than rollerball pens, so less pressure is always better. However, where a ballpoint pen shines is that the ink may dry faster than a rollerball pen’s ink. Fountain pens are not suitable at all for note-taking because the ink does not dry out immediately, and it is not always easy to write fast using a fountain pen. 

The type of pen tip also plays a crucial role when writing. Fine-tip pens offer more precision and are great for detailed notes and tiny handwriting, while broader tips may be better for those who prefer bolder strokes. You can also choose pens that have fun colors so that you’ll get to have fun writing.


Why Are Japanese Pens Better?


Japanese pens have earned a global reputation for excellence because they are crafted with meticulous attention to detail, ensuring a consistent and reliable writing experience. Japanese pen manufacturers also invest in advanced ink technologies that you won’t find anywhere else. For example, the Pilot Frixion pen series has erasable gel ink that makes correcting mistakes a breeze, which is ideal for note-taking because we all know how messy that can be. These pens also come in a variety of tip sizes and other customizations. When you find a pen you like, it’ll have the knock, pen cap, or retractable version, and it will come in different tip sizes, so you have no excuse not to buy it. Whether you prefer a fine, medium, or bold tip, there's a Japanese pen to suit your needs.


8 Best Japanese Pens For Note-Taking 


Pilot Frixion Erasable Gel Pen - Best For Erasing Mistakes


Pilot Frixion Erasable Gel Pen


Let’s face it, note-taking is a messy thing to do. Sometimes, our ideas are all over the place, and we make mistakes. With the Pilot Frixion erasable gel pen, you can say goodbye to messy notes because the pen is erasable. Using a thermo-sensitive ink, a simple rub of the pen's eraser effectively eliminates marks without damaging the paper. This makes it an excellent choice for meticulous note-takers who want the option of making corrections on the fly. Even though the pen was only released in 2009, there are various versions like different pen colors, felt tip erasable Frixion markers, and even an erasable Frixion highlighter.


Zebra Doodler’z Pen - Best For Doodling


Zebra Doodler’z Pen


Black and blue pens can get so boring when you’re note-taking. The solution is to add more colors to your Japanese pen collection. The Zebra Doodler’z Pen is just as its name suggests, with water-based gel ink and 60 colors: 25 standard colors, 20 glitter, 6 neon, 5 metallics, and 4 pastel colors. The pen is designed in a simple way without any extra grip, but the best part of it is the vibrant ink. Colorful pens may seem like they are for artists only, but you can write notes in style and even pick up the habit of doodling along the way.


Uni-Ball Jetstream Ballpoint Pen - Best Hybrid Pen


Uni-Ball Jetstream Ballpoint Pen


The Uni-ball Jetstream Ballpoint Pen combines the best of both gel and ballpoint technologies. It is one of the best Japanese pens on the market because its hybrid ink formula has that gel ink smoothness and fast drying of oil ink. It's truly a masterpiece of a pen that gives you a skip-free writing experience while drying quickly to prevent smudging. The pen's sleek design and rubberized grip also enhance comfort during extended use. The Jetstream is a top choice for those seeking a reliable ballpoint pen that delivers the fluidity of gel ink.


Muji Gel Ink Ballpoint Pen - Best Affordable Pen 


Muji Gel Ink Ballpoint Pen


The Muji Gel Ink Japanese Ballpoint Pen has a simple and minimalistic design. This is another ballpoint pen with smooth gel ink. The pen's lightweight and very affordable. With the transparent barrel, you can monitor ink levels and choose the right pen color. There are 10 color options for this pen, and it is one of the best for people who love simple but efficient pens. 


Pilot G2 Gel Pen - Most Popular Gel Ink Pen


Pilot G2 Gel Pen


The Pilot G2 Gel Pen is a favorite known for its smoothness and reliability. With a retractable design and comfortable rubber grip, it's a great choice for prolonged note-taking. The gel ink flows effortlessly onto the paper, and it is available in many colors and tip sizes. Its classic design, coupled with the consistent quality of Pilot's gel ink, makes the G2 a dependable Japanese pen for note-taking.


Zebra Sarasa Dry X30 Gel Pen - Fastest Drying Gel Pen


Zebra Sarasa Dry X30 Gel Pen


One of the problems with gel pens is that the ink does not dry fast enough. The Zebra Sarasa Dry X30 Gel Pen uses Zebra's Rapid Dry Gel Ink Technology for fast drying. This Japanese pen is left-handed friendly because lefties' ink may smear what they write because of their hand placement, so they need a fast-drying ink pen. There are different versions of this pen, but the X30 has the fastest drying gel pen. The pen’s rubber grip and convenient clip design make it easy to secure notebooks or pockets, perfect for those on the move. 


SAKURA Gelly Roll Gel Pens - First Gel Ink Pen


SAKURA Gelly Roll Gel Pens


We’ve been praising the gel ink pen as the best pigment choice for note-taking, but did you know that the first ever gel ink pen was the SAKURA Gelly Roll Gel pen? SAKURA, a Japanese pen company founded in 1921, created the first gel-based ink technology in 1984. This pen has a very simple design, but the colors are so vibrant that you can use them to make elaborate drawings. They come in 20 amazing colors, so you have a lot to pick from. The Sakura Gelly Roll Gel Pens are celebrated for their ink quality, which is resistant to both water and fading. 


Pilot Hi-Tec-C Gel Pen - Best Fine Tip


Pilot Hi-Tec-C Gel Pen


The Pilot Hi-Tec-C Gel Pen is loved for its ultra-fine tip, enabling users to achieve precise handwriting. With a needle-point design, this pen is perfect for people who focus on the smallest details in their notes. The Hi-Tec-C's consistent gel ink flow also makes writing very easy, while the pen's slim profile adds a touch of sophistication. Whether used for intricate diagrams or charts or simply for those who prefer a fine line, the Hi-Tec-C is a reliable pen for note-taking.

In summary, each of these pens offers a unique set of features, catering to different preferences and styles of note-taking. Whether you prioritize smoothness, erasability, or vibrant ink colors, this diverse selection of Japanese pens provides options for every note-taking scenario.

Have you been looking to buy some high-quality Japanese stationery? You can check out our ZenPop stationery store for the best deals from Japan. 


This article was originally written by our freelance writer Umm-Kulthum Abdulkareem and edited by us.