Review: Taroko ‘Tomoe River’ Breeze – My Favourite Notebook

Review: Taroko ‘Tomoe River’ Breeze – My Favourite Notebook

Review of the Taroko Tomoe River Breeze Notebook

My name's Phil and I’m a stationery addict


We were approached on a Friday afternoon by someone who just the previous Friday afternoon had come by to buy some pens and inks. This time we were being asked for a week’s work experience, starting on the following Monday morning. Short notice indeed. Normally such a request would fail for so many reasons, but this time it just felt right. And so Philip joined us for a week of (very last minute) work experience. And as part of the deal, he had to contribute a piece for our blog. Something he had a lot of spare time to do one morning when our website was down! So, we bring you Philip and his amazing Breeze notebook.

Philip's Review

Hi, I hope you find this review useful and interesting. My name’s Phil and I’m a stationery addict doing a week of work experience here at Bureau Direct, having been given the chance to write a review of this excellent notebook was like a dream come true. As a student, this notebook would be perfect as a planner/bullet journal but I feel like It’d be a shame to relegate this notebook to such a boring use so instead I plan to use it to write short stories in there’s just something about it that makes me want to be creative and write – I suppose that’s the best feeling you could get from a notebook. I hope you find my review useful and informative.

Taroko Tomoe River Notebook

The moment I heard about this notebook, my heart skipped a beat, Tomoe River paper in an A5 string bound notebook… Sign me up! The 68gsm paper is soft to the touch and takes ink like a champ. Of course, with such a light paper you can expect some ghosting, but in my opinion, that adds to the charm. Every time I lay my hands on a lovely new notebook or item of stationery I feel discontent that my clumsy handwriting won’t be able to do it justice but this notebook hasn’t given me the opportunity, I’m just constantly enamoured by how my nib glides over the page so perfectly.

Index page in the Taroko Breeze notebook
Index page in the Taroko Breeze notebook (pages are numbered)

The cover is minimalistic but elegantly so, it is made from a black card with a silver foil embossed design and looks stunning. There is a beautiful navy blue inside cover which I find extremely tasteful, I think anything more colourful would subtract from the main event, the paper. Inside there are 183 sheets of dotted paper; an index at the front and ink swab pages at the back. Last month I had to replace an old Wilko own brand notebook that I’d finished and I decided to pay a little extra and get a nicer one. My criteria were that the pages needed to take fountain pen ink better and not feather or bleed; the pages needed to be dotted or squared, preferably dotted and the pages had to be numbered. I finally settled on a Leuchtturm 1917 hardback notebook, a decision that I don’t regret. But this Breeze notebook by Taroko Design supersedes the Leuchtturm as it has higher paper quality and still has the dotted pages that are numbered.

The ink swab pages are a lovely touch and whilst I don’t expect everyone to use them I know I will always come back to them whenever I fill a pen with a new ink, for those worried that these pages will mean you that you won’t have as much space for your notes don’t fear as they only occupy two double page spreads, for me this is a perfect number as I likely won’t use 18 different inks in the course of one notebook but I’m sure there may also be people who find this still too many or too few. I’m not careful enough to make artful splashes of ink in the swab boxes as I’m worried I’ll miss and get ink everywhere so instead I fall back on a gentle scribble but I wish I could have as stunning a swab page as in the promotional pictures, I’m sure you could achieve this quite easily with some courage and a pipette.

Ink charts in the Taroko Breeze notebook
Ink charts in the Taroko Breeze notebook

I feel like it’s important to explain why Tomoe River paper is something to be so excited about. Normally the adage that the higher the gsm the higher the quality is correct but it falls short when you consider Tomoe River. Their 52gsm paper is comparable to 80gsm paper, like a Rhodia Dot-Pad, in terms of how well it takes ink but the 68gsm is comparable to their more premium 90gsm paper with the advantage of thinner pages so you can fit more sheets in the same dimensions. This results in Taroko Design’s decision to use the 68gsm paper a fantastic one as it is sturdier, less prone to the unexpected creasing that plagued me when I used the 52gsm paper, and the ghosting is less noticeable.

I’ve been writing this review in Blackstone Barrister Black Ink and I just noticed that the ghosting on this paper is comparable to that of it on a Rhodia Dot-Pad, although it is still a lot more apparent in the Breeze, quickly switching to KWZ Iron Gall Turquoise I’ve noticed that whilst in the Breeze the ghosting is the same on the Dot-Pad it’s hardly noticeable. So, if you’re not a fan of ghosting or undecided it may be better to start with one of Taroko Design’s cheaper notebooks to get a feel for it.

In the interest of being completely transparent there are a couple of things I may think about changing about the notebook if I were given the opportunity. The first is I’d probably add an elastic strap to close the notebook and stop it from possibly opening in my bag and having the pages crease, but this is unlikely to happen anyway, and I’d also like to add a fabric book mark in the same colour as the inside of the cover just to make finding the page you’re on slightly easier, although again this isn’t a make it or break it thing for me. This notebook has now become my favourite notebook that I own and is a contender for my favourite that I know exists, in the running with it is the Whitelines Link as I think it’s a great blend of the analogue and digital worlds and I intend to use them for all my school notes next year (Although this is subject to how nice the paper is for use with fountain pens).

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