Tsubame Daigaku Note: The iconic Japanese notebook cherished across three generations

日本語の記事はコチラ(An original article was written by Takataku.)

Today we will cover Japan’s iconic notebook, the Tsubame notebook.

Who is Tsubame Note?

Tsubame Note Co. Ltd. is a Tokyo based company that manufactures and sells notebooks. Of their wide selection of products, they are best known for their Daigaku Note (college notebook). Any Japanese person will recognize its iconic look.


This simple design has not changed since its release in 1947 — a soft gray cover with speckled fibers and a black taped spine. The classical design gives it a retro chic look, and fits in just fine whether in a casual school environment or in a formal professional setting.

As one of the most iconic notebooks in Japan, many families have been using Tsubame notebooks since their parents’ generation. And with the current generation buying them for their own children, the love for this product has spanned three generations. It even has a strong international following, being sold in select stationery stores across Paris, London, and New York.

What is the attraction?

No doubt, the biggest attraction of the Tsubame notebook is its superior paper quality. This notebook uses the highest quality Foolscap Paper, known for its lattice pattern watermark. The surface is smooth without being too slippery or scratchy, hitting just the right balance. The pen travels well across the page without any feathering. It really is hard to find anything negative to say about this paper.
I love how well it works with fountain pens too.
The meticulously crafted paper is called Tsubame Acid-free Fools Paper.


Unlike other paper, it does not use any fluorescent dyes to whiten the page, so it is easy on the eyes. In the past when I asked a representative of the company about their product, he said “Of course we are proud of the great writing experience, but I also want to point out how easy it is on your eyes. I would really like school children to use these notebooks. I would hate for the notebook to strain the kids’ eyes when they are studying.”


When you have a chance to pick up a Tsubame notebook, make sure you hold a page up to the light and take a look at the watermark patterns in the paper.
(They used to have a watermark of their corporate logo, but unfortunately the machine for that watermark broke down, so the logo is no longer there.)

Thread stitched, so it is sturdy

The binding is thread stitched, so it is very sturdy.
Each notebook is made by hand in their Tokyo factory.

Despite being a masterpiece of quality and craftsmanship, Tsubame keeps the price reasonable so that anybody can afford it. If you have never used one before, I would highly encourage you to give it a try.

Recommended for:
icon-check People who are particular about their notebooks and the paper they write on.
icon-check People who like writing with fountain pens.
icon-check People who like classical designs.
icon-check Small children and students.


Tsubame Daigaku Note|Tsubame Note

– No Stationery, No life. 毎日、文房具。–– No Stationery, No life. 毎日、文房具。–