Ishida Bungu is a stationary store based in Hakodate, Hokkaido (Northern Japan).  I came to learn of their inks only very recently via discussions of Hakodate Twighlight ad Gagome on the pen forums.  You can buy Ishida Bunga inks at the White Rabbit Express service.  They do not ship outside of Japan.

Gagome is often cited as the pick of the Ishida Bungu ink offering.  There complete line up of inks goes as follows;

  1. Gagome (broen algae)
  2. Hakodate Twighlight (blue)
  3. Winter Dead (grey)
  4. Hakodateyama (green)
  5. Hockey Rouge (red)
  6. School Brown (brown)
  7. Astringent Black? (Thats what Google translate said…)
  8. Yawatazaka Blue (blue)

Gagome is often cited as an alternative to the famous Pen & Message Cigar.  I find it tends more to the grey/green than brown of Cigar.  The stony sheeny colour shifting Gagome is definitely my cup of tea.  I don’t find it brings to mind the brown algae after which it was named, but wonderful nevertheless.  So far my verdict is: AWESOME.

Here is the Gagome box…


Here is the bottle…



Here is the cap…nice design on this one.  I love the way each Ishida Bungu ink has a bespoke cap label to go with it- distinct from the bottle/ box label.  You can see they put a lot of thought into the designs and labels, not always the case with these store exclusives…


Here is a quick writing sample taken on a cloudy day (Hobonichi TR paper)…hmmm, looks more brown here…


Pretty standard brown you say, but then look here…now it looks green!


Check out that coppery sheen!

This ink may look familiar to you…


Can you guess?  Yes it’s Cigar!  (Sorry, couldn’t find my swatch of Rikyu-cha! lol)

And here again with this comparison of Cigar, Gagome and another store-exclusive ink, Utsurigi from Penland Cafe, I have a separate post of it on this blog…



Well if you love Cigar (or Rikyu-cha), you’ll love Gagome!  Basically everything that can be said for Cigar can be said for Gagome.  The way it goes down wet one colour and dries another colour, the monster sheen- its all there.  The texture of the ink is nice and smooth, and it feels quite safe too to use in your nicer fountain pens.  Of course it’s a semi-unicorn, Japan-only store-exclusive ink, it’s not always in stock and if you can’t get it in person, you’ll have to jump a number of hoops with a forwarding service with all the added expense, time and hassle that entails (though still cheaper than over- inflated eBay prices).  The bottles are the old Sailor vase- bottles for super easy filling of your monster-nibbed pens.  The concept and labels are super quirky, the list goes on.

Gagome is an ink widely praised in the fountain pen community, and manages to escape the criticism of Cigar which people argue is just re-bottled Rikyu-cha.  I personally have both Cigar and Rikyu-cha, but it just feels like a special occasion whenever I use Cigar.  I like to use it best in my humungous Conid Kingsize Bulkfiller with Broad, springy Titanium nib, the smoothness and sheen I get from it are just awesome.  *Also, whats wrong with paying extra for vase-bottle?  Try filling up you Conid Bulkfiller, Pilot Custom 823 or Visconti Homo Sapiens from Rikyu-cha…it aint gonna happen!

I will attempt some coffee-filter chromatography and get some samples on different papers, maybe even some kind of tracing paper to see if the differences come out there.  To my plain ol’ eyes, Gagome is just VERY similar to Cigar.  At a pinch maybe a bit more green, though some would no doubt contradict me and say, “no, no, you are WRONG, it’s a bit more brown!  Just look at your own writing sample in this very post!”.  Whatever, if you are looking to spoil yourself with a fancy ink to go in your fancy pens, or even just in your TWSBI, (I had this inked up for the longest time in my TWSBI Mini with steel Butter Line Stub nib and it was awwwwwsooooome!), I highly recommend picking up a bottle of Gagome.