Penland Cafe is a fountain pen shop/ cafe based in Nagoya City, Japan.  They sell a wide range of fountain pens including Montblanc, Pelikan, Aurora, Waterman and Parker, in addition to their wonderful inks.  You cannot buy directly from them unless visiting the Penland Cafe in person.  Instead if you are outside of Japan you must use a forwarding service such as White Rabbit Express, which is how I bought them.

I only heard about Penland Cafe and its famous inks very recently, whilst perusing the famous rare Sailor inks thread.  I had also seen pictures of their bottles pop up on Instagram and the like.  From what I have read on-line people seem to stumble across the place whilst on holiday and end up buying a few bottles of their inks more as a souvenir.  Aside from a couple of quick swabs and a a few squiggled words, I haven’t heard much talk of these inks, let alone seen full reviews.

There are four inks in the Penland Cafe line up;

  1.  Utsurigi (sepia)
  2. Penland Green 
  3. Red Cliff
  4. Fountain Blue

I did think about buying all four in the set but the blue didn’t look that special to me plus I’m not really a blue ink person, generally (though I still manage to have quite a few of them).  I’m not sure why I didn’t purchase Red cliff, I think maybe it reminded me too much of Ancient Copper which has unfortunately managed to stain inside of the section on my Sailor KOP Demo 😦

Instead I went for Utsurigi and Penland Green, here they are;


The ink I’ll be looking at today (I think “review” is too lofty a word for this), is Utsurigi.    The ink comes in the diamond-shaped bottle with a very psychedelic orange label on it.  There is definitely a 70’s theme going on here.  There cap is in plain white/cream as standard and there is no sticker on it.  Likewise the inks come in a plain Sailor box with no label on it (as with Shosaikan, for example).  This makes me think they are definitely Sailor inks.  I mention this as I remember reading some discussion as to whether these were Sailor inks or not.

Utsurigi is described as a colour-shifting ink that goes down black when wet, and dries to a sepia colour.  However, I find I only get this effect when I use it on Original Crown Mill white card, where the ink does indeed go down as a very deep saturated black and takes quite a while to lighten to a sepia.  Thereafter it stays a pleasant sepia colour . *FYI the Original Crown Mill card I use here is a kind of heavyweight laid paper with a ribbed texture to it.  I believe the range is called Silverline or something.  Here is a sample below ;

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However when I use Utsurigi on Hobonichi or Rhodia it doesn’t go down black at all but instead a kind of dark green, and quickly lightens to a stony green, and then dries eventually not to sepia but to a green/grey/brown.  A colour not too dissimilar to Cigar (!) or Gagome.  Here is a writing sample snippet of Utsurigi on Rhodia.  I used an X250 for this taken from my ever- expanding Jinhao collection, so line not so juicy…


Here is a Cigar writing sample with a Omas Paragon 18ct OM stub nib.  As you can see I need to work on my cursive “r’s” when writing at speed…

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And a Gagome sample written with a Twsbi modified broad steel stub nib…


Here is full page of Utsurigi on Hobonichi Techo TR paper;

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Here is a comparison of Cigar, Gagome and Utsurigi on Hobonichi (TR paper);


Yes as you can see quite similar.  Utsurigi doesn’t really have the complexity of Cigar (or I forgot to mention it’s doppelgänger Rikyu-Cha), but there are strong similarities.  For example it is missing the crazy red sheen as you can see below- Cigar is the one not he bottom, obvs…


Also as mentioned Utsurigi is more green as less brown if you look closely at the dry samples here…


My attempt at coffee filter chromatography…I still haven’t learned how to read the results (lol!).  Utsurigi on the right Pen-land Green on the left…

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Dry time below, Pen-land Green on the bottom, Utsurigi on the top…


In terms of flow it’s about 6/10 on Rhodia paper.  Utsurigi is very smooth and nice to write with on Hobonichi TR paper.  In terms of behaviour, I feel its is very safe.  I’ll leave it in the Jinhao for month and see if there is any clogging issues.


And here is a completely unnecessary picture of my Omas Paragon taking a fill from Cigar


I find Gagome to be a very pleasant but less complex and less brown version of Cigar.  I think Utsurugi possibly edges more in the Gagome direction in that respect.

All in all a very nice, unusual and not much talked about Sailor ink.  I’m glad I tracked this one down…

You can find out more about Penland Cafe at