Kyo Iro and Kyo No Oto Roundup


Kyo Iro and Kyo No Oto Inks

The past few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of trying out all the different colors of Kyo Iro and Kyo No Oto. It was really a lot of fun, and while I enjoyed trying all of them out, a few of them really stood out for me as my favorites.

Kyo Iro Soft Snow of Ohara

Kyo-Iro Inks - Soft Snow of Ohara

I really love this blue. I don’t think I have a similar shade of it in my ink collection. It’s a mellow kind of blue that has purple tones. It really pops out of the page for me, I love seeing an entire page written with this ink. Simply lovely.

Kyo Iro Moonlight of Higashiyama

Kyo-Iro Inks - Moonlight of Higashiyama

This one’s really easy to like. It’s a beautiful shade of terracotta, and it stays so vibrant on the page. The shading is so expressive too.

Kyo No Oto Kokeiro

Kyo No Oto Kokeiro

No surprises here, I guess? It’s a light olive green ink that has beautiful shading. It flows a bit on the dry side, but works beautifully with the right pen.

Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro

Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro

I am quite surprised that I ended up liking this ink so much. I’m not big on yellow inks at all. In fact, I don’t think I have any yellow inks. This one’s a beautiful, earthy yellow though. You need to see this in person, on paper, to fully appreciate how beautiful it is.

Overall, both lines have really interesting colors. The collection is quite varied and the inks have their own personalities, so to speak. I had such a great time reviewing them, thanks to the wonderful people at Everything Calligraphy for the samples.

Ink Swabs Kyoto Inks

Kyoto inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Here’s a roundup of all the Kyoto Inks I have reviewed:

Review: Kyo No Oto Nurebairo


Kyo No Oto Nurebairo

The next ink I’m reviewing from the Kyo No Oto line of Kyoto Inks is Nurebairo. At first I was a little confused by it because I really thought it’s blue black. Under fluorescent light, it does look like a very dark blue. Under natural light, it’s clearly a black colored ink with blue undertones. The ink feels quite thick to me, so it flows a bit on the dry side. It also has some copper sheen, although the sheen seems equally distributed along the lines that I draw. Much like what happens when the ink doesn’t have expressive shading. For me, the effect is that the ink looks more glossy than sheeny on paper, much like how india ink would look like when dry. Here’s a short clip on the copper-colored sheen on Tomoe River paper. Keep in mind that the sheen of any ink can be seen if you use the right combination of ink, pen, and paper. More absorbent paper and dry-writing nibs most probably won’t show off the sheen-y properties of ink.

The ink dries relatively slow at 25 seconds or so. It’s also not water resistant. This is a nice, rich black if you want something that’s not watery-looking for your everyday writing. It doesn’t show off much shading, though the little shading it has shows a color of dark bluish grey. I know many people like myself who like black ink to be black like tar or jet black. This would be just the right legit black for your legit black ink needs. Here are a few closeups of the writing sample:

Kyo No Oto Nurebairo

Kyo No Oto Nurebairo

Kyo No Oto Nurebairo

Kyo No Oto Nurebairo

Kyo No Oto Nurebairo

Kyo No Oto Nurebairo

Kyoto inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Here’s a roundup of all the Kyoto Inks I have reviewed:

Review: Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro


I’ve never been a big fan of yellow inks, and it wasn’t exactly love at first sight with this one, but it’s strange because the color kinda grew on me. I started using it to write dates, headers or section titles in my journal entries, and they pop right out the page. It’s a nice shade of yellow, very earthy. It brings to mind that point when leaves aren’t quite dead and dry yet, but the green has just drained out of them.

Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro

It’s not too light that you can’t read it, but I would recommend that you use it with a wet nib. This page was written with a Pilot vanishing point that has a medium nib. I was intrigued about how it would look with a stub, so…

The ink has very expressive shading, and I like that the shading ranges from a golden brown, to yellow orange, to light yellow. Like the color of leaves as they dry. The ink might be too light if you’re using a fine nib, though. It’s best used with wider and wetter nibs so you can appreciate the complexity of the color. I’m surprised that I like this ink as much as I do, honestly.

I would put the flow at a moderate, depending on what pen you use with it. With my stub nib, it flowed a touch on the wet side. With my medium nib, it flowed moderate, a touch on the dry side. It dried at a little over 20 seconds on Tomoe River paper. It’s not water resistant, it washes away quite beautifully, actually. I think it’s a great ink for creative applications. Maybe not something you would use to sign your checks, but something to add a splash of color to your journals. Me likey.

Here are a few close up photos of the writing samples:

Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro

Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro

Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro

Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro

Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro

Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro

Kyo No Oto Yamabukiiro

Kyoto inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Here’s a roundup of all the Kyoto Inks I have reviewed:

Review: Kyo-Iro Cherry Blossoms of Keage


Kyo-Iro Cherry Blossoms of Keage

Gosh, look at that. That is a purrty shade of pink. Cherry blossoms come in a range of colors, from pure white with the faintest hint of pink to dark pink, yellow, purple, and even green. This color of Kyo-Iro ink reminds me of pink cherry blossoms because the shading is expressive and shows a range of pinks, like the blossoms. The ink is sufficiently saturated enough to make it easy to read, but I find the color so delicate and refined.

The flow is moderate; not too dry, not too wet. It’s well-behaved and pleasant to write with. It dries in about 15 seconds (using a European medium nib on Tomoe River paper), and it’s not water resistant. I like that the vibrancy of the ink doesn’t fade after several days. The color didn’t go flat or dull.

Pink ink lovers will definitely love this shade. Here are a few close-ups of my writing sample:

Kyo-Iro Cherry Blossoms of Keage

Kyo-Iro Cherry Blossoms of Keage

Kyo-Iro Cherry Blossoms of Keage

Kyo-Iro Cherry Blossoms of Keage

Kyo-Iro Cherry Blossoms of Keage

Kyo-Iro Cherry Blossoms of Keage

Overall, you may not be able to use it for work or exams, or anything like that, but it’s a cute ink for journal-writing and other creative purposes.

Kyoto inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Here’s a roundup of all the Kyoto Inks I have reviewed:

Review: Kyo-Iro Stone Road of Gion


Here’s another Kyoto Ink from the Kyo-Iro line. It’s called Stone Road of Gion. It’s a delicate shade of brown. It’s earthy and soft, almost a bit silvery, at least on tomoe river paper. It has this old-timey feel to it and it’s really gorgeous when used on ivory-colored paper.

Kyo-Iro Ink Stone Road of Gion

It reminds me of the color of Raw Umber, which is one of my favorite watercolor pigments. I guess because I see the color a lot in nature, I use it for woody parts of plants, mushrooms, soil, etc. Stone Road of Gion has a very organic look to it. I really like it a lot. In terms of performance, the ink flows very wet, but it doesn’t feather or bleed. If anything, it almost feels a bit watery.

The delicate color may strike some people as a bit translucent, but it’s very easy to read in person. Because the color is a bit light, I would suggest using it with a wet-writing nib. I used a Cross Century II with a custom medium cursive italic nib for this review. I like the gorgeous shading on the ink, I think it would make a nice addition to my brown ink collection.

It dries pretty fast, at around 15 seconds. It’s not water resistant, a few seconds of soaking with droplets of water almost completely erased the ink.

Overall, I think it’s a gorgeous shade, especially when used with a wet writing nib or nib sizes from medium upwards. Here are a few close ups of the writing sample:

Kyo-Iro Ink Stone Road of Gion

Kyo-Iro Ink Stone Road of Gion

Kyo-Iro Ink Stone Road of Gion

Kyo-Iro Ink Stone Road of Gion

Kyo-Iro Ink Stone Road of Gion

Kyo-Iro Ink Stone Road of Gion

Kyoto inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Here’s a roundup of all the Kyoto Inks I have reviewed:

Review: Kyo-Iro Soft Snow of Ohara


Kyo-Iro Inks - Soft Snow of Ohara

Here’s another Kyo-Iro ink from Kyoto Inks, Japan. It’s called Soft Snow of Ohara. It’s a pretty interesting ink because under certain kinds of light, it looks a little purplish. In natural light, it is a beautiful shade of blue. A familiar kind of blue, I thought. It actually reminded me of this article I read before about indigo dying techniques in Japan. It’s called Aizome or that indigo dye that comes from the Japanese indigo plant. It became popular initially because indigo was an effective insect repellant. The color of indigo extracted from the plant came in different ranges from “indigo white” to dark indigo and was so extensively used that it became popularly known as Japan Blue. I think this ink’s color is pretty close to it.

Kyo-Iro Inks - Soft Snow of Ohara

It’s a muted shade of blue that is eye-catching and has a subtlety to it. It’s nicely saturated, but still manages to look delicate. The shading is quite gorgeous, and shows a range of different shades of indigo blue. It’s also very well-behaved. The flow is quite wet, but it doesn’t feather or bleed through. It feels almost as if it’s lubricated. My pen just glides on paper while using it.

It dries relatively fast at about 15 seconds. It’s not water resistant, 30 seconds of soaking in droplets all but wiped out any trace of the ink. Here are a few close ups of the writing sample.

Kyo-Iro Inks - Soft Snow of Ohara

Kyo-Iro Inks - Soft Snow of Ohara

Kyo-Iro Inks - Soft Snow of Ohara

Kyo-Iro Inks - Soft Snow of Ohara

Kyo-Iro Inks - Soft Snow of Ohara

Kyo-Iro Inks - Soft Snow of Ohara

Overall, it’s easy to fall in love with this ink. It’s a beautiful color and it flows great. I like that it’s really close to an iconic color in Japan. I don’t think I own an ink that’s similar to this hue yet. Looks like it’s a keeper. 🙂

Kyoto inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Here’s a roundup of all the Kyoto Inks I have reviewed:

Review: Kyo-Iro Moonlight of Higashiyama


Kyo-Iro Inks

The nice people from Everything Calligraphy sent over a few samples of their new line of inks from Kyoto, Japan. There are Kyo-Iro and Kyo No Oto Inks. I’m eager to review them because all the Japanese inks I’ve tried so far have been excellent. I’m curious to see how these inks perform. Kyo-Iro inks are named after famous places in Kyoto Japan. It may be a bit hard to distinguish the colors on the bottle because for Kyo-Iro inks, the names are printed in Japanese characters. I’ll dive right in and review one of the colors that really got my attention. This one’s called Moonlight of Higashiyama.

Kyo-Iro Inks

I like that the packaging of Kyo-Iro inks are so reminiscent of what makes Japanese aesthetics so pleasing. It’s minimalist, simple, elegant, and functional. I love the print on the box and the labels on the bottle. Each bottle holds 40ml of ink, and the opening is convenient to use, no matter what the pen size is.

Kyo-Iro Inks - Moonlight of Higashiyama

Moonlight of Higashiyama is an earthy brown color that leans more towards orange or terracotta. When wet, the yellow component of the ink is more obvious, but it gets a lot darker as it dries. The color reminds me of autumn leaves, or caramel. It’s warm and pleasant, and really gorgeous especially on cream-colored paper. I like that it has subtle shading that shows different hues from light terracotta orange to dark brown, the color of burnt brown sugar. It’s saturated enough for daily writing, it’s very comfortable to read. The flow of this ink is also quite good. It’s a touch above moderate flow, and my pen just glides on paper when using it. The drying time is relatively fast at about 15 seconds using a medium nib on Tomoe River paper. It’s not water resistant. So don’t leave your journal out in the rain ;-). Here are a few close ups of the writing sample.

Kyo-Iro Inks - Moonlight of Higashiyama

Kyo-Iro Inks - Moonlight of Higashiyama

Kyo-Iro Inks - Moonlight of Higashiyama

Kyo-Iro Inks - Moonlight of Higashiyama

Kyo-Iro Inks - Moonlight of Higashiyama

Kyo-Iro Inks - Moonlight of Higashiyama

Overall, it’s an eye-catching color. I enjoy using it in journal entries. Kyo-Iro inks and I are off to a great start, it seems. 🙂

Kyoto inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Here’s a roundup of all the Kyoto Inks I have reviewed: