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 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 No Oto Kokeiro


I was trying my best to save this review for last, like the fountain pen ink version of the marshmallow test, but my EQ is low haha. I’ve always had a soft spot for olive green inks, especially those that have a lot of the yellow component in them. This is why the Kokeiro ink from the Kyo No Oto line is so attractive to me.

Kyo No Oto Kokeiro

The color reminds me of a cross between Alt Goldgrun and Diamine Wagner. It’s the color of shelled pistachio nuts. It’s light yellow-green in some places, darker green in some, with a little bit of that gorgeous golden tinge that gives it a nice glowing quality. The color is really eye-catching, especially on ivory-colored paper. The flow is quite wet. I used it in my Sheaffer Lifetime with a fine nib, and it flowed really well. It dries moderately fast at about 20 seconds on tomoe river paper. It’s saturated enough to make it easy to read, it’s a good enough ink to use for daily writing. It’s well-behaved and has very expressive shading. The shading is quite obvious even with a fine nib. It’s not water resistant, though it does leave behind faint light green lines. If you like olive green inks, this is such a nice color to have. Here are a few close ups of the writing sample.

Kyo No Oto Kokeiro

Kyo No Oto Kokeiro

Kyo No Oto Kokeiro

Kyo No Oto Kokeiro

Kyo No Oto Kokeiro

Kyo No Oto Kokeiro

Kyo No Oto Kokeiro

Kyoto inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

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

Review: Kyo-Iro Flaming Red of Fushimi


Kyo-Iro Flaming Red of Fushimi

Here’s the last of the Kyo-Iro line of Kyoto Inks that I’ve tried. The next inks linked up for review are all Kyo No Oto inks. This one’s called Flaming Red of Fushimi. At first I was surprised because it was neither flaming nor red when wet. The ink’s color got darker as it dried, and under natural light, the red component is much more obvious. It does start out as a cross between pink and peach, like the color of pink guava flesh or four seasons juice. Pink that leans more on the red side. When in a low-light surrounding, the ink looks less-saturated and more pink, but in natural light, it does become a more pronounced shade of red. The color is pretty interesting in both cases. I don’t think I have tried an ink that is similar in hue. It’s eye-catching, to say the least. It’s a moderately saturated ink, so I would recommend that you use it with a medium nib at least, or something that writes wet, so that you can appreciate the character of the ink. The shading is expressive and gorgeous, with shades of peach and dark pink. It flows a bit drier than moderate, though not unpleasantly so. I just feel it’s not as wet as the other Kyo-Iro inks I tried. The drying time is more or less the same, about 15 seconds. It’s not water resistant. Here are a few close up shots of the writing sample.

Kyo-Iro Flaming Red of Fushimi

Kyo-Iro Flaming Red of Fushimi

Kyo-Iro Flaming Red of Fushimi

Kyo-Iro Flaming Red of Fushimi

Kyo-Iro Flaming Red of Fushimi

Kyo-Iro Flaming Red of Fushimi

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: Birmingham Inks – Schenley Park – Thicket Green


Here’s the second Birmingham Ink that I tried so far. It’s called Schenley Park (Thicket Green). It’s a nice, dark green ink that looks a lot like the color of pine trees, or evergreen. It’s a very organic-looking color.

Birmingham Inks - Schenley Park - Thicket Green

As far as performance goes, I would put the flow at almost a moderately medium flow. It is a tad dryer than what I would like, though it behaves pretty well, and I’ve been using this ink for over a week. It dries pretty quick at a little over 10 seconds, with a medium nib. It’s not very water resistant, though it does leave behind some traces of dark green ink. The color reminds me of Pilot Iroshizuku Shin Ryoku, without the reddish sheen. It’s sufficiently saturated, making it easy to read and (for green ink lovers like me) a nice ink to use for everyday writing. It’s beautiful, though not quite what you’d call an adventurous color. The shading is quite pronounced too. Here are a few close ups of the writing sample.

Birmingham Inks - Schenley Park - Thicket Green

Birmingham Inks - Schenley Park - Thicket Green

Birmingham Inks - Schenley Park - Thicket Green

Birmingham Inks - Schenley Park - Thicket Green

Birmingham Inks - Schenley Park - Thicket Green

Birmingham inks are available at Everything Calligraphy.

Review: Robert Oster Bondi Blue


My fascination for blue ink is pretty new. I have to say that nobody’s more surprised than I am to see how much this color grew on me. I prefer darker blues, though. Not anything that leans towards baby blue. I was a bit hesitant at first to try this ink color, but using it in my Franklin Christoph Model 02 (a wet medium) really changed my mind.

Robert Oster Bondi Blue

This is such a vibrant blue. I immediately Googled images of Australia’s famed Bondi Beach and yeah, the likeness of the color of this ink to the color of the water on a bright day is striking. It’s beautiful! It’s also great ink to use with wet nibs because these nibs will show off the complexity of the color. There’s a noticeable red sheen on it, and the shading is a dark blue with a tinge of red. In broader strokes, it looks like a red halo. Much like the shoreline where the waters of Bondi Beach touches the sand. It’s not as pronounced as crazy-sheeny ink like Emerald of Chivor, but it’s there. I heard that Fire and Ice has more pronounced red sheen, this one is quite subtle but lovely. It’s something you can use for daily writing, really easy on the eyes.

Like other Robert Oster inks that I tried, it’s pretty well-behaved. I really enjoy that about this brand of ink. The drying time is not too long (just an average of 10-15 seconds), the flow is great, it’s not prone to drying out or causing hard starts. They’re not water proof or water resistant, though. I really wish Robert Oster Signature Inks will come out with a waterproof line of inks in the future. So far, all the inks I tried have been wonderful. Here are a few close ups of the writing samples:

Robert Oster Bondi Blue

Robert Oster Bondi Blue

Robert Oster Bondi Blue

Robert Oster Bondi Blue

Robert Oster Bondi Blue

Robert Oster Bondi Blue

If you’re in the Philippines, the exclusive distributor of Robert Oster Signature inks is Everything Calligraphy.