There’s no surprise we’re big fans of quality ink, especially those with an inspirational story behind them. We’re excited to bring Kobe Ink Story from Japan to our virtual and physical shelves.

Kobe Ink Story are inspired by Kobe City, a city on Osaka Bay in central Japan. The area is known for its scenic green mountains that frame the beautiful colours of the city and harbour. The inks from Kobe Ink Story are reminiscent of the history and landscape present, particularly after the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake.


Photo credit: Japan National Tourism Organization

Kobe Ink Story designer, Naoyuki Takeuchi says:

Colours could look different depending on the weather, time of day and season. I usually found out which colour was best at describing a particular scene by consulting local people.

Kobe Ink is made by the Sailor Fountain Pen Co., famous for their heritage of quality and technical perfection.

Kobe Ink Story

We review the Kobe Ink Story Kitanozaka Night Blue and compare them to similar blue inks from various brands. But first, let’s look at the full range from Kobe Ink Story…

Kobe Ink Story: Packaging

Each Kobe Ink Story is 50ml and comes in a black box with a 3-sided design of Kobe City. The graphic is printed in white with the only embellishment being the Kobe Port Tower, which has been filled in with red. Each box has the manufacturing date stamped on the inside.

Kobe Ink Story

Kobe Ink Story

The back of the package is written in Japanese with cautionary and cleaning information.

Kobe Ink Story

Kobe Ink Story: Colours

In 2007, the first ink colour, Rokko Green, from Kobe Ink Story was born. Each of the colours are born with a story to express Kobe Ink Story’s charm and delivers an insightful and personal writing experience with use.

We especially enjoy the various hues that encompass this city…

Kobe Ink Story

Hirano Gion Romance Grey — represents the historical landscape of Kobe City with a poignant reference to the often romanticised notion of visiting a shrine.

Kobe Ink Story

Shioya Vintage Sepia — reminiscent of the chocolate hued vintage furniture common to the homes that populate a scenic tourist district.

Kobe Ink StoryKobe Brick — reminiscent of the historic Kobe Brick Warehouse that was built in 1898. This building has been at the Kobe Port, by the surface of the water for over 100 years.

Kobe Ink Story

Rokkou Mountain Wildflower — reminiscent of the shade of a hydrangea whose existence had not been confirmed for nearly 100 years until it was rediscovered on Rokkou Mountain.
Kobe Ink Story

Sorakuen Tea Green — reminiscent of matcha in the tea room harmonised with the landscape of the Fukayan Valley garden in the background. 

Kobe Ink Story

Sodousuji Marchais Blue — inspired by an inland body of water known as the Seto Inland Sea, featuring shining blue notes throughout.

Find our full range of Kobe Ink Story at Milligram.

Kobe Ink Story: Kitanozaka Night Blue #38 Ink Flow

We tested out the Kitanozaka Night Blue #38 in a LAMY safari with a broad nib on a RHODIA Pad #18 in grid format. Being a Japanese ink it usually is best suite to a Japanese style fountain pen (dry writers), but we were keen to give it a go in a LAMY and found it performed quite well.

The colour is a dark blue, which is meant to be reminiscent of the Kitanozaka neighbourhood where it is nestled amongst the foothills and illuminates the night sky.

Kobe Ink Story

It’s a wet ink and highly saturated with a subtle hint of blue-black and we found it had a lovely tinge of green. We have heard from other bloggers that on a thin paper, such as a Tomoe River the ink will deliver a significant amount of green.

Kobe Ink Story

It’s a beautiful colour definitely worthy of consideration and really does feel reminiscent of a night sky. The ink writes beautifully and the ink flowed flawlessly across the coated page.

The ink does take a little while to settle on the page, our drying time indicated it took 7 seconds to completely dry on the RHODIA 80gsm pad.

Kobe Ink Story: Kitanozaka Night Blue Drying Time & Show-Through

We found there was hardly any shadowing or bleed-through either, except where we really shaded in the one spot.

Kobe Ink Story

Kobe Ink Story: Comparison

We compared the Kitanozaka Night Blue to four other inks:


Kobe Ink Story

The Kitanozaka Night Blue really does stand out within this range of blues. We found it has a depth to it that sets it apart from more traditional inks.

Kobe Ink Story: Summary

We’re excited to have such an offering from Kobe Ink Story and are confident this collection will be a sure pleaser. The inks have a lot of character and charm, which we can tell will work work on high quality paper and even better on lighter paper stock that’s sure to capture its full effect.


  • Performs well on high quality paper
  • Fairly quick drying and limited shadowing or show-though
  • Large variety of colours with lots of differentiation
  • Nice packaging and bottle
  • Difficult to find outside of Japan


  • Fairly expensive, $34.95 for 50ml
  • A big range of colours, so hard to select one!

Shop Kobe Ink Story at Milligram.