Kyoto TAG Kyo-no-oto Hisoku Ink Bottle

Kyoto Tag Hisoku Ink Review & Giveaway!

Pen Chalet carries several colors produced by Tag Stationery Store in Kyoto, Japan including the Kyoto Tag Hisoku Ink. Number 7 on the list, and one of the newest colors produced by this collaboration between the Tag Stationery Store and Kyoto Kusakizome dyeing laboratory. This unique association has created special ink colors using 1000-year-old traditional Japanese fountain pen ink dyeing techniques along with some modern processes that are inspired by Japanese culture and history. The dye masters at Kusakizome have created exceptional colors, shading and sheening characteristics that are light and expressive. Kyoto Tag inks are sold worldwide and are ready to ship today from Pen Chalet.

One of the newest ink colors in Kyoto Tag’s ink collection is the No. 07 Hisoku. This is a limited edition ink, so be sure to pick up a bottle of this remarkable ink before it is no longer available. Kyoto Tag Hisoku ink is a light muted blue-grey color. Unlike any other color we have tried and truly an ink shade of its own. Pelikan’s Edelstein Aquamarine ink, which was Pelikan’s 2016 ink of the year, is similar but a deeper blue, with more green and less grey. Hisoku means “secret” in Japanese and is a perfect name for the soft muted color of this ink. Like the other Kyoto Tag ink colors, Hisoku has nice shading and sheening characteristics, which fountain pen lovers will enjoy.

Continuing reading for a chance to win the bottle of Kyoto Tag Hisoku Ink we used for this review.

Kyoto TAG Kyo-no-oto Hisoku Ink

Kyoto TAG Kyo-no-oto Hisoku Ink

We found the following Traits during our review of Kyoto Tag Hisoku ink that you may find helpful:

Testing Factors

We used French made Rhodia dot pad paper, which doesn’t sheen as well as other paper, but works well with fountain pens and a J. Herbin glass spiral dip pen. The dip pen has a tip that is equivalent to a fine fountain pen nib.

Bottle Sizes

Kyoto Tag Hisoku ink comes in only one size, a 40 ml. glass bottle and is part of the Kyoto Tag Kyo-no-oto ink collection. The bottle is a unique functional shape with a large mouth and simple packaging. The simple white label has the number of Kyoto Tag ink along with the name, in this case No. 07, Hisoku. The modern white heavy cardboard box also comes with a simple letter reflecting the same information as the ink bottle label printed with a unique shaped color sample on the front.


The price point of Kyoto Tag Hisoku ink is on the higher end of the ink spectrum retailing for $28.00 for a 40 ml. glass bottle. Although on the high price range, it is similar to many other luxury ink brands.

Dry Time

During our review we found a quick dry time of approximately 4-5 seconds. This dry time was obtained using a glass dip pen on Rhodia paper.

Bleed Through

Kyoto Tag Hisoku ink is a lightly saturated ink and thus we found absolutely no bleeding during our review, even during the soaking wet cotton swab test.


We found absolutely no feathering during normal use on Rhodia paper. However, during our water test, we did notice some line distortion and feathering but at the test’s wettest points.

Water Test

We conducted a “water test” where we run a wet cotton swab over a dried Kyoto Tag Hisoku ink sample. The results of this test were some line distortion and feathering at the wettest points only and some slight color smearing. Overall Kyoto Tag Hisoku ink held up quite well for a water-based non waterproof ink.

Shading and Sheening

One of the best characteristics of Kyoto Tag inks are its shading and sheening tendencies. We experienced some very nice shading, with a darker blue-grey to a light grey shade. There is also a  light blue tint that is quite beautiful. Kyoto Tag Hisoku ink also produced some slight red sheening on Rhodia paper where the ink pooled during the cotton swab test. The sheening effects would be greater using other types of fountain pen paper as well as broader nibs that lay down more ink.

In Conclusion

Kyoto Tag Hisoku ink is a great new addition to the Kyoto Tag ink collection. It’s a unique soft muted color that can be used for many purposes. It held up well under the water test and has the possibility of some fantastic shading traits. The dry time is very quick but the price is on the high side. Overall it’s a good buy being a limited edition ink color and is unique enough to have it in your collection. We hope you enjoy this newest ink color from Kyoto Tag!

Enter to Win

Enter to win the actual bottle of Kyoto Tag Hisoku ink that we used in this ink review:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

65 thoughts on “Kyoto Tag Hisoku Ink Review & Giveaway!

  1. Ron Parish

    This ink is a beautiful color which I would definitely use. Would you please review some Sheaffer or Waterman inks?

  2. Andrew Mulnix

    I’ve been looking at this ink the past couple months and really think it would be a great addition to my collection!

  3. Daniel B

    I’m really curious about this ink, but it seems to light for me, so I didn’t buy it yet. Of course if I would win it that would be a different matter. 😀

  4. Benjamin R

    This is a good looking blue – is there such a thing as a “dark pastel”? That is what I see with this Kyoto Tag Hisoku. Maybe review something toward the blue side of purple/violet?

  5. Sara garcia

    Gorgeous ink! I love that I’m hearing and seeing all of these brands I’ve never known of before through you guys. Super helpful! Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. Latif Koşu

    hope i will be the one who get the giveaway. as i live in turkey we dont have the chance for getting good and different inks.

  7. Gaby

    Very pretty mellow blue! I’d like to know how wet this could be with Juwo EF which tend to be on the dry side. Thanks!!

  8. Andrea O.

    Interesting color, like the tested dry time, I’m not left handed, but it seems like I’m always smearing something I’ve written.

  9. Gini Cooper

    Such a lovely blue, and I’m not often a fan of blues because they remind me of ballpoint pens. I love that it has sheen and would like to see more reviews of a sheening inks.

  10. matthew fitzgerald

    I would like to see you also use a .8 to 1.1mm width nib (perhaps a dip pen) when you test inks to get an idea how the inks you test might shade with that.Thank you!

  11. Michael Simon

    I have several ‘go to’ inks. My only Pelikan pen is the M205 Aquamarine, and I love the way the Pelikan Edelstein Aquamarine ink shades from the BB nib which Richard Binder ground to a cursive italic for me.

  12. Toni C

    I’ve just purchased my first fountain pen and would love to know if there are any ink recommendations for beginners?

  13. Stephanie Smith

    I’m becoming more fascinated with the lesser-known ink manufacturers you are introducing, like this Kyoto Tag series. Continuing the ink reviews with that emphasis would be helpful. Robert Oster, Nagasawa Kobe, and Bungubox immediately come to mind.
    A thought on reviewing cost – perhaps offering a price per ml of ink will help with the comparison between inks.


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