Ink Review: Nagasawa Kobe Sorakuen

Review by Tina Koyama

Sorakuen (“tea green”) is the second ink I’ve tried in the Nagasawa Kobe line. As I mentioned when I reviewed Nagasawa Kobe Sannomiya, choosing from the collection’s 26 hues was a daunting task, but I can never get enough greens – especially greens that fall on the yellow side rather than the blue side of green.

Kobe Ink Sorakuen (“tea green”)

In looking through my ink samples, I realized I desperately needed Sorakuen, because I hardly have any greens with the right amount of yellow without tipping all the way into the lime group (which often tends to be too pale for writing, especially with a finer nib). I was thrilled by how closely it matches Private Reserve Avocado, which used to be my all-time favorite green ink until I noticed that it has the terrible habit of leaving a crusty residue on some nibs, especially my Pilot Vanishing Points. Everyone tells me it’s not harmful – just wipe it off with a tissue, they say – but clicking a VP for a quick note and revealing that disgusting mess is a nastiness I can’t tolerate. I stopped using Avocado for that reason, and I’m happy to replace it with Sorakuen.

Sailor Jentle Tokiwa Matsu is close but slightly cooler and with a brownish sheen. Sorakuen is not as complex; it’s a more straightforward shade of subdued green.

Sorakuen color comparisons

I inked up one of my juiciest pens – a Platinum 3776 Century with a music nib. Manufactured by Sailor, both of the Nagasawa Kobe inks I’ve tried dry quickly like their parent inks (which is one reason Sailor inks are among my favorites). Writing carefully and somewhat more slowly than my natural pace, I didn’t smudge or smear Sorakuen at all on Tomoe River paper.

Kobe Ink Sorakuen writing sample

Kobe Ink Sorakuen samples

With the broad music nib, I made a simple sketch and washed the heavy lines to see what the diluted link looks like. Unlike Sannomiya, which separates into interesting sub-hues, Sorakuen’s washed lines stay the same hue as the full-strength ink. Regardless, I love this rich, matcha green hue.

Kobe Ink Sorakuen sketch


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3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Beautiful green! My current fave green is Alt-Goldgrün from Rohret-Klingner but this one is different enough to be truly tempting.

  2. I share your preference for green inks that avoid the use of blue to achieve saturation (a Sailor example here would be Miruai). Sorajuen is a favourite and I purchased my bottle from the Nagasawa Pen Shop in Kobe on a brief visit there, adding a layer to my enjoyment of the ink. I do like Tokiwa-matsu, but find it a tad too yellowy. Epinard is my absolute preference. I have a bottle from its brief period of re-issue, but guard its use carefully now that it is again unobtainable. I favour Sailor inks in general because of their superior flow characteristics and Sailor pens for their tactile and characterful nibs.

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