review: pilot iroshizuku ina-ho - ink between the teeth

Oct 16, 2017

review: pilot iroshizuku ina-ho

Hey everybody! Welcome back for another ink review. I'm working through the ink samples that I picked up while I was in Toronto. I hope you enjoy this review!

Ever since I saw Ina-ho on Aileen's Instagram feed, I've been very intrigued. It's a color that I don't think I've ever seen before; I've always been a fan of interesting greens, and it seems that quite a few brands have their own version of a "standard" green.

A post shared by Aileen (@penfiend) on

I tend not to buy Iroshizuku inks because they're a bit expensive. You certainly pay for the luxury (more info on that later). I usually buy the smaller 15 ml bottles, as I've only ever bought them in Taiwan, and most stores don't sell the larger ones. I have to say that the small bottles are very enticing. They're beautiful in their own right: they come in a set of three, nestled in foam and encased in a plastic, clamshell case. In the U.S., you usually have to purchase in pre-made sets; in Taiwan, I've only ever seen them in choose-your-own displays. 15 ml is a good size: you get a nice number of fills in your average cartridge/converter, and you can test out colors before you splurge for the larger size.

I purchased a sample of this ink from Wonder Pens during my trip to Toronto in September. It cost CAD$2.75 for 2ml of ink.
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There's something enchanting about the color that I don't think I've seen before in other inks; it has a dusty, green-gold hue, not as olive as other yellow-greens, and certainly not completely gold. My test above can't capture the color correctly, which is a real shame. I compared it to two other inks in my collection that I thought it might have a passing resemblance to: Rohrer & Klingner Alt-Goldgrun, and J. Herbin Ambre de Birmanie. And there's very, very little similar. Ina-ho really is in its own category. It sticks out like a sore thumb in line-ups of green inks, and brown inks, and yellow inks. It truly is its own shade.

So how does it perform? It matches up with my expectations, thanks to my experience with other Iroshizuku inks. It flows smoothly with a touch of wetness. I find it to be the kind of ink that you can throw in any pen and expect it to do well.

It has a touch of water resistance; you'll be able to salvage some of your writing in the case of a disaster, but it's not the ink to use to write under a downpour. It's not as bad as the other inks in the Iroshizuku line, but I wouldn't give myself a false sense of security with this ink.

It has a nice amount of shading, particularly in the broad nib. It tends to pool in the "outline" way, where some letters will have a dark "rim." There are places where it almost turns brown, then areas where it's almost golden. The first word that comes to mind is deceptive, which isn't quite right, but I think it captures the ways this ink shifts on the page.

After using this ink for a couple of weeks, I'm completely enamored. There's something about this ink that I love; perhaps it's the fact that it's so unique. I don't think there's anything on the market that's quite like Ina-ho, not even in the more indie brands. I would certainly purchase a full bottle of this ink!

So here's that bit about luxury. The price of the ink has dropped recently: previously, you could find a bottle for a cool USD$28. Nowadays, it's closer to $20 (which I'm very happy about!).

[EDIT 10/25/17] I could have sworn that I read that Iroshizuku bottles were now being mass-produced from somewhere or the other. Well, until I can find definitive proof that's the case, I'm cutting this bit out of my write-up here. Luckily, Iroshizuku is cheaper now, so feel free to splurge a little!

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