Sailor Rikyu-cha fountain pen ink review bottle box

Ink of the Week – Sailor Rikyu-cha

John BosleyFountain Pen Ink 8 Comments

Kicking off my Ink of the Week series is one of my favorite inks, Sailor Rikyu-cha. For every ink, I’m choosing a random number that corresponds to an ink that I own and this happened to get picked this week. I feel lucky that this ink came up first since it is one that I’m already familiar with. Even so, I’ve never had five different pens inked up with it at the same time. That in itself was a learning experience! So what did I learn about this ink? Read on to find out.

Sailor Rikyu-cha

To start, let’s take a look at the ink itself. Sailor Rikyu-cha is part of Sailors Shikiori line of inks. It is currently available in a 20ml bottle, but it used to come in a 50ml bottle as part of the Sailor Jentle Four Seasons inks. While I would have loved to have the larger bottle, I missed out and could only get the 20ml bottle. At least the ink is exactly the same.

Sailor Rikyu-cha fountain pen ink review doodle

Here’s a doodle detail showing the range of colors this ink can give.

I have never really been able to figure out if this is a brown or a green ink. In my head I call it green, but it’s really more brown than green. Or is it? Regardless of what color it is, I love it. It has great shading, is an interesting color, has a hint of red sheen to keep things interesting and is well behaved. It also does very interesting things with water, so if you enjoy using your inks with a water brush or wet paper, you’ll probably like this ink.

Sailor Rikyu-cha fountain pen ink review color

When spread across paper, this ink looks brown with some green and hints of red sheen.

Sailor Rikyu-cha fountain pen ink review water chromatography

When Rikyu-cha meets water, blue dyes appear!

Those same blue dyes make it what I’d consider a semi-waterproof ink. When it gets wet, the green washes away, but a nice blue version of your writing remains perfectly readable.

The Pens I Used

Each week I choose five different pens to fill with the ink I’m testing. My goal is to get a variety of nib sizes and styles, as well as a mix of modern and vintage pens. Here are the pens I chose this week and some writing samples from each:

Sailor Rikyu-cha fountain pen ink review pens used

Pens used this week (L-R): Lamy Safari, Cross ATX, TWSBI Diamond 580 ALR, Parker Challenger, Waterman Emblem (?)

Lamy Safari – F nib

I was the most surprised by how Rikyu-cha performed in this fine Lamy nib. I personally prefer broad, wet nibs because they can really show off a darker inks color. To my surprise, the color of this ink really came through in a fine nib! I could see the brown and green colors and it showed shading as well. It’s not as drastic as in a broad nib, but if you prefer a fine nib and want a fun ink to use that still looks dark and professional, this would be a great choice.

Sailor Rikyu-cha fountain pen ink review fine nib writing sample

Here’s a writing sample with a fine nib.

Cross ATX – M nib

The nib on this Cross is a medium, but I think it is wetter than the broad nib I used. With that being said, it showed a bit less shading and was darker than the broad nib, making the ink look more dark brown and less green. This ink is nice to use in a wet nib, as it has relatively fast dry times.

Sailor Rikyu-cha fountain pen ink review medium nib writing sample

Here’s a writing sample with a medium nib

TWSBI Diamond 580 ALR – B nib

I really like this combination. I used it to write quite a bit and also do to do some doodles. The broad TWSBI nib shows off the color and has great shading. Out of all of the pens I filled this week, I would definitely use this pairing again.

Sailor Rikyu-cha fountain pen ink review broad nib writing sample

Here’s a writing sample with a broad nib.

Waterman Emblem? (vintage) – #7 14k Waterman Ideal nib

This pen has a fairly flexible medium-fine nib on it. Out of all of the pens I filled this week, this was probably my least favorite. Due to the flexibility of the nib, I found it hard to control my line width and the ink showed up as a mix of very dark and shaded, depending on how I was writing. When I really flexed the nib, this ink shined, but that’s not how I write so I’d only use this combo if I wanted to do some flourishes or really ornate script.

Sailor Rikyu-cha fountain pen ink review flex writing sample

Here’s a writing sample with a medium-fine flex nib. Notice the irregular ink output.

Parker Challenger (vintage) – #2 Welty Gold nib

This is another vintage pen with a flexible medium-fine nib on it, but it doesn’t give as much line variation while writing as the Waterman, so the line width is more consistent. Still, I found that there were some dark spots in my writing, so maybe it was the pen?

Sailor Rikyu-cha fountain pen ink review vintage pen writing sample

Writing sample with vintage nib. Notice how much more regular this writing is than the previous pen sample.


I used Rikyu-cha on a variety of papers and it performed well on all of them. On cheap copy paper I saw no feathering or bleed through with the pens that I tested. It shaded well and looked great with pretty much any pen/paper combination. Sheen showed up on papers that typically show sheen. I’d say this ink could easily be used on pretty much any type of paper.

Sailor Rikyu-cha fountain pen ink review writing on Leuchtturm paper

Writing sample on Leuchtturm paper

Sailor Rikyu-cha fountain pen ink review profolio oasis

Writing sample on Profolio Oasis paper

Cleaning The Ink Out Of Pens

For this week, I ended up using two pens with converters, two vintage pens with sacs, and one piston filler. I’m happy to say that Rikyu-cha was very easy to clean out of all of the pens. While it is a dark ink, it isn’t super saturated, so cleaning was quick and easy.


I love inks with interesting colors and shading and Sailor Rikyu-cha definitely fits that description. Depending on the nib that you use, it may have a dark brown or an olive green color, or more likely it will have both! A subtle red sheen gives it some extra visual interest when used on the right paper. When mixed with water, it’s possible to bring out blues with the chromatography. Relatively fast dry times make it a reasonable choice for daily use. While it may not be for everyone, I think it should appeal to a broad audience thanks to its combination of visual interest and dark color.

Sailor Rikyu-cha fountain pen ink review sample tomoe river paper

Miscellaneous tests on Tomoe River 68gsm paper

Comments 8

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      Thanks! For the chromatography, I’m just putting a bit of water down on paper and then dabbing some ink around the edges so that it works its way into the wet paper and separates. I also have chromatography strips that I’ve done for most of the inks that I own, but I don’t feel like they represent what you actually get with water on paper, which is how most people will get their color separations when playing with an ink.

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