Kokuyo Campus CYO-BO notebook with Kaweco fountain pen

Kokuyo Campus High Grade (CYO-BO) Notebook Review

John BosleyReviews 8 Comments

Kokuyo has an impressive lineup of Campus notebooks, the most popular of which is their inexpensive notebook aimed at students. Look beyond that basic Campus notebook, though, and you’ll find a variety of notebooks with higher-quality paper options. Today we’re going to take a look at one of those notebooks, the Kokuyo Campus High Grade notebook with CYO-BO paper.

Kokuyo Campus CYO-BO notebook cover

Here is the notebook cover.

First Impressions

Like all of the Campus notebooks, this one isn’t very exciting. It’s basically paper sandwiched between two cardstock covers with no flashy designs or useful extras. This particular notebook comes with either a blue or a pink cover and has a silver spine, which is nice. Opening up the notebook, you’ll see the first page ready for you to write on. That’s about it! Nothing fancy here.

The Details

  • Pages: 60 (30 sheets)
  • Paper Weight: 100gsm
  • Binding: Glue
  • Page Style: Lined (6mm or 7mm)
  • Size: B5

Kokuyo Campus CYO-BO notebook cover detail

Ink-handling characteristics (A table with the following properties can be found at the bottom of this post)

  • Sheen: High
  • Shading: Average
  • Bleeding: Very Low
  • Ghosting: Low
  • Feathering: Very Low
  • Dry Time: Average

Other features

  • Top and bottom page margins
  • Line for page number and date on each page
Kokuyo Campus CYO-BO notebook silver spine

The silver spine adds a premium touch to this notebook.

Actual Use

Using this notebook is, well, like using a notebook. Due to the glued spine, it doesn’t immediately open and lay flat, but it doesn’t take much encouragement to get it to stay open. Once it’s open, you’ll be greeted with pages that have light-grey lines on them. The top and bottom have heavy lines, giving the page margins. The top margin has a space for a page number and a date. Both the top and bottom margins also have marks at 7mm intervals so that you can divide up your page into a grid if you want (I would assume the notebook with 6mm line spacing has 6mm intervals across the top and bottom).

Kokuyo Campus CYO-BO notebook page lines

You can see the date/page space at the top-right of the page, as well as the division markers along the top margin.

Once you start writing in this notebook, you’ll understand what makes it so special. Kokuyo’s CYO-BO paper is their highest-quality paper and, weighing in at 100gsm, definitely feels like it. The paper is very nice to write on, as it is smooth but not slick. It shows sheen and shading, but has low ghosting and no observed bleed through or feathering. Dry times are not too bad for a paper of this quality.

Kokuyo Campus CYO-BO notebook test front

Writing test – Front

Kokuyo Campus CYO-BO notebook test back

Writing test – Back

This is the exact same paper that is found in the Kokuyo Century Edition notebook. While that notebook is much nicer, it is also a lot harder to find. If you want the same amazing paper in a notebook that you won’t be afraid to use, this is the notebook for you.


I took a look at the price difference between this notebook and the basic Campus notebooks and was surprised to see it’s less than $2 (both have the same number of pages). In my opinion, this is money well spent. These notebooks are superior to the standard Campus notebooks. They don’t have any extras and won’t be your next bullet journal, but they will make note taking more enjoyable.

As you’ve probably guessed, the main reason you’d want one of these notebooks is the paper. With thick, high-quality paper, you will be able to enjoy the way that your inks look while writing on both sides of a sheet. While the notebooks won’t turn heads, they are functional and are something you won’t worry about using on a regular basis. With a reasonable price and great paper, these may just become your new favorite notebooks for daily use!

Kokuyo Campus CYO-BO notebook back cover

If you’d like a bit more information about how I test papers and notebooks, I wrote an article about my paper rating system.

Interested in trying this paper before buying a notebook? Head over to my shop and pick up a Custom Fountain Pen Paper Sample Pack.

Kokuyo Campus High Grade (CYO-BO) Notebook Review
  • Sheen (higher is better)
  • Shading (higher is better)
  • Bleeding (higher is better)
  • Ghosting (higher is better)
  • Feathering (higher is better)
  • Dry Time (higher is better)

Kokuyo Campus High Grade (CYO-BO) Notebook Review

Pros: Inexpensive, great paper
Cons: Boring, glue binding
Value Rating: 3.43 Stars, Cost per B5 sheet: $0.18
Who this notebook is for: Anyone who wants a great writing experience in a notebook you’re not afraid to use.
Upgrade to this notebook from: Kokuyo Campus Notebook
Upgrade from this notebook to: Kokuyo Century Edition Notebook

Comments 8

  1. Kokuyo is interesting paper brand!
    I originally looked at their “standard” Campus notebooks which are acceptable as you say, but not excellent. Last year I bought a Jibun Techo planner and feel I’m love with their Thin paper and wanted absolutely to find a notebook in this paper… not realising at that time that it didn’t exist. In my search I came across this book (which I only found at Jetpens and I’m in France). I also bought the Century book.

    Then at then end of last year they finally released thin paper in a notebook and notepad although it’s still not easy to find. I recommend thin paper as an excellent competitor to TRP.

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      1. Hi John
        They have another paper called “Thin paper”. It’s not the Mio.
        It’s recently become available in the Century line. Jetpens sell it.

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  2. The nice thing about plain covers on notebooks is that they provide a canvas for all the stickers people like me accumulate.

    Thanks for the review. For what do CYO-BO and MIO stand, though?

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      This is so true! I’m not a big sticker person, but can definitely see the appeal of plain notebook covers + stickers.

      I don’t know what CYO-BO stands for and couldn’t find anytihing online. MIO stands for Mobile Ideal Original, I think referring to how portable it is? Not a very good acronym if you ask me, but that’s what it means.

  3. Looks like a great notebook. Wish it came in a smaller size. I did recently find a Walmart 5″ x 7″ notebook that had paper which worked pretty well with fountain pens and cost $1.86 for a pack of two.

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