Midori MD Notebook Review cross atx fountain pen

Midori MD Notebook Review

John BosleyReviews 15 Comments

I have long been a fan of Midori paper. I’ve used it for journaling, writing letters and for doodling and have always enjoyed writing on it. This notebook is no different. Its design is very clean and simple and it handles fountain pen ink very well. You should note, though, that if you’re used to using other notebooks a Midori notebook might seem a little different to you when you first see it.

Midori MD Notebook Review

This is how the Midori MD notebook will look when you purchase it.

First Impressions

When you first remove the Midori MD notebook from its packaging, the first thing that strikes you is the exposed spine of the notebook. Midori leaves the spine of the notebook exposed, which gives it a minimalist and slightly unfinished look. Once you get used to it you’ll barely notice it, but it can be a little surprising at first. Once you move past that, you’ll notice some of the other things that came with the notebook, specifically the paraffin paper cover and the label stickers. The notebook has a very clean feel with its all-white design.

Midori MD Notebook Review cover

The cover is clean and simple.

Midori MD Notebook Review spine

The spine of this notebook might take a bit of getting used to.

The Details

Let’s take a look at the Midori MD notebook and see what it’s all about:

  • Pages: 176 (88 sheets)
  • Paper Weight: 68gsm?
  • Binding: Stitch
  • Page Style: Lined (7mm), Grid (5mm), Blank
  • Size: A4, A5, A6, B6

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

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

Other features

  • Page marker
  • Label stickers
  • Cream paper
  • Paraffin paper cover
Midori MD Notebook Review cover detail

The Midori MD logo is the only embellishment added to the cover.

Midori MD Notebook Review page ribbon

Here you can see where the page ribbon was added to the notebook.

Midori MD Notebook Review wrapper info

Here is some additional information found on the paper notebook wrapper.

Actual Use

While a Midori MD notebook might look simple, it is full of features. Whereas many notebooks start with the first page as soon as you open the cover, the Midori MD has a cover page where you can write your contact info, notebook title or anything else that you’d like. You can also use the included sticker if you prefer instead of writing directly on the cover page.

Midori MD Notebook Review cover page

The cover page allows you to add some personal information.

Each notebook has a stitch binding which allows it to lay flat while in use. In my experience, this actually works and the notebook will immediately lay flat with little to no “encouragement”. This is partly due to the fact that there isn’t really a cover and also due to the higher number of small signatures. It also has a single ribbon page marker, which is helpful for keeping track of your progress in the notebook. I mentioned that the notebook comes with a thin paraffin cover. You can choose to keep this on the notebook or remove it. Because the cover is an ivory-colored card stock, it will probably show dirt and wear more than other notebooks, so having an included option for cover protection is a nice feature. Since the cover is basically a blank slate, you might also choose to decorate it with drawings or stickers.

Midori MD Notebook Review signatures

Many small signatures allow the notebook to easily lay flat.

Midori MD Notebook Review page marker

The page marker ribbon is thin and fine.

Midori MD Notebook Review paraffin cover

The paraffin cover adds a bit of protection to the notebook.

Writing on this paper is a wonderful experience. As Midori describes it, their paper “has the perfect balance between smoothness and a little resistance, ensuring comfort and making writing a pleasure.” For anyone who enjoys a little feedback while they write, this paper may very well become a favorite. The grid pattern is printed on this paper in a light blue-green color. It doesn’t really interfere with writing or look intrusive, mainly because of the open box design (it is not a true grid, as the vertical lines don’t connect with each horizontal line above).

Midori MD Notebook Review grid

You can see the grid pattern used in the Midori MD notebook.

As for feathering or bleeding, this paper is excellent and I haven’t experienced any of either one so far. While it has a medium amount of ghosting, writing on both sides of a page should not be a problem for most people.

Midori MD Paper Test front

Midori MD Paper Test: Front

Midori MD Paper Test back

Midori MD Paper Test: Back

This paper also shows a good amount of shading and sheen, which is very surprising for how much quicker inks dry on it compared to other papers with similar amounts of sheen. All of the different inks I have used with it look very good. The cream color of the paper is light enough that it does not drastically change the appearance of the ink.


Midori MD notebooks are very fountain pen friendly and are not very difficult to find. While they don’t show as much sheen as Tomoe River paper, they do show as much as many other high-sheen paper options. Midori MD notebooks are probably one of the most well-rounded options available today thanks to their features, great ink-handling capabilities and decent dry times. Regardless of your needs, you’ll have a hard time finding a better notebook than a Midori MD.

Interested in trying this paper before buying a notebook? Head over to my shop and pick up a paper sample pack.

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

Midori MD 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)

Fountain Pen Love Overall Rating

Pros: Minimalist design, wonderful paper with great sheen and decent dry times
Cons: Design may not appeal to everyone, no color options
Value Rating: 3.71 Stars, Cost per A5 sheet: $0.11
Who this notebook is for: Anyone looking for a well-rounded notebook that will show off their inks
Upgrade to this notebook from: Leuchtturm1917 Softcover notebook
Upgrade from this notebook to: Graphilo notebook

Comments 15

  1. The Midori MD is my favorite notebook right now for the very reasons you mention, John! I especially love how it shows sheen. Another nice feature is that it seems to resist hand oils much better than some others, like the Life notebooks–that’s the main reason I don’t like using Life notebooks. Keep up the great work!

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      You are absolutely correct about the hand oils on Midori MD versus Life. As much as I like Life paper, I am always worried to use it for fear of feathering. Thanks so much for reading!

  2. I think this Midori notebook’s paper weight is more than 68gsm. It’s thicker than Traveler’s company notebook which also use MD paper and it’s 80gsm. So I think maybe it’s around 90gsm?

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  3. Hi John, I just got a lovely TWSBI fountain pen and I just ordered this paper thanks to your recommendation. What would be the best paper for writing letters (and envelopes)? Thanks for the great information!

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      Hi Billy, I think you’re really going to like the Midori MD notebooks! If you do, Midori also makes stationery, but I’m not sure about matching envelopes. Two other great options are Clairefontaine Triomphe and G. Lalo Verge de France. I know the G. Lalo also has matching envelopes. Those are the three main papers I use for letter writing.

      1. Thanks for the kind reply! I do like paper and have several kinds of linen textured paper that my fountain pen doesn’t work well with. I have Hammermill 32lb Paper, 98 Bright, I use w my printer and this one works really well w my pen AND is very inexpensive. Fancy Japanese & French paper is right up my alley and I can’t wait to get my hands on them. They do cost more, but seem like an affordable luxury. Thank you for pointing me in this direction!

  4. Midori emailed me back saying that their MD paper is about 70gsm; the weight varies depending on the conditions under which the paper was made, i.e. temperature and humidity. On a personal note, I will add that ruling (lines, grid, dots) also affects the paper’s gsm because of the ink’s additional weight.

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  5. How does the ghosting on Midori compares to that on Tomoe River 68gsm? I’m trying to decide which notebook to get, and I prefer a little less ghosting, but can tolerate some.

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      Kate, I would say that Midori MD and TR68 are very similar in the amount of ghosting they have, but if I had to choose which is better I’d say that the Midori has just a bit less. I use a Midori MD notebook for my bullet journal and have no problem using both sides of a page. Hope that helps!

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  6. Hi John! Do you have a suggestion for the best gel pen to use with this paper? I normally use a Sarasa Clip, but am lopoking for a notebook where there won’t be much ghosting on the other side of the page. Thank you!

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