You probably already know that I’m a sucker for any notebook that I haven’t already tried. When Pebble Stationery Co. contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in trying out one of their notebooks, of course I said yes! I have seen them online and in my Instagram feed, but since as far as I know they aren’t sold by any retailers here in the US, I haven’t ever actually seen one in person. I was definitely curious to see what makes them so special.
When the package arrived, I was over the moon to find their limited edition Sakura Sumiko Notebook waiting for me inside. This is easily one of the most attractive notebooks I have ever seen, so visually it couldn’t have made a better first impression. Once I removed it from the cellophane envelope and got a closer look, small details kept revealing themselves to me. What a fun experience! I’ll go into more detail down below, but first let’s get some basics out of the way.
I won’t be reviewing the paper, as it is Tomoe River and behaves as you would expect. If you want more info about the paper used in this notebook, you can read my Tomoe River 52gsm paper review.
Let’s take a closer look at the Sakura Sumiko notebook:
- Pages: 120 (60 sheets)
- Paper Weight: 52gsm
- Binding: Stitch
- Page Style: Dot – 5mm spacing
- Size: A5
- Debossed gold foil decorations on the cover
- Covered spine for a clean exterior look
- 350 gsm cover paper
- Rounded corners
- Gold foil edge
Since it made the biggest impression on me, let’s start off with the looks and design of the notebook. As I mentioned, this is easily one of the most beautiful notebooks I’ve seen. The matte black cover is accented with gold foil flowers and petals, along with the company name. It gives an impression of quality and elegance. The fact that the stitching on the spine is covered is a very nice touch, as you’re not distracted by any differently colored stitching. Speaking of the cover, it is made of a heavy, 350gsm cardstock that has a nice look and feel.
Because it only consists of one signature, I was concerned that it wouldn’t easily lay flat. Initially it didn’t, but after slightly flexing the pages and stretching out the spine a little, it now lays flat very well. This flexing didn’t really even affect the look of the cover or spine.
Once you get past the gorgeous cover and open it up, you’ll see a space inside the front cover for your personal info. It’s not merely printed on, but also debossed in gold foil. At the bottom of the inside-rear cover you’ll find some information about the notebook, again in gold foil.
The notebook doesn’t have any end sheets or index, so the first page of paper you’ll see is Page 1 of the notebook. That’s right, these pages are numbered! The combination of page numbers and lack of an index may be a big deal to some people, but I don’t mind. If I really wanted to add an index to this notebook, I’d just create my own on Page 1. Total page count for the notebook is 120 pages, but since it uses Tomoe River 52gsm paper, the notebook is still nice and thin. The only option for the paper is 5mm-spaced dot grid and 52gsm Tomoe River paper.
This notebook has a few other standout features. The corners are rounded, which in my experience helps prevent them from getting bent and banged up. Another feature that doesn’t add to the performance of the notebook but made a big impression on me is the gold foil edge on the paper. This feature, combined with the beautiful cover, truly makes these notebooks visually stunning.
Do I have any complaints about the notebook? Not many. As I mentioned, the lack of index may be a turnoff to some people. There also aren’t any extras, so no rear pocket, ribbon marker or elastic closure, but honestly these would just add bulk to the notebook. My biggest concern may be the cover material. You already know that I’m a huge fan of how it looks, but the matte black paper tends to show scuffs and marks a little easier than other covers, so I’m afraid that with heavy use the cover of this notebook will start to look beat up faster than other notebooks. I will admit that I am jumping to this conclusion based on the fact that after light handling for the review I already saw a few scuffs show up, so maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised!
Now I have a pretty good idea of what makes Pebble Stationery Co. notebooks special. They are very high quality. From the feel to the design to the materials, there is no doubt that they are a quality product. This particular notebook is a limited edition version, but if that doesn’t matter to you or if it’s sold out, you can always pick up their A5 Cahier Notebook. While I haven’t seen it in person, it has all of the same specs as the Sakura Sumiko in this review, so I’m assuming it’s the same (and even costs a bit less). If you love Tomoe River paper and don’t want a big monster of a notebook to carry around, this Sakura Sumiko Notebook would be an excellent (and beautiful) choice!
If you’d like a bit more information about how I test papers and notebooks, I wrote an article about my paper rating system.
Disclaimer: This notebook was provided to me for free for the purposes of this review. All opinions in this review are my own and were not influenced by the generosity of Pebble Stationery Co.