Pebble Stationery Co Sakura Sumiko notebook

Pebble Stationery Co Tomoe River Notebook Review

John Bosley Reviews 20 Comments

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.

First Impressions

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.

Pebble Stationery Co Sakura Sumiko notebook cover band

Initially, you’ll find your new notebook wrapped with a bit of info on a paper band.

The Details

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

Other features

  • Debossed gold foil decorations on the cover
  • Covered spine for a clean exterior look
  • 350 gsm cover paper
  • Rounded corners
  • Gold foil edge

Actual Use

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.

Pebble Stationery Co Sakura Sumiko notebook cover

The cover of this notebook is gorgeous!

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.

Pebble Stationery Co Sakura Sumiko notebook binding stitching

The stitching for the binding is visible inside the book, but not on the outside.

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.

Pebble Stationery Co Sakura Sumiko notebook name space

Inside the front cover you’ll find a space for your information.

Pebble Stationery Co Sakura Sumiko notebook information

Inside the back cover you’ll find some notebook information.

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.

Pebble Stationery Co Sakura Sumiko notebook page numbers

Each page is numbered!

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.

Pebble Stationery Co Sakura Sumiko notebook gold edge

The gold edged paper of this notebook is a beautiful feature.

Pebble Stationery Co Sakura Sumiko notebook lay flat

This notebook just invites you to write in it.

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!

Conclusion

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!

Pebble Stationery Co Sakura Sumiko notebook with pen

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.

Comments 20

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      Exactly, Chris. I didn’t want to mention the price in the review as it’s going to be different depending on where you live and what the exchange rate and shipping are, but it’s definitely comparable to other similar notebooks.

  1. I love all the gold detailing! It’s really beautiful but not over the top. I guess this is another notebook going on my wishlist! Thanks for the review 🙂

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  2. Helpful review noting you did get the book to lay flat. I usually stay away from that style because they don’t lie flat. Thanks!!

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  3. This looks like a great deal and it is a handsome notebook. I bought a package of TR loose sheets last year and I love the sheen & shading it offers but to be honest, I prefer to write on Clairefontaine or Rhodia for most things. Maybe I’ll feel differently when I try a notebook with TR. Can’t hurt right? 😁

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  4. Most informative review John. Thanks for that. I must confess that I spent a little too much time on your site today. Found your methodology on testing papers & your paper reviews very interesting. Am now at a stage where I’m getting very particular about paper. Am obsessed with Tsubame notebooks at the moment ☺.

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      Glad to hear you enjoyed it! I hope you didn’t speed too much time here at the expense of anything else. It’s strange that after pens and inks, paper is another thing to become obsessed with and really analyze. I don’t think I’ve ever tried Tsubame before. I’ll have to find some!

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