Ink Review: Iroshizuku Asa-gao


Pilot’s Iroshizuku line of inks typically receive good reviews, and is considered some of the highest quality ink out there. But most, if not all, of the inks in this line are a little expensive. (Okay, a LOT expensive).

Before I shelled out the cash, I thought it best to purchase a few samples and see if they’re really all that and a bag of chips. I ordered a lot of samples. So, an entire series of posts are in order.

This review will examine the qualities of Asa-gao (Morning Glory). Beautiful name, don’t you think?


~Flow: Good

Like most Iroshizuku inks, Asa-gao flows pretty well within my Safari. It starts up immediately, even after leaving the nib uncovered for five minutes.

Ink Review: Iroshizuku Asa-gao // Writing Abby~Shading: Good

This ink shades well, and it’s quite pretty when it does. The colors can range from a deep blue, to an almost purple.

~Feathering: None-Low

Unlike some of the other Iroshizuku inks, Asa-gao actually works really well on cheap, think papers with little feathering.

~Lubrication: EXCELLENT

This ink lets my Safari write smoothly. However, the performance isn’t as consistent as I’d like. Sometimes, the ink writes smoothly, sometimes it doesn’t.

~Saturation: High

Iroshizuku inks are highly saturated, and Asa-gao is no exception.

Ink Review:  Iroshizuku Asa-gao // Writing Abby

~Show-through: Low-Medium

It’s a tough price to pay, but you’re going to have show-through with this ink. Especially on cheap papers, but still, it’s not all that bad.

~Bleed-through: None-Low

Again, on cheap paper this ink will bleed-through. But only slightly.


Here’s an example of some cursive writing on thin paper. You can see how much this ink feathers.


Here’s another example of some cursive writing. This time, I used cheap notebook paper.


Here, we have a close-up example of printed writing on cheap notebook paper.



Iroshizuku Asa-gao is a beautiful blue ink, capable of migrating between both work and daily life. It’s a tame ink, which makes it suitable for paperwork and other professional duties. It has a pleasant shading range, and the main color is a nice blue. It’s not purple, it’s not too light, it’s just blue.

Asa-gao has a good flow rate in my Lamy nib, and if it works in my Lamy, I’m assuming it will work well with more expensive nibs. I’m not sure about other F or EF nibs, though. Asa-gao can be a bit temperamental with the flow rate. Most of the time, it’s like writing with butter. Occasionally, the ink won’t flow as well as it did the moment before, however, I’m hesitant to blame this on the ink. It might just be my Safari.

This ink lubricates the nib quite well. Lamy nibs, especially on the Safari, are not known for their smoothness. Asa-gao makes the nib write smoothly, which is a great aspect of this ink. However, this lubrication doesn’t happen consistently. That notches this ink down, slightly, in my book.

Asa-gao is a highly saturated ink, and I haven’t come across one yet that didn’t bleed and show-through cheap paper.

To conclude this rather long-winded review, I recommend this ink for writing. This ink is anything but waterproof, and that’s why I hesitate to recommend it for artists, including calligraphers. If you’re brave, go ahead and buy it. The color is gorgeous. But, don’t drink anything near your desk. Or else…yeah, you’re in for a mess.

4-star Review for Pilot's Iroshizuku Asa-gao ink

Have you tried any inks in Pilot’s Iroshizuku series? What do you think of Asa-gao?


Read other Iroshizuku reviews:

  • Tsutsuji
  • Yama-budo
  • Take-sumi

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