Biotope (ビオトープ) Paper Review

Ilan Garibi and Gadi Vishne
Look and Feel
Weight (gsm)
109.1cm by 78.8cm; 15cm, 24cm, 35cm, 70cm squares
Color palette
Solid, slightly rough
Model Suitability (out of 10):
Attributes (out of 10):
Wear and Tear
Tensile Strength
Bending Resistance
Final score

This is the second Japanese paper we reviewed. Just like the first one, Karaperapisu, Biotope (ビオトープ) is distributed by Takeo and packaged by Toyo. Again, we were not able to get official data, so this review will solely be based on our tests.

As you will see, this paper is a bit of a mystery. In some ways, it is very average – it’s not super strong, nor thin, nor specially textured. Yet we all absolutely loved it! It feels stronger than the scores suggest and folding multiple layers works better than you think would be possible at its thickness.

Without further ado, lets head on to the detailed review.


  1. Biotope is produced in 18 colors
    Thickness: The paper weighs 60gsm and has a thickness of 90 microns. This puts it at the high end of thin papers.
  2. Sizes: There's a complete range of sizes - you can find full sheets at 109.1cm × 78.8cm, or pre-cut squares with a side length of 70cm, 35cm, 24cm, or 15cm.
  3. Colors: Takeo produces 18 different colors. sells 10 shades: blue marine, forest green, moss green, yellow ocher, cotton white, amber red, berry red, reddish brown, cacao beans, and earth brown.
  4. Paper Coloring or Colorability: As this paper is only available in dark colors, we did not test its colorability.
  5. Texture: The paper is rough to the touch. It is almost completely opaque. While the color is solid, it's not even: you can see the grain direction.
  6. Photogenic: The colors are solid and the paper has a flat texture, which is pleasing to the eye.
  7. Aging and Wear and Tear: This paper scores averagely, similar to good quality kami. Biotope scored 442 with the grain and 504 against the grain. In comparison, kami scored 500 and 520, respectively. We have no data in regards for acidity, but the model I have had on display for more than a year is still as good as new. 8 out of 10.
  8. Memory: Although the numbers for tensile strength and bending resistance (see below) are not promising, this parameter is surprisingly good, even very good. The paper is stiff and you get sharp and strong creases with little effort. 9 out of 10.
  9. Forgiveness: Reversing a fold is done effortlessly. 9.5 out of 10.
  10. Tensile Strength: We refer here to the maximum stress the paper can undergo while being stretched or pulled. In our tests, Biotope achieved similar results to kami: it can hold 6.4 kg before snapping, stretching by 5.4 cm. 6 out of 10.
  11. Bending Resistance: This section rates the amount of force you need to apply to get a sharp crease and how strong the paper is while being curved. The results (50 and 21) are below average. To compare, Japanese Foil achieved 52 and 30 at a thickness of only 50 microns. 6 out of 10.
  12. Price group: Moderate - fine folding - for showing in a monthly meeting.
  13. Where to buy:

Test results


Pineapple tessellation by Ilan Garibi, 31×31cm

Surprisingly good for tessellations!

Right after folding the first grid lines I had this urge to smile - the paper folds beautifully! The creases are sharp and so easy to reverse. However, there is a major difference between folding with or against the grain. For the diagonal precreases some tension is needed to break the paper from corner to corner of every small grid square. It works very nicely with this paper. Creases are visible and easy to feel, so I could complete this phase quickly. Collapsing the model went well, too. In the first phase of collapsing, the paper fell into place with a snappy click. In the second, much more demanding phase of collapsing, I did get some crumples here and there. Still, the paper really jumped into place and I was able to easily complete a very accurately folded model!


Lion by Satoshi Kamiya, 35×35cm

Very good for complex models and shaping.

The paper is strong, and you can feel it immediately. Although a single layer may become too soft if overhandled, a few layers together allow shaping and modeling easily. The paper has a very good memory, and after reversing a fold line it goes well in both directions. While I did have some difficulties with the mane, I managed to shape it.

Modular/Unit Origami

Flowery Qube by Ilan Garibi; 6 units, 15×15cm

The rough texture enhances the stability of the model.

The units, which are simple to fold, are no challenge for this paper. Its texture is a little rough, and the creases are sharp. I managed to puff the flowery part, but not exactly as I wanted. The paper is not highly agile, but thankfully just enough. Friction is high, which helps when connecting the units. Thanks to that the final structure is stable, even though the design has no lock.

3D models

Rabbit by Hideo Komatsu, 17.5×17.5cm

Great with 3d models.

This paper is a pleasure to fold with. It’s breaks crisply and remembers a crease wonderfully. I completed the first steps quickly, as the paper gives no reason to slow down. The ears are multi-layered and are often a problem. Not here. I got a strong stable 3D figure that was easy to shape.

Sheep by Hideo Komatsu, 35×35cm

The paper is strong enough for the legs to hold the model's weight.

This paper is very stiff and responds to your fingers with ease. I blazes through the first steps. Crumples did start to appear on the later, more difficult steps, such as step 58, a closed sink. The paper manipulations required are very evident and give the unwanted effect of "dirty" paper. The first time I was slowed down was when folding the hind legs. Having to fold many layers at once, I needed my bone folder. I struggled a bit while folding the "repeat on the other side" step of the front legs. I had to unfold the section and try again, but thankfully the paper stayed stiff enough to hold the weight of the final model.

Our young expert

At the age of fourteen, Ynon Toledano is our special third opinion reviewer.

Barosaurus by Satoshi Kamiya, 35×35cm

Look how nice the tail holds!

The paper folding superbly. It is easy to reverse fold lines. The paper is strong, so there is no need to strengthen it. Shaping is done with no effort, and in my opinion it is highly suitable for every complex model, even insects.

Owl by Katsuta Kyohei, 30×30cm

The paper holds the shape without need for MC.

Highly recommended for complex models.

Final verdict

This is probably the most versatile paper we tried. As was earlier said, the numbers from the test results don't reveal its true value. All three of us thoroughly enjoyed folding with it, simple to complex models. It has great memory, feels like a very solid paper and doesn't have any major flaws. Yes, it's not that thin, but it is suitable for complex models, even insects, if you start with a 35cm sheet. It is not a strong paper, but it is far from being weak, or ripping easily. Surprisingly, it was great for tessellation. Modulars benefit from the slightly rough texture.

In flickr, I found only 29 pictures, all of 3D and complex models. Most of them were posted by three folders.

Why should you buy it?

Although the tests revealed average scores, the final result is definitely above average! Being highly suitable for a large variety of models, it is a very smart buy.

Bottom line: highly versatile!