Nissin Fine Mode Kosansui rods are inexpensive keiryu rods. They're a little on the stiff side, but they are capable of landing reasonably large fish considering the rod's length.
The Fine Mode Kosansui 320 is a 25 penny rod, which puts it one penny more than the Suntech Field Master at its shortest (3.2m) length, two pennies more than the Daiwa Expert Tenkara 33LT and three pennies more than the TenkaraBum 33. It is substantially less than the Daiwa Keiryu-X 33 (34 pennies), though, and will cast a tenkara line considerably better than the Keiryu-X.
I have a couple customers who like the rod quite a bit for situations where the fish could be relatively large but there is limited casting area and a longer rod just wouldn't work.
The grip, as in all the keiryu rods I've seen, is just the rod blank itself with a very effective non-skid covering. I have come to prefer this style of grip to the cork found on tenkara rods. It is much better at transmitting the tactile information of what your rod is doing during the cast, what your fly is doing during the drift, and what the fish is doing during the fight.
Do not be concerned that the grip is too narrow to be effective, though. For the longer rods it is actually wider than the front part of the grip (cork grip, that is) on the Shimano LLS33NB tenkara rod.
The grip screw cap is plastic and is knurled for easy gripping. There is a rubber insert to make it quiet and a ventilation hole to help in drying out the rod. I would still recommend that the rod be completely disassembled to dry thoroughly between uses, though. Moisture does get inside during a day on the water, and it can ruin the finish of any telescopic rod if it is put away wet.
The tip plug is rubber, and like many of the Nissin plugs has aggressive fluting. This not only allows you to keep the line attached when you collapse the rod, it also insures that the tip plug is not going to fall out when you least expect it. You will find that it helps to screw the plug in rather than trying to push it straight in. When taking the plug off, be careful not to pull it to the side. The part that is inserted into the rod is hollow, and the tip and lillian will occasionally come out with the plug. If you pull the plug straight out, though, it will never be a problem.
Please note that the Nissin Fine Mode Kosansui rods do not come with a rod sock. The medium rod case fits the Kosansui rods.
Nissin Fine Mode Kosansui 320
Length Extended 10'3"
Length Collapsed 20.5"
Weight 1.7 oz
Tippet 7X - 5X
Rods made in Japan.
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| This [Fine Mode Kosansui 320] is a superb rod at its price point ($110). If you wanted to try tenkara on small streams, it would be a vastly better starting point than any of the similarly priced me-too Chinese rods.
The light weight and the backbone make it a great rod for a youngster.
Marginal Tenkara blog