As you spend more and more time in this planner community, you learn about many, new and exciting products. As both a planner-nerd and fountain pen user, I became very curious about the Hobonichi planners. The original Hobonichi Techo (“tetch-oh”) is a Japanese daily planner from the creators of the website Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shimbun or “Hobonichi” (Jetpens.com explains that ‘techo’ comes from the Japanese words for ‘hand’ and ‘notebook’ and it means ‘planner’). This planner is known for its simplistic design and Tomoe River paper, a very thin paper known to be fountain pen and watercolor friendly.
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There are 4 types of Hobonichi planners:
- Hobonichi Techo Original – Japanese version, A6 size approximately 4.1”x5.8”, day on 1 page, January or April start
- Hobonichi Planner – English version introduced in 2013, A6 size, day on 1 page, January start only
- Hobonichi Techo Cousin – Japanese version, A5 size approximately 5.8”x8.3”, day on 1 page and week on 2 pages, January or April start
- Hobonichi Techo Weeks – Japanese version, wallet size approximately 3.75”x7.4”, week on 1 page, January or April start
I have the Hobonichi ‘Planner’ for 2016 in the A6 size—the English version of the Hobonichi Techo—that I use as a daily written/art journal. It’s a very simple, bound book with stitch binding, and a black matte textured cover stamped with the Japanese characters for ‘techo’ and the ARTS&SCIENCE logo (they helped design the English version) in gold foil. Many users opt to buy a cover to protect their Hobonichi but I discovered that it fit perfectly in my burgundy Chic Sparrow Mr Darcy personal-size leather travelers notebook.
Inside the English Hobonichi Planner, you’ll find:
- year-on-1-page for 2016 and 2017
- monthly summary in a vertical format for 2016 and first quarter of 2017
- month-on-2-pages for 2016 and the first quarter of 2017 (starts on Monday instead of Sunday)
- 2-days-per-page for the last 2 weeks of 2015 and first week of January 2017
- day-on-1-page for all of 2016
- a few (blank) dot grid pages
- reference pages listing international measurements and information related to Japanese culture
There are many great things about this planner. It lays completely flat making it a pleasure to write in. It’s extremely portable due to its size. The thin Tomoe River paper is smooth and resilient allowing you to use almost any pen, ink, and even watercolor (there will be some shadowing but no bleed thru). Best of all, there’s the day on 1 page layout: it’s a grid format (the English version uses a slightly larger grid—4mm—than the Japanese version) with very subtle prompts cleverly placed throughout the page in a way that gives the appearance of a ‘blank’ page. This provides the user the flexibility to do whatever they want with the page: block off areas to track different things, track appointments along a subtle vertical timeline (the only marker is at 12 noon), create checklists using the grid boxes, do meal planning along the bottom of each page next to the understated meal icon, or use the entire page as a ‘blank’ canvas for watercolor, sketches, and doodles.
Some users also like to decorate, add pictures, stickers, and other ephemera to chronicle daily events and worldly travels but just be aware that this does have the tendency to make the Hobonichi planner thicker over time. There are also English translated quotes and phrases at the bottom of every page, a small calendar on the bottom of the right-most page as well as date, week, and lunar information on the top; Sundays appear in red in both the monthly and daily pages.
For regular journal entries, I use a Kaweco Sport Brass fountain pen with an EF (extra fine) nib and Diamine ink cartridges in ‘Ancient Copper’. When I feel more ‘artsy’, I use my Winsor & Newton watercolor ½ pans, Tim Holtz Distressed Stains, Le Pen Markers (18 colors), a Follow Me No.297 Japanese Gel Pen (has a very fine tip), and Zebra Brush Pen with a super fine point. On the rare occasion, I’ll also use stickers, washi tape, wallet-size pictures and other ephemera but not often to avoid adding bulk. Unused pages (e.g. the day-on-2-pages from the end of 2015 and some of the daily pages from the beginning of 2016) I re-purposed as goal planning pages and to capture quotes and other information—this paper is amazing so I want to make sure I use every single page!
So who might like this journal? Anyone who has a schedule that changes from day-to-day, ‘free-spirited’ planners who like to experiment with different layouts, anyone who likes to journal, fountain pen users, travelers (the A6 size it extremely portable), artists/doodlers, and writers.
You can purchase all versions of the Hobonichi planners on the Hobonichi site (*Note: this is the English version of the Japanese site so currency will be converted from yen to dollars and your order will ship from Japan which takes longer and is subject to international shipping costs), the Hobonichi ‘Planner’ (English version) from both JetPens.com (they tend to sell out quickly so if you see it, grab it!) and Amazon (tends to be the most convenient depending where you’re located).
Have you tried any of the Hobonichi Techo planners? If so, share your experience in the comments below! And if you found this blogpost helpful—or know someone it could help—please like, subscribe, and share on social media!
Until next time,
♥ LilD ♥