Stationery Sunday: Hobonichi Techo

Stationery Sunday: Hobonichi Techo

Ever since I can remember my Mum has kept a diary. Me, well, I managed to keep one successfully for nearly a year whilst I was in college, but it wasn’t very detailed. Any other time, I failed miserably. I tried a normal diary, journaling, bullet journaling… everything fell by the wayside within a month or two.

Then I finally decided to treat myself to a Hobonichi Techo Planner. A planner so expensive compared to others that if I failed at writing in it regularly then I’d effectively thrown away a lot of money. Perhaps a stupid thing to do considering my inability to keep up pretty much any other diary or journal I’d ever had!

Hobonichi Techo A6 Planner
Hobonichi Techo A6 Planner

Always late to the game, I bought my first Hobonichi in January this year (rather than planning and getting it last year). At £35 it was the most expensive diary/planner/book I’ve ever bought but was it worth it?

The Hobonichi Techo is an A6 sized Japanese daily planner. The page layout allows for quite a lot of flexibility, so can be used for more than scheduling your day/week/month/year. The Hobonichi Techo can be used as a diary, journal, sketchbook and however else you care to chronicle your daily life.

The planner begins with 2 pages of yearly calendars: The current year on one page and the following year on the next page. Great for looking for a date at a glance.

This is followed by vertical monthly calendars showing 4 months across a double-page spread. These begin with December the previous year and end with March the following year, meaning you can note down important dates for the beginning of the following year.

Vertical monthly calendars in the Hobonichi Techo.
Vertical monthly calendars in the Hobonichi Techo.

Next up are monthly calendars with each month being spread across a double-page spread. This gives plenty of room for planning a month.

Monthly calendars inn the Hobonichi Techo.
Monthly calendars with each month being spread across a double-page spread.

The bulk of the planner is the daily pages. Each month begins with a “Coming up!” page which I use to keep track of my penpal letters for that month. The daily pages are in grid format and have plenty of space for marking out your day, however you wish to do it.

Hobonichi Techo A6 planner

I love that each page spread has a quote. Friday, 8th November 2019’s quote reads:

“You can’t really control photography. You can take great photos one day and find yourself unable to take good photos the next. Photographs are always a product of the things you encounter along the way.” – Kotori Kawashima, photographer. (So true!).

Friday, 8th November 2019's quote in the Hobonichi Techo.
Friday, 8th November 2019’s quote in the Hobonichi Techo.

At the back of the planner are a handful of dot grid pages, an Important Contacts page, some very handy International Size Charts, a Conversion Table, some quirky information pages (Traditional Japanese Household Items, The Japanese Zodiac and A World of Traditional Sweets), International Country Codes / Dialling Codes, National Holidays (from around the world) and a Personal Notes contact page in case you should be separated from your Hobonichi Techo. Each Hobonichi Techo also has a unique number in the back, but I’m not entirely sure what this is used for.

I love how the Hobonichi Techo gives so much freedom of use, but I think the best feature of this planner is its paper. The Hobonichi Techo uses Tomoe River paper which is just perfect for fountain pen users. It’s buttery smooth and the pen just glides across the surface. Fountain pen ink just works and shows so well on this paper. Due to the thinness of the Tomoe River paper, you will see ghosting (which might annoy some people), but you won’t get bleed-through (certainly with fountain pen ink). The pages also lay flat for easy use.

Diamine Havasu Turquoise ink being used in the Hobonichi Techo.
An example of fountain pen ink on the Tomoe River paper in the Hobonichi Techo. This is Diamine Havasu Turquoise ink.

Eleven months on, I can safely say that I have written in my 2019 Hobonichi Techo pretty much every day since I bought it. I don’t know if it was the sheer cost of it, the delightfully smooth Tomoe River paper or the determination of not failing this time. Either way, it worked and I’m now in the habit of writing in it most days. I’ve already bought my 2020 Hobonichi Techo (it’s pretty much unheard of me buying a diary/journal before Christmas, usually!).

Hobonichi products have a great cult status in the world of stationery. They aren’t particularly easy to get hold of in this part of the world, but, as with most things, they can be found online (online stationery shops, Amazon and Etsy sellers are your friends!). There are also covers and other accessories available for the Hobonichi planners. If there’s one thing the Japanese are good at its stationery!

My Hobonichi Techo with its Very Berry Cover and Night Cover-on-Cover.
My Hobonichi Techo with its Very Berry Cover and Night Cover-on-Cover.


Visit the official Hobonichi website.

Do you keep a diary/journal? Do you have a favourite one you keep going back to time and time again?


  1. Joanne Sisco says:

    Some time ago, long before I retired, I kept a diary for about a dozen years in a Daytimer quite similar to this one … although admittedly not with great fountain pen quality paper. In it I kept not only notes but also photos and other mementos of the day.
    Periodically I go back and relive those memories and emotions. It’s funny how it feels like both yesterday and a million years ago at the same time.

  2. Lauren says:

    I love stationery so I love this post! I haven’t heard of this brand before. That planner looks so great. I love black backgrounds with detailing. It looks like a very handy planner to help you stay organised! Thank you for sharing xxx

  3. Lauren says:

    I love stationery so I love this post! I haven’t heard of this brand before. That planner looks so great. I love black backgrounds with detailing. It looks like a very handy planner to help you stay organised! I like using planners to keep me organised. I currently use a diary from BusyB. Thank you for sharing. Xxx

  4. I’ve never done well, with keeping a diary or journaling or whatever it is called… Did some, and since they were mostly “my truth,” got rid of them. Not something I’d want others to come across.

    And how does one truly journal, without writing “one’s truth”? Soooo, guess I simply do-not-journal. -smile- Other than what is on my blog(s). And on the world wide net, they are self-censored, of course.

    You actually write real letters!!!! And receive them!!!! How delightful!!!! I love a real fountain pen.

    Tried doing so, some time ago. But my idea of a “real” letter, is not other’s idea it seems. My idea, being really writing and telling something. Not just “the weather is sunny today” sort of things. -grin-

    Enjoy your Real Letters. Real Postal Sent Letters.

  5. My diaries are a series of scraggy notebooks. I mostly use them when I travel. The most recent I bought in Aveiro and it resembles an azulejo tile. My most expensive to date… somewhere around 4 euros 🙂 🙂

  6. Kelly says:

    This looks like a good quality, practical planner.

    I prefer “journals” to actual diaries or planners. I think I started my first when I was around twelve, using an ordinary, ruled school notebook. Though I seldom wrote daily, there were many years I was good at writing monthly, if not more often. Blogging, unfortunately, has taken its toll on my using a real journal, and when I blog it’s never as personal as what I’d put on real paper (and hide away!). 😉

  7. This looks like a great planner! I really like the quotes, that’s a nice touch. I use a bullet journal to plan my blog posts/ monthly planner then a regular day-to-page diary for my to-do lists each day x


  8. chickenruby says:

    That looks a fab planner. I buy a moleskin one each year, I love it, small for my handbag with a sheet of note paper per week (a week to view) I’ve kept a written diary from the age of 15 ish then moved online with a weekly diary in 2009

  9. jeanie says:

    Jolly good for you doing this for the year! It looks like a terrific journal with lots of options. I have a journal and try to write somewhat regularly (although I think it has been about three weeks!) trouble is, I try to write coherently and sometimes I should just list thoughts!

    But I recognize the power of journals more now that ever, with so many thoughts vanishing into cyberspace and the click of a button, accidental or otherwise. Correspondence that will be lost forever as well as a picture of daily life. This was driven home to me when I found my grandmother’s journals for probably 30 or 40 years of her life. I could tell how many quarts of berries they picked or sold; what the weather was like the day I was born; how much the monthly bills were. It was a picture of life I’d not thought of. I need to do that more.

  10. Anca says:

    With all my commitments I wouldn’t be able to do everything if I didn’t have a planner. I got mine from the supermarket though, only a few pounds and it is from July this year to August the next, much more useful than having one from January to December, for me at least.
    This one looks great, but I wouldn’t spend so much money on a journal.

  11. Jo says:

    I started using a Hobonichi Techo this year too, though I’m using mine for journalling. I think the size is brilliant, there’s enough room to write everything I want to without having lots of space left. As you say, the paper is brilliant too, I like that I can use my fountain pen on something so thin, it means that I only need one small book to journal for a whole year.

  12. I can see why this would appeal but it looks TOO organised for my liking. My diary is full of notes and crossing outs as plans change which is something that I kind of like and at £35 is something I’d feel guilty about doing.

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