Hobonichi Techo Planner

Besides the meaning of “notebook”, 手帳 (techo) also denotes pocket diary.  The format of the Hobonichi Techo planner definitely encapsulates both meanings.  Though I have the habit of using planners, I must admit I am horrible at using them.  The attraction was almost immediate when I first saw Hobonichi’s planner and detailed explanation of different components in the planner.  With all the raving and excitement expressed by existing users, I decided to give Techo a try, with a cover named Lemon Cream no less.

After using Techo for close to 2 weeks, I start to understand why there are so many loyal users are enamored with a supposedly functional planner.  Several different journaling/planning approaches are incorporated, such as concise recording on things that are not part of my daily routine (a bit similar to bullet journal), to-do list, and scrapbooking.  Since the space allotted for December of this year is only half of a page (normally, it is one page per day), it looks a bit crowded right now.  Because the paper in this planner is the much loved Tomoe River paper, I do not need to contemplate as much as which pens I can or cannot use.  Besides minor buckling when a wetter medium is used, the paper performs beautifully with any brands of fountain pen ink/pen combinations thus far.  One notable phenomenon is that the drying time for certain ink is longer on Tomoe River paper, and you can see a bit of pooling on wetter ink.  Thus far Platinum Carbon Black takes the longest to dry, about a minute or a bit more.

Another small detail that is arresting to me personally is the time axis.  For most planners, the day begins at 7 AM and probably ends at 5 PM, which is suitable for most people.  Given that I work late, my day does not start until 3PM.  Only being active from 3 to 5 PM, I definitely look like a bum on the planner.  The time axis for Hobonichi Techno starts at 4 AM and ends at… 3AM of the next day.  This layout is more accommodating to most work schedules for sure.  Though I do not usually plan out my day with hour blocks, with this wider time axis I might be able to use that feature of a planner, finally.

Each dot represents the hour.  The planner is definitely working hard, from 4AM to 3AM of the next day

Here are some examples as to what I have tried so far:


Recording events/milestone that are out of my daily routine
Keep track of any package I dispatched
Weather of the Day
New recipe I have tried with a pictorial portrayal resembling one done by a 3-year-old


Keep small tokens of kindness that could be otherwise misplaced.  Something to look at in a blue day!
I have purchased the Japanese version, which adds a bit of complication to my already disorientation on dates.  Using days of week washi tape will hopefully remedy the problem

Need more convincing or ideas?  Search for #hobonichi in Instagram, Pinterest, or Tumblr to see how other creative minds use their beloved planners!


Here are some other reviews on the same planner:

8 thoughts on “Hobonichi Techo Planner

  1. Great review thanks. This planner is getting alot of positive press but I'm not sure it's for me. I'm a lay flat kind of journal/planner user and this one looks quite thick. BTW I don't think you're a bum 🙂


  2. Lol at the bum comment. I wake up very early to (supposedly)study but my lifestyle is much more bum-like. Now I am really curious about this planner. I wonder if there is a granny smith cover for it.


  3. Bob, thank you for the read and nice comment as always. The magical part of Hobonichi planner is that it lays flat out of box. No spine breaking, no creasing. It is quite thick, but it is also made with Tomoe River paper, which is extremely thin; hence a portable planner. If you need more pictorial convincing, let me know!


  4. If I recall correctly, I do not see a monochrome Granny Smith cover; however, there are a handful of vendor in the States who offer customize cover service. You may want to check it out. At least you still have the discipline to wake up early. That part of me has been long gone!


  5. The hobonichi techo has been my Holy Grail planner/diary system for years now. Since 2008 or 2009, I think, when I was in my senior year of undergrad, most likely. I'm super envious of yours! The yellow cover is really pretty, too. (But the one I really want is from 2010 or 2011 in pomegranate/green/aqua madras plaid :P)

    Did you order it direct from the Hobonichi site? Part of the reason I've never got one is that when I looked into it years ago, it was super complicated to do that and get it into the US, and though you could buy them from Kinokuniya or somewhere like that, I'm in Florida and those shops had very limited inventory/options.

    I'm really happy to hear that it uses Tomoe River paper! That is one thing that had always worried me. Since I knew the expense was a bit much and it was a bit out of my reach, I never really looked into the details too much, just admired from afar. 😀


  6. From what I understood, Hobonichi is either sold on the website or designated stores in Japan. To my knowledge, the buy-in-store option is not yet available oversea, but please correct me if I am wrong! The ordering is not complex in my experience. I ordered it from the Japanese and not the English website, so I entirely relied on my elementary Japanese reading skill and Google Chrome's translation help. The English version of the planner is about 500 yens more expensive than its Japanese counterpart and purchase option is a bit less on the English store front as well. On the Japanese store front, the planner came with a Uni-Ball JetStream and a cloth pouch that provided additional dust/dirt protection. This is the first year that the English version of the planner has been released, perhaps the buying options will change as this planner steadily gains popularity in the States.
    I do not think I have ever been this excited about a planner and I urge you to give it a try when you can!


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