When autumn hits, and time’s edging closer to Christmas, you don’t wanna think about next year already. We get it. But Japan’s determined to shove another year’s worth of diaries in your face well in advance.
The brand name on everyone’s lips is Hobonichi. They put out new collections like clockwork.
Read today’s news, then write your own
The ‘Hobonichi’ name didn’t start with the diary series. Not unless you’re being pedantic. It comes from the ‘Hobonichi Nikkan Itoi Shimbun’ daily news website. That’s a bit like a diary, right?
The site got popular, the editors asked readers if they’d buy a Hobonichi-made planner, and the readers said HELL YES. And that’s how we got here. All kinda ironic, seeing that ‘hobonichi’ means ‘almost every day’.
Fans all over the world (that’s an estimated 780,000 people, you guys…) swear by the ‘Hobonichi Techo’. It’s a smart, sensible planner designed like a minimalist’s dream.
The original launched in October 2001, for the 2002 calendar year, and sold 12,000 copies straight off the bat. Sales of the Techo have gone up every year since. Hobonichi finally pushed half a million in 2014.
Each planner’s light but substantial, exactly the combo you need. They’ve packed over 400 pages into the A6-size Techo, without compromising on paper quality (which btw is fab for fountain pen users). Hobonichi uses cream-coloured Tomoe River paper. It’s thin and smooth, holding (non-alcohol-based) inks well without bleed.
All that, and we haven’t started on the covers. Both the book designs, in nylon, fabric and leather, and the separate ‘Zipper’ zip-up cases that act like Techo purses. Oh yeah, and ‘Cover on Cover’ semi-transparent jackets to enhance plain colour books.
The number of cover options peaked in 2014, at nearly 100. You can now expect around 80 official designs per year, and tons of other unofficial covers that work just as well.
‘Weeks’ is a slimmed-down version of the classic Techo, and it’s achieved a type of cult status by itself.
Where the original Techo lays out your time day by day, with Weeks you see the 7 days ahead on 1 page. Perfect for people who like to plan way in advance. That layout cuts the diary’s thickness to around 240 pages.
The page opposite is graph paper, but don’t limit yourself to math! It’s for extra memos, memories, purikura stickers, doodles, whatever.
Weeks versions keep all the trademark Hobonichi benefits: that durable paper, blank memo pages, a monthly planner, and a quick conversion table. Plus, no worries if you miss out on buying at the start of a year. Some Techo Weeks ‘spring’ designs start from April, not January.
Cousin (and Cousin Avec)
The Cousin’s a big buddy, made for journallers who’ve got a lot to get off their chests. It clocks in at twice the size of the original Techo, and has bonus weekly double-page spreads.
Using a Techo for scrapbooking or art can make it pretty bulky. Once you’ve got event tickets, masking tape, post-its and stickers stuck in there, your planner’s gonna be wider than before. To keep the width down, the Cousin Avec’s actually 2 books.
It splits your year in half, but matching pages in each book help you track stuff across 12 months.
Get on the 5-year plan
Maybe you’re the ambitious type. A forward thinker. You’ve got dreams – the kind that take time to achieve. Fill in those future blanks with a Hobonichi 5-year scheduler.
The first Hobonichi 5-year diary came out in 2018, to last until 2022. Lucky it’s not 5x as thick as a normal diary! Each day’s got a space for each year.
Sure, not everyone’s got the guts to schedule stuff for half a decade from now. But the 5-year Techo‘s perfect if you love nostalgia. After you’ve owned it a few years, flip back through for blasts from the past.
Buy Hobonichi planners direct from Japan
With a fresh Hobonichi diary tucked in your bag, you’re gonna start every year off right.
It doesn’t matter too much if you pick a Japanese Techo. Months and days have the same numbers… just try not to envy how many national holidays Japan gets. If you love the cover design and the page layouts, go for it.
Hobonichi’s got an English-language site, selling English-language diaries (made in Japan). But there aren’t shipping options – it’s the most expensive method, plus handling. Some Techo types aren’t available in English yet. And they’re only on sale at certain times of year, like exclusive Supreme drops or something.
So when you spot a design you like, may as well order it on DEJAPAN any time you want.