The Hobonichi Techo Planner has almost a cult following in its native country of Japan and now you can buy them in the US. Creator of the Hobonichi Techo Planner, Shigesato Itoi seems like a very interesting guy as well. Check out this interview with him to learn more about the planner and the man himself. This review sample was sent to us directly from the Hobonichi Planner folks themselves, so before we dig in, a quick thanks to them. Also, thanks to them we will also have giveaway of this cover and a brand new 2014 planner coming up a little later this week. Be sure to keep an eye out for that.
The top photo there shows the Hobonichi Techo bare, without a cover, however the rest of the pictures you are looking at show it with a nylon yellow cover and a clear plastic one on top of that. Without the cover, the bare Hobonichi Techo planner measures about 4.125 inches by 5.875 inches and is approximately .625 inches thick. With the cover on it is about 4.75 inches by 7 inches. The inside pockets on the front cover can hold about 6-10 business cards or credit cards vertically, not horizontally. The additional pocket under those several slots is big enough to hold a 3″ by 5″ index card with room to spare.
The back cover has a few more pockets, each capable of holding some more business cards, credit cards, or index cards with no trouble at all. You can probably even use the protective plastic cover as an additional set of pockets by putting things between it and the actual cover.
Inside the Hobonichi Techo Planner at the bottom of each page there is an interesting quote on the left with the quote’s author given credit on the net page. On the next page there is also a small thumbnail monthly calendar.
Each of the full size daily pages in the Hibonichi Techo Planner has a grid layout that measures about 4.75 inches by 4.125 inches. The first two vertical rows of the grid have a heavier line on the right side, and part way down the page it shows the number 12. This is presumably so that one can use it as an hourly planner. You will also notice that there is a number 5 in a gray shadow box on the right, this is an indication of the month you are in, so in this case it shows 5 for May. These gray boxes are easy to see when looking dead on at the long edge of the notebook when closed. The gray marks make it easy to open up to a more specific time of year in the planner.
Speaking of opening to specific pages in the Hobonichi Techo Planner, there are two page markers that come attached to the cover. Each of the page markers has a different shape leather tab sewn to the end of the ribbon. This helps to be able to easily identify which page marker you are grabbing at. Again, these are attached to the cover which is a separate purchase from the Hobonichi Techo Planner itself.
Hobonichi Techo Planner Tomoe River Paper Writing Samples.
One of the really awesome things about the Hobonichi Techo Planner is the high quality paper that it is made with. Writing with any type of pen on this paper provides a great experience, but it is particularly enjoyable using a fountain pen on it. The fountain pen nib glides very smoothly over the paper, and the inks tend to behave well with no feathering or other bad behavior. The only real problem is when you flip the page over, fountain pen or not, the ink tends to show through a bit. I was also impressed with this paper when I did the quick eraser test that you see above. The paper is so thin that I was worried about erasing pencil from it, but the erased portions of the page were no worse for wear after having erased some of that pencil.
Now the part that does bug me though is that you can definitely see through the other side of the page regardless of what type of ink you used to jot your notes on the previous side of the page. If this were a regular notebook it probably wouldn’t bother me as much, but on a daily planner its kind of an annoyance. I find this a bit surprising too since in that article, Shigesato Itoi is quoted saying that he used to write in existing novels with a thicker pen to take notes because it was cheaper, but the show through got too annoying. I do however understand that in order to make a daily planner with 365+ days to account for, you are going to need to use some fairly thin paper, and this Tomoe River paper is probably some of the best you can get at this light weight. Check out Brad’s review of the paper over at The Pen Addict to see how awesome this paper really is.
One last thing to note is that the Hobonichi Techo Planner covers have a dual set of pen loops that serve as a way to lock the front and back covers together. That term “lock” there is just a descriptive term, it in no way actually provides security for the contents of your planner.
I think these Hobonichi Techo Planners are definitely worth giving a try if you want a unique and fairly compact planner to carry around with you on a regular basis. You can buy them on the official Hobonichi site where they also have some pretty awesome covers including North Face branded covers, and my favorite the Tartan Plaid cover.