After almost five months with this journal/planner/notebook, it's past time to provide my thoughts on it. I've been using my Hobonichi since January, which has given me nearly five months to figure out whether or not this product is something that is going to "stick". So far, the answer is a resounding, "Hell yes!"
What is the Hobonichi Techo?
Honestly, the Hobonichi kind of defies explanation. It's sold and marketed as a planner, and many people use it for that purpose, but the pages aren't set up for any particular system. For example, the pages are graph-lined, which makes it very easy to break each page down into a "daily schedule" in whatever increments you so desire, but you're not locked in to a specific planner system. The only predetermined "numbering" is the date at the top of each page and a single "12" in the margin halfway down the page. Many people, myself included, don't use the Hobonichi as a true planner at all. The notebook contains 365+ pages of high-quality, fountain-pen friendly Tomoe River paper that you can use however you please.
How Do I Use My Hobonichi Techo?
The Hobonichi is marketed as being "infinitely customizable," and I've taken full advantage. How I use this hybrid journal/planner/notebook changes from day to day. Some days, I will use it as a journal, simply recapping the day: what I did at work, good things that happened to me, gratitude items, etc. Other days, I'll use it for a version of morning pages, brain-dumping everything running through my head before I leave for work in the morning (or, sometimes, before I go to bed at night). Less frequently, I'll use the Hobonichi as a planner of sorts, but for specific things. If I'm planning a busy week of blog posts, for instance, I'll use a couple lines of each day to note a reminder of the writing project I'm supposed to be working on to keep myself on track.
Where To Buy the Hobonichi Techo?
I purchased my Hobonichi early, directly from Japan, because I wanted my journal in hand as early as possible to start the year off right. The English version of the website is fairly easy to navigate, and shipping is relatively quick and easy. I believe it took the journal about a week to reach me here in Tennessee, USA, and I was able to add on a navy blue journal cover for minimal cost. All in, given the exchange rate at the time, I believe I spent around $50. (One Note: on the Japanese website, the English language version of the Hobonichi Techo is called the Hobonichi Planner. The "Hobonichi Techo" is the Japanese version.)
If you're looking to jump into the Hobonichi Techo immediately, to give it a try for the remainder of 2016 (and there's plenty of time to get your money's worth!), you can purchase it via Amazon. You'll pay a few dollars more, but it's Prime-eligible so you will receive it very quickly. Jetpens also stocked the Hobonichi for the first time this year, but they predictably sold out.
The Hobonich is a unique, highly versatile stationery item that I'd place in a category unto itself: neither a true planner, notebook, or journal--it's, well, the Hobonichi. I'll definitely order another one next year, based on my experience to date. It's a rare thing for me to stick with daily journaling for nearly five months, and what's kept me on track is the fact that the Hobonichi is not intimidating. There's a relatively small blank page for each day, and it doesn't take much effort to jot down a few things. If this product interests you at all, the barrier to entry is fairly low (even if you have to order from Japan), and there are so many potential uses for the book that it's worth a shot even if you're not a traditional "planner person."
For some other excellent pieces on how people use their Hobonichi Techos, check out reviews from Susan Pigott over at the Pen Addict, the Newsprint, and Gourmet Pens. There's also the Hobonichi Love Tumblr blog, written by the English translator of the original Japanese version.
DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links, through which I may be compensated a small amount if you purchase an item from any of the sites linked to in this article. While I'd greatly appreciate it if you use these links to purchase something you are interested in, you are, of course, under no obligation to do so. Many thanks!