No other diary-maker inspires the kind of loyalty and fervid enthusiasm that greets Hobonichi's new releases. Each year, as September approaches, planner fiends eagerly inspect the Japanese brand's new covers and layout changes, then race to secure the one that catches their eye before everything is snapped up. Blogs, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook groups are abuzz in the run-up to September, sharing their planners and debating the merits of different the Techo. So what is it about this cult Japanese brand that causes the kind of frenzy usually reserved for an iPhone launch?
Just like with a notebook, a planner's paper is the part you'll interact with most, so getting it right makes a huge difference to your experience. Thick paper feels great to write on, but it adds bulk; lighter paper keeps your planner slim, but it might struggle with the volume of ink that a fountain pen lays down. Using Tomoe River paper gives Hobonichi the best of both worlds, with thin, delicate pages that make for a compact planner, while handling ink with ease.
Each Techo (pronounced "tetch-o") features a slightly different format: the Original uses a daily layout, while the Cousin combines Daily and Weekly, and no prizes for guessing how the Weeks is laid out. But for all their differences, the one thing these layouts have in common is Hobonichi's meticulous approach to design.
It's tough to put your finger on – there are details like the Cousin's checkboxes for simple daily to-do lists, or the way the Original gives you space to schedule your day down to the hour that you can use or ignore as you see fit – but the majesty of a Hobonichi planner is so integrated in every part that it's almost invisible. What matters is that your planner is smooth and natural to use, giving you the structure to guide your planning while remaining adaptable to fit the way you like to think, and that's where Hobonichi excels.
The diary lovers
With such a dedicated fanbase, it would be easy for Hobonichi to churn out the same planners year after year. But each release sees a host of small changes, and those subtle tweaks are often inspired by feedback from the Techo community. Taking on board the feedback from their passionate customers helps make each new diary a little bit smoother, more intuitive, and helps Hobonichi fans feel like their favourite planner brand is listening to them.
We all know that beauty is only skin deep, but we can't pretend to not be at least a little bit swayed by Hobonichi's beautiful covers. Available in styles that range from subtle to striking, these covers are also a practical option, giving your planner an extra layer of protection from a year's worth of wear, and adding some extra storage inside too.
And if you just can't bear to part with your beloved cover after so long together, there's some good news! The covers are reusable, so you can grab a refill next time and start planning the new year all over again.
There are lots of other reasons to love Hobonichi, but you'll just have to find those out for yourself. Take a look at the range and find the perfect planner for you – but be quick! Hobonichi never lasts long.