Konichiwa Hobonichi!

I love cult brands that are under the radar. I was an early user of Moleskine, when they were very hard to find and people in small communities spoke about them with hushed reverence. Once they hit the mainstream and became ubiquitous I lost interest in them. Was it just me or was the paper less special when manufacture was outsourced to other countries, or was that just my imagination?

Other ones that sneak in there are Midori, Manufactus, Bindewerk, Clairefontaine, Leuchtturm 1917, Rhodia, Rite in the Rain, Word.

The newbie in my sights is Hobonichi. More and more people in the stationery community are raving about them so I figured I would give them a go.

There is a Japanese site and an English site. In 2013 the first English planner was brought out – The Hobonichi Planner in A6 size. The Hobonichi Techo is the Japanese version and is available in three sizes – Original, Cousin and Weeks. Here is a look at the Japanese Site – if you are a dedicated webshop aficionado you will quickly find your way around. Some interesting products under some of the tabs. If there is a number under the item, it is available to purchase. Laurie from Plannerisms has done a wonderful review of the Cousin size here

The English site is pretty easy to negotiate – and as a translator I can say whoever did the English on their site deserves a medal. I don’t think I have ever seen such beautiful language and grammar on a site before – not even an English one. Even good old Marks and Spencer in the UK cannot use an apostrophe properly anymore but Hobonichi nails it every single time. I spotted a few ‘stationary’ mistakes here and there but that was about it.

There is a good explanation of the books, the covers and how everything looks and works here. There are also brilliant ‘Important Information’ links all over the site (particularly in the cover section) with specific notes about paper, using fountain pens, taking care of the leather types, the best way to insert your book into each cover etc

You have a quick overview of the covers available/sold out. The new covers open for orders in September for the following year’s selection.

Many of the covers I liked were sold out – my favorite was this one because I love the way natural undyed leather ages.

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How wonderful to see your life being reflected in the marks and stains on your binder. I think they look so beautiful when they get older. Here are my Zenok Midori covers brand new with my slightly older Tigerklo covers which are now a biscuity brown.


I also liked this cover which is 2014’s special cover. I like it because I love the colour! From experience with nipple stud fasteners though I know the hole tends to stretch over time and it tends to pop open a lot. I had to return this gorgeous Tigerklo cover just as it was getting a good patina because the stretching hole was driving me nuts


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Another thing I like about these is the size. A6 is small but not too small. I love my Mulberry Agenda binder because of the A6 size. It is big enough to use intensively (even if your writing is not tiny) but small enough not to be bulky or heavy in a handbag.

Anyhoo, I was meandering around the covers as my favorites were sold out, when I spotted this one – blue and natural undyed leather.

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Then I saw the drawing… Stockholm – where I live and work. And the streets and old town where I am every single day.

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Well, it just had to happen didn’t it? It would have been rude not to. On the back view you can see the slip pocket, into which you can slide a notebook (also available from Hobonichi).

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So that went into my basket. As did a plain plastic Cover for Cover for it. I have been told that they are not for leather covers but are meant for the fabric ones. There are also different printed plastic covers which do not have a hole for the back pocket. This cover does.

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So, as I write this article my book and covers are winging their way to me. All the photographs featured here are from the Hobonichi site.

Apart from being a regular visit to the Hobonichi Facebook Page I am also in two Facebook groups for Hobonichi

I love looking at the art in the Hobonichis but personally I am more of a bullet journal type so that is what I will do with it.

Watch out for another post when the planner arrives!


Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

3 thoughts

  1. Those are absolutely beautiful. I especially like the natural leather and the dark green? I love the way natural, undyed leather ages. More FB groups to join LOL

  2. I love the Hobonichis, although I haven’t really worked out how best to use mine. For years I did use a day to a page diary, but found I was forgetting about advance events, as I couldn’t see them. I’ve kind of started using it for doodling and noting positive happenings, but it hasn’t quite come together. I adore my cover – a very pretty yellow fabric one in a kind of hankie design.

    1. I am very much afraid that is what is going to happen to me. But I do use most of my notebooks for one thing or another in the end so hopefully it will find its use eventually.

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