hobonichi techo planner

Guide to Hobonichi Techo Planners

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The Hobonichi Techo planner has become a international icon over the past twenty years. It is a recent favorite of mine and has been permanently inducted into my planner collection.

And even though it is a favorite among planner enthusiasts, many are still unsure what a Hobonichi Techo is. Basically, the Hobonichi Techo is a Japanese daily planner known to be extremely functional but minimal. At first, it seems to be a standard planner, the seemingly minor details of the Hobonichi Techo take it a step above your average planner.

If you don’t know about Japanese planners or Japanese stationery, I think you’re really missing out. You might think all of it is cute or “kawaii” and not be super interested. While there are a lot of really cute options with anime or cartoon characters and bright colors, I’ve found a lot of neutral and professional-looking stationery that fits my tastes better. So don’t overlook Japanese stationery because you’ll be sure to find something for any style.

See what is new for the Hobonichi Spring 2022 release.


Daily Planner

Daily Pages

Monthly Pages

  • Planner- English
  • Original- Japanese (Monday start or Sunday Start)
  • Original- Simplified Chinese
  • Original Avec-Japanese


Daily Planner

Daily Pages

Weekly Pages

Monthly Pages

  • Cousin- English
  • Cousin- Japanese
  • Cousin- Simplified Chinese
  • Cousin Avec-Japanese


Weekly Horizontal With Memo

Weekly Pages

Monthly Pages

  • Weeks- English
  • Weeks- Japanese
  • Weeks MEGA- English

What is the Hobonichi Techo planner?

Hobonichi techo planner

The Hobonichi Techo comes in three different models: the A6 Planner (English) and Original (Japanese Monday Start, Japanese Sunday Start, and Simplified Chinese), the A5 Cousin (Japanese and Simplified Chinese), and the narrower Weeks (Japanese) and Weeks Mega (Japanese).

Hobonichi also offers a 5-Year Techo that makes it easy to keep track of five years in one book, a Day-Free Techo with undated “daily” pages, and a plain notebook.

So let’s look more closely at each option:

Find where else you can buy Hobonichi Planners Here.

Anatomy of the Hobonichi Techo

A6 Original and Cousin


Hobonichi planners come in 3 sizes: the thin Weeks and Weeks Mega, the A6 Planner, and the A5 Cousin.

The Weeks and Weeks Mega are agenda books that feature weekly horizontal layouts and monthly calendars. They are slim but have plenty of room to plan and organize your week.

The A6 Planner is about 4” x 6” and features daily pages and monthly spreads. It is thicker and slightly larger than a Field Notes pocket notebook but thanks to its thin paper, still fits easily in a small bag or backpack.

The A5 Cousin is similar in sizel to aarge journal or small composition book and features daily, weekly, and monthly pages. It is double the size of the A6 planner, which makes it perfect for those with busy days, lots of plans, or that like to have space to journal, draw, or decorate their planners.

Hobonichi techo planner size comparison


Hobonichi techo planner paper

The pages of each planner are Tomoe River Paper that is incredibly thin and keeps the planner nice and thin. Tomoe River Paper is perfect for any pen, even fountain pens, because of its bleed-resistance. The rounded corner help minimize creasing or bending, which also gives it a sleek, clean look.

The outer covers of the Hobonichi Techo books are made of cardstock. The Original planner has a leather-like texture added to the cardstock.


The practical 180-degree stitched binding allows Hobonichi planners to lie completely flat. This allows you to write comfortably from day one while also holding up to daily use.

Hobonichi techo planner binding

Calendar Spread

Hobonichi techo planner calendar pages

Yearly Calendar Pages

The first pages of the planner are the double-page spread that of the yearly calendar from January to December. The Japanese versions include the previous, current, and following years. This spread is a helpful reference to help you see the entire calendar at a glance.

Hobonichi techo planner yearly index

Yearly Index Pages

After the yearly calendar, there are sixteen months of index pages, from December the previous year to March the following year. This section can be used in countless ways, from a table of contents to a calendar overview. Some use it for a weight tracker, a book tracker, or a quick daily journal.

Hobonichi techo planner monthly calendar

Monthly Calendar Pages

All Hobonichi planners also come with monthly spreads on a 2-page spread. This is great for a monthly overview of appointments or to track monthly things.

Hobonichi techo planner weekly calendar pages

Weekly Calendar Pages

Weekly pages are available in the the A5 Cousin and the Weeks books (but we’ll talk about the layouts of those below). In the Cousin, it is a 2-page vertical layout with hourly marking from 5AM to 4AM each day. This is great for those with a lot of overlapping plans or for those that enjoy seeing their days laid out in this way.

Daily Pages

When most people think of Hobonichi, they think of the daily pages. Both the Cousin and the Original versions feature daily pages that are virtually identical aside from the size of the page.

These daily pages are great for those that need to deep-dive into their to-do lists, want to spend time journaling each day, or enjoy creating art inside of their planner.

Hobonichi techo planner dates

Date & Day of the Year

The upper left corner of each page has large month and week numbers. It also features the day of the week, either in the Japanese character, English word, or both, depending on the version. It also features the day in the year. For example, in 2021 June 6th was the 157th day of the year. (Always is except for leap years).

Hobonichi techo planner moon phase

Moon Phase

Just next to the date is the lunar phase. But don’t worry, the moon phases are the same no matter when you are on earth (though it might be backward if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere).

Hobonichi techo planner daily timeline


Along the left side is a versatile and inobtrusive timeline. Only 12:00 noon is printed In the English A6 Planner, dividing the day in half into morning and evening and allowing for room to fill in other times or use the page in other ways. The Japanese Hobonichi Techo books have every three hours noted on these daily pages.

Hobonichi techo planner meal planner

Meal Planner

The English A6 version features a small fork and knife toward the bottom corner of the page. This is a great place to plan your meals but, if you don’t plan meals or miss days, don’t worry. The symbol is unobtrusive and can easily be covered or ignored.

Hobonichi techo planner dashed grid

Dashed Grid

Each daily page features a subtle 4 mm dashed grid. It’s visible enough to keep your lines straight but can be ignored if you want to create your own lines, draw, or organize your thoughts in a different way.

Hobonichi techo planner monthly tab

Monthly Tab

Each month is labeled with a different colored tab. Many choose to add additional index tabs, but for a streamlined look, you can rely on the simple colored page markers to help you get to your desired page.

daily quote

Daily Quote

The spread of each Cousin, Original, and Weeks planners contains a quote. The quotes are originally in Japanese but, of course, the English versions of the planners have had the quotes translated.

Hobonichi techo planner mini calendar

Mini Calendar

A mini calendar is featured in the bottom right corner of each spread. The current dates on the spread are circled in the mini calendar to help you visualize where you are in the month.

Hobonichi techo planner weekly layout

Sundays and Holidays in Red

Like the other lines on the pages, six out of seven days are in gray. But Sundays (and also Japanese holidays) are bright red to help you visualize where you are in the week and symbolize the beginning of each week. For those that choose to purchase a Japanese-language version, it also helps you keep track of the days while you’re still learning your Japanese characters. The monthly and weekly spreads also show Sundays in red.

Hobonichi techo planner coming up page

Coming Up (English)/Remember This (Japanese)

An empty page separates each month to help you plan your next month, write your goals, or doodle. The English version shows “Coming Up,” with lines while the Japanese versions have monthly quotes on blank pages.

Informational Pages

The back of each planner has reference pages. From memo pages, important contacts, and personal notes, you have plenty of space for your thoughts. The following pages are included in all

Hobonichi techo planner memo pages

Memo Pages

The back of each Hobonichi planner features memo pages. In the Cousin and A6 planners have 17 pages after the last of the daily pages while the Weeks has 71 and the Weeks Mega has 215 pages. The Japanese books have graph-grid, while the English version has dot-grid pages. These are great pages to make notes, to-do lists, or draw.

Hobonichi techo planner important contacts

Important Contacts (English)/Addresses (Japanese)

After the memo pages is seven spaces to keep information. This is a great place for your emergency contacts or those whose information you need to keep close.

Hobonichi techo planner conversion table

Conversion Table

A conversion table lists data for length, area, weight, and more. It also has a convenient ruler in both inches and centimeters.

Hobonichi techo planner personal notes

Personal Notes

On the Personal Notes page allows you to add your name and contact information in case your planner gets misplaced or lost.

Hobonichi techo planner my 100

My 100

This My 100 list can be used for virtually anything you want. Keep a list of books you love, movies, your favorite things, your goals, etc. You can even split up the 100 into 2 sets of 50 or 4 sets of 25 to give you versatility in your lists.

Hobonichi techo planner international size charts

International Size Charts

For frequent travelers, this page has many detailed size charts for clothes, shoes, and accessories.

Hobonichi techo planner Japanese bread shop

The Japanese Bread Shop

This page gives a full intro to delightful Japanese breads.

Hobonichi techo planner international size charts

International Size Charts

For frequent travelers, this page has many detailed size charts for clothes, shoes, and accessories.

Hobonichi techo planner Japanese bread shop

The Japanese Bread Shop

This page gives a full intro to delightful Japanese breads.

Japanese-Only (A6 Original and A5 Cousin) Pages

The following pages are available in only the A6 Original and A5 Cousin books. They are written in Japanese. Non-Japanese speakers will be able to use some of the pages based on context clues, but there are additional pages that explain parts of Japanese culture that require Japanese language comprehension, or at least Google translate.

Hobonichi techo planner time table

Time Table

This useful timetable can help you keep track of recurring weekly or daily events. You can write down your work schedule, your kid’s events, or even your favorite tv shows.

graph paper

Graph Paper

This graph is a great place to keep track of a goal or the progress of a project. The X-axis has 31 boxes to make it perfect for each day of the month.

Hobonichi techo planner favorites


On the Favorites Page, keep track of your favorite books, movies, restaurants, or games throughout the year. You can rank them, and mark when you read/watched them to have a fun log for the end of the year.

Hobonichi techo planner solar terms

Solar Terms

This all-Japanese page shows the East Asian lunisolar calendar. It’s quite complex and explains the names and origins of each term in the calendar.

Hobonichi techo planner emergency  preparedness

Emergency Preparedness

Another all-Japanese page that may still come in handy, is the Emergency Preparedness. page. Use the checklist to get an idea for what to keep at home to prepare for emergencies or natural disasters.

Hobonichi techo planner gifts


To stay on top of your thank you cards, write down the gifts you receive and from whom so you don’t forget.

Hobonichi techo planner age table

Age Table

This really fun tool is a great way to calculate someone’s age (or birth year). The table lists the birth year in one column and age in current year (of the planner) next. The next number to the left is the Japanese Imperial Era calendar year and the character to the right is the Chinese Zodiac sign for the year.

Hobonichi techo planner getting the most of hobonichi

Getting the Most of Hobonichi

The Hobonichi company has given an introduction on this page along with tips on how to get the most out of your Hobonichi Techo.

 Hobonichi techo planner weather

Weather Terms for your Techo 

These terms for the weather will help expand your vocabulary and add detail to your diary.

Hobonichi techo planner basic posture

Basic Posture Techniques

Posture tips from a personal trainer can help energize you and prevent injury.

Hobonichi techo planner finding new "likes"

Finding New “Likes”

Experts in “rakugo” (Japanese comedic storytelling), art, and classic films provide thoughtful recommendations to help you find interesting new media.

Hobonichi Techo Weeks

Hobonichi Techo Weeks is the third option in the Hocbonichi planner sizes. It’s a slim planner alternative for those who don’t need daily pages and prefer to have their weekly calendar and to-do list on one spread. It includes many of the same features of the techos but in a condensed format. The Weeks is now available in both English and Japanese.

Hobonichi weeks cover

Cover and Appearance

The Weeks is extremely compact, perfect for those that want to carry their planner daily without being weighed down. The cloth-textured covers are embossed with the current year on both the front and spine. You can choose from a variety of cover colors and designs that change each year.

Hobonichi weeks size comparison

Size Comparison

While the regular A6 Techo measures 4″ x 6″ the thin Weeks measures 3.8″ x 7.4″ and is a fraction of the thickness of the other options. This narrow size is a better fit for purses and small backpacks. 

Hobonichi weeks interior


Inside the planner contains the same Tomoe River Paper as the other planners. Each of the 240 pages is in a soft cream color that is easy on the eyes.

Hobonichi weeks pocket sticker

Pocket Sticker

Each planner comes with a clear adhesive pocket. You can choose to stick it anywhere but inside the cover is a great option so you can hold receipts, notes, stickers, or other small items.

Hobonichi weeks weekly page

Left Side Pages

The left side of each spread shows a schedule that begins on Monday and ends on Sunday. The top of each pages has the month in English as well as the traditional name in Japanese. Two subtle slashes appear on the horizontal lines to allow you to divide the days into three sections or keep them open.. Each left page also has the moon phases for each day and a weekly quote at the bottom. Sundays and holidays are printed in red.

Hobonichi weeks grid pages

Right Side Pages

The right side of the spread is open for whatever you want to include like making to-do lists, writing notes, doodling, or brainstorming. It features a subtle 3.55 mm dashed grid, which is narrower than the regular A6 Techo’s 4 mm grid and a slightly darker subtly divides the space to create an optional header, but doesn’t distract too much if you want to ignore it. A monthly calendar is included in the bottom corner with the current week circled so you can visual where you are in the month.

Hobonichi weeks calendar and index pages

Calendar and Index Pages

Just like the other techos, there is a three-calendar layout at the front of the planner which includes the current year, the previous year, and next year. The Yearly Calendar shows the entire year on one double-page spread (shown above). The Monthly Index and Monthly Calendar pages are designed for long-term planning.

Hobonichi weeks notes pages

Other Pages

The great thing about the Weeks is the space for drawing, notes, or doodling in the back. If you need space for notes and drawings, use the 71 empty pages after the weekly spreads. And just like the other techos, you’ll also find handy reference pages with information or prompts like a conversion table, My 100, Emergency Preparedness checklist, Age Reference table, and more.

Hobonichi Techo Weeks Mega

Hobonichi Techo Weeks Mega is just like the standard Weeks with three times the number of graph pages at the back of the book. This gives you plenty of space for extra notes, drawing, journaling, or personal reference info.

Hobonichi weeks mega

Extra Memo Pages

The Weeks Mega contains a generous 210 pages of the versatile dashed grid memo pages. This gives you plenty of room for chronicling your thoughts and sketching out plans.

Hobonichi weeks vs. weeks mega

Thickness Comparison

Even with the huge increase in pages, its super-thin Tomoe River paper keeps the Weeks Mega from getting too thick or heavy to carry easily. It only weighs about 2 ounces more than the standard Weeks. 

Hobonichi Techo Day-Free Planner

The Day-Free is an undated alternative for planner users who want more flexibility. The “daily” pages feature graph paper, but it comes with a yearly calendar, yearly index, monthly calendar, and all the other informational pages of the Japanese planner.

Hobonichi day-free

Cover and Appearance

The Day-Free cover is a cheerful blue with cream accents.

Hobonichi day-free size

Thickness Comparison

Similar to an Avec, the Day-Free is around half the thickness of a full-year Techo in both A5 and A6 sizes.

Hobonichi day-free


The A6 Day-Free has 240 pages, while the A5 size has 244. All feature silky cream-colored Tomoe River paper.

Hobonichi day-free

Inside Pages

The blank graph paper pages of the Day-Free are enhanced by page numbers, daily quotes in Japanese, and a slightly darker “secret line” that can be used to split each page into a header and detail section.

Hobonichi day-free

Flipbook Corner

The bottom right of each spread features a flipbook sequence of the adorable Dancing Fox, illustrated by Aki Kondo. 

Hobonichi day-free

Calendar and Index Pages

The yearly calendar spread shows three years at once, while the yearly index spans four pages with four months per page. The monthly calendars span from December 2020 to March 2022.

Hobonichi Techo Plain Notebook

The Hobonichi Techo Plain Notebook is completely filled with the 3.7 mm plain graph paper of the Original Hobonichi Techo. 

Hobonichi techo plain notebook

Cover and Sizes

The A6 size is 240 pages, while the A5 size is 288 pages, comparable to the Avec or Day-Free planners.

Hobonichi techo plain notebook

4-Color System

The ink color of the Plain Notebook changes for each quarter of the book, proceeding from red to blue to green to purple. This makes it easy to split one notebook into multiple themes. 

Hobonichi techo plain notebook

Pair with Another Techo

The Plain Notebook can easily fit in a cover along an Avec or even squeeze in next to a full-size planner for a convenient expansion of your writing capabilities.

Hobonichi 5-Year Techo

Hobonichi 5-Year Techo is perfect for the archivist who enjoys looking back on past years while recording present memories and events. The 5-Year Techo is only available in Japanese. These pictures feature the 2020-2014 book.

Hobonichi 5-year techo

Cover and Appearance

Inspired by old dictionaries and Bibles, the soft textured brown cover is pleasant to the touch. It has “Hobonichi 5-Year Techo” pressed in gold foil on the front and the years on the spine.

hobonichi techo 5 year size

Size Comparison

The regular A6 Techo measures 4″ x 6″ while the A6 5-Year Techo is slightly wider at 4.5″ x 6″. The A5 5-Year Techo is a bit larger at 6.2″ x 8.4″, a bit larger than the A5 Cousin (5.8″ x 8.3″).

Hobonichi techo 5 year


This planner contains 752 pages of smooth Tomoe River Paper. Like the Techo Weeks, it features soft cream-colored pages. Each month is printed at the edge of the page for easy reference.

Hobonichi techo 5 year


Included in each box is a manual that explains how to use the Hobonichi 5-Year Techo.

Hobonichi techo 5 year

Left Side Pages

The left side pages are printed with the same date across five years, with the day and month at the top, and the year and day of the week in each section. You can fill each day up or just write a sentence.

Hobonichi techo 5 year

Right Side Pages

The right side are memo pages for brainstorming, doodling, and writing notes. It is printed in subtle 3.7 mm dashed grid, the same as the Original and Cousin books. Daily quotes are printed at the bottom of the page. 

Hobonichi techo 5 year

Yearly Calendar

Five calendar layouts are placed at the front of the planner. Each year spans one page.

Hobonichi techo 5 year

Other Pages

At the end of the book, Hobonichi included bonus pages to help you reflect and stay organized, like Remember This, Gifts, and Personal Notes.

How to Use Your Hobonichi Techo

Daily Planner

Hobonichi techo

The Hobonichi Techo was designed to be a daily planner, so it’s no surprise that most people use it to organize their day-to-day lives. Busy students, teachers, and parents all appreciate its versatile format. The timeline and grid layout are especially helpful when blocking out specific times for appointments.

Weekly Planner

Courtesy of Penguins Creative

The Hobonichi Techo A5 Cousin is great for those who prefer the big-picture view of their weekly plans. Schedule appointments and meetings with this full two-page spread. Then use the free space on the right side for doodles, impromptu notes, or miscellaneous trinkets. 


Hobonichi techo
Courtesy of Hobonichi

Writers and journalers can use the Hobonichi Techo as a diary. At first you might feel limited by the one-page-per-day layout, especially in comparison to an undated journal, but over time you’ll appreciate how it encourages you to write thoughtfully and concisely. 

Habit Tracker

Hobonichi techo
Courtesy of Lethbridge Paper

A daily planner is a great way to build good habits. Whether you’re hoping to maintain a weekly exercise regimen, practice mindfulness, or eat healthier meals, tracking your progress can hold you accountable to your goals.


Hobonichi techo
Courtesy of Jetpens

If you love crafting, you can turn your planner into a year-long scrapbook. Record everyday moments by taping movie tickets, receipts, and photos into your planner. At the end of the year, you’ll love looking back on all the memories you’ve collected. 

Art Journal

Hobonichi techo
Courtesy of Hobonichi

Artists can use their Hobonichi Techo planner as an art journal. The daily page format can motivate you to make one drawing, painting, or doodle every day. As the year goes by, watch your creative skills improve. 

Hobonichi Techo Accessories

Hobonichi Covers

Hobonichi Techo Covers are a stylish way to protect your planner. An assortment of attractive cover colors and designs is released each year. 

There are a few different options. 

  • There is the classic covers that will fit the A5 and A6 sizes and are usually a single plain color.
  • The classic style with a pattern.
  • The Cover on Cover that is meant to be used on top of the classic covers mentioned above.
  • The clear Weeks covers

Classic Covers:

Hobonichi techo covers

Pen Loops

Two wide pen loops can accommodate most pens. They also function as a way to keep your planner closed; just thread your pen through both loops.

Hobonichi techo covers

Ribbon Bookmarks

Keep one bookmark in the monthly calendar and move the other one each day to the current date.

Hobonichi techo covers

Front Cover Card Slots

The front inside cover has 5 slots for business cards, loyalty cards, stamps, and other small items.

Hobonichi techo covers

Front Cover Pocket

Tucked behind the card slots is a larger pocket, which can hold items like receipts and coupons.

Hobonichi techo covers

Back Cover Pockets

The back cover also has two pockets for larger items like tickets and leaflets.

Hobonichi techo covers

Large Outer Pocket

This easy-access pocket can snugly hold one A4-sized sheet folded into quarters.

If you’re looking for a specific cover or one from past years I find Etsy has a lot of great options, but keep in mind that the more rare they become the more expensive they’ll be.

Cover on Cover:

 This simple clear cover is meant to be an additional layer of protection for your cover and Hobonichi.  It is also a less expensive way to change out the style of your cover by opting for a design instead of splurging on a completely new cover.  New designs are released every year. 


Shitajiki means Pencil board in Japanese. This simple piece of plastic can save your pages from becoming unnecessarily crumped or creased while you write in your planner.  There are simple ones like the example below, but new designs are also released every year while collabs and fun looks. 

Hobonichi techo pencil board
Courtesy of Hobonichi
Hobonichi techo pencil board

Decorating Tools


Give a fun touch to your journal with fun stamps that add an accent or draws attention to important information.


You can use any pen to record memories and events in your Hobonichi, but here are some favorites to get you started:

  • Multi Pen: Use a customizable or pre-installed multi pen to color code your tasks and to-do list.
  • Fountain Pen: Because it’s made with Tomoe River Paper, you can use your favorite fountain pens in your Hobonichi Techo.
  • Gel Pen: Smooth-writing gel pens will make writing a joy, and an archival gel pen can even preserve your diary entries for years to come. 
  • Marker/Brush Pen: If you want more color choices to spice up your planner, go with a vibrant marker or brush pen set.
  • Highlighter: Subtle pastel highlighters help you stay organized while staying true to the planner’s minimal aesthetic.


Stickers are a fun and easy way to add quick visuals to your planner. Here, we used translucent circle stickers and small icon stickers to mark dates in our monthly calendar. You can also use stickers to add whimsical touches to your daily pages. 

Washi Tapes

Use strips of washi tape to divide your planner into sections, or secure tickets and memorabilia. You can also write directly on the tapes to create DIY labels (the Pilot Twin Marker is our favorite pen for writing on washi tapes). 

History of the Hobonichi Techo

The Hobonichi Techo is made by Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shimbun (ほぼ日刊イトイ新聞), a website and lifestyle brand curated by Japanese copywriter Shigesato Itoi. The website, which is commonly known as Hobonichi (ほぼ日), is an interesting mix of editorials, interviews, and informative articles.

One day, the Hobonichi editorial staff held a simple reader poll: Would you be interested in a planner? With a resounding 90% “yes” vote, they began brainstorming. Their goal was to create a simple planner that could appeal to users of any age, gender, or profession. 

Later that year, the very first Hobonichi Techo was released to the Japanese market. The name comes from the word Hobonichi (ほぼ日), meaning “almost everyday,” and techo (手帳), meaning “planner.” It was eventually joined by other size formats—the larger Hobonichi Cousin, 2-volume Hobonichi Avec, and slender Hobonichi Weeks.

Demand soon arose for an English version of the Hobonichi Techo. In 2012 Hobonichi teamed up with Sonya Park, owner of the Japanese brand ARTS&SCIENCE. Sonya provided creative direction for the English edition, meticulously tweaking little features to make Japan’s best-selling planner fit in seamlessly with the English-speaking market. The tri-key ARTS&SCIENCE logo printed on the front cover is a nod to Sonya’s dedication. 

Every single Hobonichi Techo planner is still printed in Japan, but its user base has gone global. There are now over half a million Hobonichi Techo users around the world, and each year more people are drawn to its practical design. 

Are you a Hobonichi Techo planner fan? I’d love to hear how you’ve adapted the planner for use in your daily life! 


The Official Hobonichi Techo Website provides in-depth information about the planner, plus curated examples showing how the Hobonichi Techo is used by fans around the world.

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