Hobonichi Planner 2014 Review

Hobonichi Planner

Having abandoned my Cartier diary (as the refills have increased an unbelievable 60% in price) I began searching for a replacement and stumbled upon a thread on The Fountain Pen Network discussing diaries for 2014.  The one that seemed to peak everyone’s interest was the Hobonichi Planner featuring Tomoe River paper.  To my knowledge, 2014 is the first year that this planner has been released in English.  After doing more research and learning about the awesome layout I knew I had to have one.

Hobonichi Planner

The appearance of the planner is simple and elegant.  The cover is a thin flexible black leatherette with “Techo” (in Japanese) and three keys printed in silver.  Printed on the spine in silver is “HOBO” and “2014”.  I like the look of the black leatherette cover so much that I am tempted to use it without a case.  The planner measures 105mm wide x 149mm high x 14mm thick (that’s approximately 4.13″ wide  x 5.87″ high x o.55″ thick).  Pictured below is the spine with the book open.  Tomoe River paper is so thin that you can fit 464 pages + the cover into a 14mm dimension.  The planner lays flat thanks to its excellent construction.

Hobonichi Planner
For those interested in book making look at how many tiny signatures (folded sheets sewn together) there are!

Hobonichi Planner

The layout of the planner is quite nice.  You get a full page per day with 4mm grids.  Each page shows the current moon phase and every two page spread features a quote.  Most of the quotes are from Japanese cultural figures.

Hobonichi Planner
Up front you get full months spread across two pages.
1 month per column and a day per row.
1 month per column and a day per row.

For Sunday the print on the page is orange instead of the normal black/grey.  In the back of the planner there are several pages of blank orange dot grid followed by some reference pages (clothing sizes, international holidays and country codes) as well as informational pages like a sushi guide and a sake guide.  One thing that I would like to see in the Hobonichi is a color map of the world.

Sushi Guide...I particularly like the part on the top right pages that says "If you are having trouble ordering....Just point!"
Sushi Guide…I particularly like the part on the top right page that says “If you are having trouble ordering….Just point!”

The paper, as I have show in my review of a Tomoe River notebook , is simply amazing.  It holds fountain pen ink as well or better than any other paper I can think of.  It’s hard not to love this planner.  The Hobonichi planner is reasonably priced at 2,500 Yen (approx $24 USD) before shipping and handling.

Hobonichi Planner
No issues with bleeding or feathering…the only draw back to this paper is dry time.
Hobonichi Planner
There is show through but it is not something that would prevent you from writing on both sides of a page.

Naoko at Hobonichi Planner was kind enough to send me this planner free of charge for me to review.  Along with the planner she included a cover, a couple of stencils and a set of page flags.  The design of the cover to be honest, is not my cup of tea.  The polyester cover was designed by the children’s book illustrator Ryoji Arai.  The front features a bright red donkey against a sky blue cover and the spine and back cover has some doodles and pictures.  It’s a very interesting composition.  The inside of the cover is bright pink and has two neon green page makers with pink tips (one is a rectangle and the other is a triangle).

Hobonichi Planner
Hobonichi cover with a Montblanc 149 in the pen loops.

There is a pocket on the outside of the back cover which I have found to be handy for slipping in receipts as well as a Field Notes journal.  There are two large pen loops, one attached to the front of the cover and one attached to the back so that you can slip a pen into both loops to keep the notebook shut.  I was able to easily slide my Montblanc 149 into the loops which is good news if you like to use oversized pens.

Hobonichi Planner

On the inside of the front cover there are 5 card slots that fit the Hobonichi stencils perfectly. There is an additional pocket behind the card slots.

Hobonichi Planner

On the inside of the back cover there is a black tag that says “Hobonichi 2014” as well as two small pockets.

Hobonichi Planner

The retail price of this cover is 1,900 Yen (approx $18 USD).  This same cover in a plain solid color is 1,500 Yen (approx $14.50 USD) and in leather is 8,500 Yen (approx $81.50 USD).  The are several other cover designs that cost as much as 31,500 Yen (approx $302 USD).  The polyester cover is reasonably priced and and provides a lot of functionality.

The Hobonichi planner and covers can be purchased in English directly from Hobonichi here.

Hobonichi Planner

Please note: (as mentioned above) this product was provided to me at no charge by Hobonichi for review purposes.

Here are some great reviews of the Hobonichi Planner:

(I have no affiliation with the sites linked below)

Tiny Cartridge – Tiny Review: Hobonichi Techo 2013The Well-Appointed Desk – Review: Hobonichi Planner 2014

The Well-Appointed Desk – Review: Hobonichi Planner 2014

4 thoughts on “Hobonichi Planner 2014 Review

  1. Hmmm, after shipping and handling–handling is double charged–to the USA the cost if over $40. Not worth it for its designed intentions as an A6 sized daily planner. As a business planner, the size is a detriment. You can purchase an A5 notebook from Nanamipaper for about the same cost and with more pages (480). Granted it doesn’t have the all the graphic features on each page, but the size and cost is much more practical and useful.

    1. Thank you for the comment!

      Yes, you are right, shipping and handling from Japan is not cheap, if you buy the planner only. If you buy a cover with the planner the cost isn’t bad and the shipping from Japan to California was less than a week for me and that was during the Holidays.

      I do agree that if you simply want a notebook there are much more economic options, including the notebook you mentioned, but if you want a proper 2014 planner the Hobonichi is a great choice because you get a full page per day in a remarkably compact format.

  2. I would love to try the paper out. The calendar looks great! A great choice to replace the Cartier planner (Although I would try to find a refill or two that would work in that cover so it can be used. It’s too pretty not to be used.

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