Hobonichi 2020 Buying Guide: How to Decide On the Perfect Style & Size for You

Can we be real about one thing for a moment? There is NO such thing as too many journals or planners.

Every year I tell myself I’ll only buy one, as if there’s only ONE that will be the be-all-end-all to my planning needs. Now, the Mindful Productivity Planner comes close, I use this one exclusively for my self-care, mental health, habit tracking, monthly bucket lists, and intention setting. Buuuuut there’s still a lot of other things a girls gotta write down and over the past year one of the things I’ve fallen in love with is Hobonichi planners.

In this post I’m going to breakdown the following:

  • Hobonichi Popularity over the past year

  • How I’ve been using the Hobonichi Weeks (IGTV Video)

  • My favorite things about Hobonichi Planners

  • Things to consider before purchasing

  • Journal Size Comparison

  • Hobonichi Sizes & options

  • Hobonichi Pricing Chart

  • Hobonichi Layouts, Interior Pages, and Spreads

2020 Hobonichi Buying Guide

If you’re new to the planner scene, you’ll quickly learn that hobonichi planners have kind of exploded here in the US over the past year. Just head to Instagram and search for #hobonichiweeks #hobonichi #hobonichicousin or #hobonichitecho just to name a few - and you’ll find yourself wrapped up in a journal porn scrolling spree.

Hobonichi Planner photos from Instagram

Hobonichi Planner photos from Instagram

The applications for these things are endless! People use them for functional planning, memory keeping, academic organizers, business planning, you name it!

The only problem is that choosing one can feel mega overwhelming. There are a variety of sizes, types, and spread layouts - and tbh, the hobonichi website can be a little overwhelming!

Before I take your hand and walk you through the glorious Hobonichi Garden, I wanted to share a little bit about why I love these planners.

I jumped on the bandwagon and picked up a Hobonichi Weeks last spring, which led to me buying an entirely new wallet to take it with me on the go. I do a walkthrough of my current Hobonichi Weeks setup on an IGTV video here.

Here are some of my favorite things about the Hobonichi:

  • They use Tomoe River Paper - this stuff is super thin, lightweight, and surprisingly doesn’t bleed - It also allows the journals to pack in a ton of pages without making it super heavy

  • The interior designs are sleek with light gray grid boxes.

  • The paper takes on a wonderful crinkly texture if you use watercolors or even highlighters. I love how delicate and versatile it is.

  • Lay flat binding

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Hobonichi Planners are made in Japan meaning that quotes, instructions, and holidays, etc are all written in Japanese. This hasn’t been an issue for me (or most people) but if you prefer to have English verbiage then you’ll want to check out the Hobonichi Planner that now has en English option (more on that below).

  • Shipping will take longer from Japan and you may pay a higher fee for shipping. People do sell Hobonichi planners on Etsy as well but sometimes they will mark up the price to cover those costs. Consider this when budgeting for your planner expenses.


Hobonichi Journals come in 6 main styles:

Hobonichi Types
  1. Planner (A6) (only planner available in English)

  2. Original (Techo) (A6) - Offers an Avec option which is the year broken into 2 planners instead of one to reduce bulk.

  3. Cousin (A5) (Like the Techno but with a weekly spread) (A5) - Offers an Avec option which is the year broken into 2 planners instead of one to reduce bulk.

  4. Day-Free (A6 + A5) (New for 2020 and available November 1st) Techo setup with daily pages that do not have dates.

  5. Weeks (Unique approx. 3.7 x 7.3 in. size) - Also comes in a MEGA version that includes 3x as much graph paper at the back of the planner

  6. 5-Year Techno (A6 + A5) (This allows you to write journal entries across a 5-year span all in the same journal)

The Hobonichi Site also has a lovely and organized breakdown of their planners here.

If you’re new to planner sizing:

  • A6 is roughly 4.1 x 5.8 in (105 x 148 mm)

  • A5 is roughly 5.8 x 8.3 in (148 x210 mm)

Lily over at the Vegan Organizer has a great YouTube video where she compares the Hobonichi sizes to each other and other popular planners. You can watch it here.

Price Breakdown (As of September 2019 - Conversion rates may fluctuate):

Hobonichi Price Breakdown

Here’s a Look Inside the journals:

Daily Pages:

These are included in the Planner, Techo, Cousin, and Day-Free and vary slightly due to size and formatting options. Daily pages are also in the 5-Year Techo which I’ll include at the end of this section.

Planner (A6) Daily Page Spread - From Hobonichi Website

Planner (A6) Daily Page Spread - From Hobonichi Website

Techo (A6) Daily Page Spread - From Hobonichi Website

Techo (A6) Daily Page Spread - From Hobonichi Website

Cousin (A5) Daily Page Spread - From Hobonichi Website

Cousin (A5) Daily Page Spread - From Hobonichi Website

Day-Free (A6 + A5) - From Hobonichi Website

Day-Free (A6 + A5) - From Hobonichi Website

5-Year Techo (A6 + A5) Daily Pages - From Hobonichi Website

5-Year Techo (A6 + A5) Daily Pages - From Hobonichi Website

I love that the 5-Year Techo provides a small space for an entry each day over a 5-year span. I also love that there’s room on the right side of the spread for notes, photos, or keepsakes. I can’t wait to see how this evolves for me over time.

Some ideas I have for this are:

  • Writing a quote a day

  • Writing down the high and low of the day

  • Keeping a food log

  • Writing down the weather

  • Making notes of important events or life-changing experiences

I also want to find a way to cover up the past years when I’m making new entries so that doesn’t impact what I’m writing.

Weekly Spreads

*Note that only the Cousin & Weeks have a weekly spread option.

Cousin (A5) Weekly Spread - From Hobonichi Website

Cousin (A5) Weekly Spread - From Hobonichi Website

Weeks (3.7 x 7.3 in.) Weekly & Graph Paper Dual Spread - From Hobonichi Website

Weeks (3.7 x 7.3 in.) Weekly & Graph Paper Dual Spread - From Hobonichi Website

Yearly Index

The Planner, Techo, Cousin, and Weeks all come with a Yearly Index at the front for future planning. Formatting varies by style and size.

Planner (A6) Yearly Index - From Hobonichi Website

Planner (A6) Yearly Index - From Hobonichi Website

Techo (A6) Yearly Index - From Hobonichi Website

Techo (A6) Yearly Index - From Hobonichi Website

Cousin (A5) Yearly Index - From Hobonichi Website

Cousin (A5) Yearly Index - From Hobonichi Website

Weeks (3.7 x 7.3 in.) Yearly Index - From Hobonichi Website

Weeks (3.7 x 7.3 in.) Yearly Index - From Hobonichi Website

I decided to skip the calendar sections because I find those to be pretty basic and you can always check them out on the full Hobonichi website here.

I personally bought the Cousin, Weeks, and a 5-Year Techo because I want to test them all out and see what works best for me. I’m excited to keep you posted on my planning adventures.

Until then, you can always find me in a park, planning with the Mindful Productivity Planner. This guy has my heart because it’s an 12-month undated planner with monthly sections that includes:

  • Month at a Glance Page

  • Monthly Bucket List

  • Monthly Habit Tracker

  • Reflection & Intention Setting Sections

  • Success Lists

  • Weekly Spreads with to-do lists

  • Reference List Pages

  • Notes Pages

  • Numbered Pages

  • Index Section

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Will you be buying a Hobonichi this year? I’d love to hear about which one you chose and why! Tag me on instagram @mindfulproductivityblog - I’d love to see how you use it!


Sarah Steckler