What is Hobonichi?
I have a tendency to get lost in the hashtags of Instagram. I'll start out looking at cat pictures and end up in some obscure tag of abandoned buildings. I manage to discover a lot of new things this way. I just stumble on to them by accident. Hobonichi fits into this category. I just happened to see a picture of a Hobonichi journal, complete with drawings, stickers and washi tape borders. I was immediately smitten, and I've spent the past few weeks researching them.
At it's core, Hobonichi, short for Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shinbun, is a company known for it's planners. As in the sort where you write your appointments. The Hobonichi Techo has been around since 2001 and is renowned for it's practical and stylish design as well as the high quality of its paper. In 2012 an English version was released alongside the Japanese one. It includes sections with yearly and monthly overviews, and then has a page dedicated to each day of the year. There are versions starting at different times of year too. Each page has a grid pattern to assist in organization. The cover is sturdy and durable. In short, it is an extremely well designed and well made planner.
This description doesn't really capture the essence of Hobonichi though. The truly fascinating thing about the planners is the ingenuity of the users. You only have to google image search to find pages and pages of people that turn each page of the planner into a work of art. Custom made covers and bookmarks are common. Drawings are nearly ubiquitous, whether they're cute, little chibi characters, or intricate and detailed full page affairs. I was amazed by the elaborate fonts and skillful penmanship, as well as the obscure stamps and stickers. And then there's the washi tape. There are so many different patterns and colors. So many different artistic elements skillfully combined into a personal narrative.
It might seem dramatic, but after looking at so many different Hobonichi users, it really seems to go far beyond a typical planner. It seems like the planner becomes a part of the user, reflecting their lives and thoughts with such vibrancy. They're mesmerizing to look at.
So, after much admiration and deliberation, I've decided to start one of my own. My very own Techo is in the mail, on it's way. I'm a little hesitant. After seeing so many masterpieces online, it's hard to believe that I'll be able to make anything quite so beautiful, but I'm excited nonetheless. I've even gotten a few rolls of washi tape in preparation.
Even if you aren't interested in starting a Hobonichi planner/journal of your own, I encourage you to go look at some of the lovely examples. They're just that beautiful.
You can purchase your own here: Hobonichi 2015
Here are some lovely examples: