Ok, yes, I’ve succumbed and started a planner blog.  I’ve resisted for months but I can resist no longer.

Why Plannerphile? I’ve love stationery, planners, and planning all my life, I’m a psychology PhD candidate and Professional Organiser so I thought plannerphile, that is someone obsessed with planners and planning, would be super appropriate.

What tipped me over the edge and made me go public with my addiction?  It was the Hobonichi.

I have been a Japanophile (or should it be Nipponophile) since Kumiko Onishi joined my primary school class in the late 70’s.  Play dates at her house were so exotic and the stationery, toys, food – gosh everything was new and “kawaii”.  I remember being so jealous of her perfect (and I mean perfect) handwriting and when she moved away I relished receiving letters in her precise hand.

Click forward a few years, after feeding my passion for all things Nippon with a short visit to Tokyo with my parents in 1984, an opportunity arose for my husband and I to take an extended honeymoon (by extended I mean 18 months) in Osaka, working as conversational English teachers.  Best time of our lives!  Most awesome of all was the shopping; stores like Loft, Tokyu Hands, and Kinukuniya stock all the superior writing instruments and stationery a tiny gaikokujin plannerphile can handle.  Getting to the point, yes…  when I recently found the Hobonichi Techo on Instagram I was apoplectic with excitement.  The Japanese just do planners, stationery, pens, … stuff so well. The Hobonichi is no different and I knew I needed to have it.  When I discovered the Hobonichi Cousin  I could hardly breathe.  It is the planner to end all planners and it would be mine.

Why is the Hobonichi Cousin the shiznit? I’m so glad you asked…

I’m gonna let the Hobonichi website explain the features (enhanced slightly by moi) then I’m gonna tell you why you need this planner and how you can use it to Bullet Journal like a boss.

“Cousin Hobonichi Techo Features:

  • Spacious, A5 size with plenty of room for pasting and writing
  • 180-degree lay-flat stitch binding
  • Tomoe River paper; ideal for planners
  • Light grid paper design you can write along or easily disregard
  • Year overview (like a bullet journal month spread)
  • Month to a double page spread
  • Week to a double page spread
  •  Day per single page
  • 24-hour timetable with 30-minute increments
  • Daily quotes in Japanese curated from Hobonichi website articles
  • Different colour page every month
  • 3.7 millimetre graph paper matches original Hobonichi accessoriesThe Cousin is only available with a Monday-start week and in Japanese but the days of the week and the months are in English.”

ALL that in an A5 layout you ask?  How is it not as thick as a brick and twice as heavy?  It’s the Tomoe River paper; thin and light it’s strong and resistant to bleeding – an ideal choice for a planner. That is the reason why the 500+-page Hobonichi Cousin is so compact.

Bullet Journaling in the Hobonichi Cousin

So now, how am I going to use this awesome planner in 2016?  Planner geeks around the world understand the “planning the planner” process.  Assessing the features of the planner and making it work for you.  This is what I’ve come up with…

First is the Year overview, much like the bullet journal month spread but all 12 months are over two double page spreads.  Genius…

IMG_3025 So I’m planning on using this year to two double page spreads like I would my bullet journal month page.  This will include major appointments, birthdays, school term dates, deadlines for my PhD, that type of thing.  Really an overview of the two halves of the year.  I plan to use the three bullet points at the top of the section for pre-planning the month’s focus or theme.

Second is the Month to a double-page spread which I don’t currently set up in my Bullet Journal but I know many of you do.

IMG_3026This is where I plan to hash out the month in more detail, the next level down, so it will include PayDay, cleaners visits, term dates, excursions, events, birthdays, kids parties, and appointments.  There is a spot around the edge of the page for the months To-Do’s in more detail – like we do when bullet journalling – so I have space to detail my deadlines and other goals/tasks for the month.

Thirdly is the Week to a double-page spread.  Currently I have separate large desk planner for this and I use it for planning my day by the hour and making note of large bills I need pay and that kind of detail.

IMG_3028This is where I can settle down with a bevvy of an evening and take stock of what has happened earlier in the day or during the week and allocate time to tasks that need to get done the next day.  This is also the perfect spot for habit tracking for the week in the space at the side and bottom of the pages. Sigh…I’m just loving the macro to micro planning process the Hobonichi Cousin allows for.


Fourthly is the Day to a page.  Here is where the action happens.  The detailed To-Do list, gratitude list, actual record of how I spent my time during the day, food journal, water intake, doodle of the day – the options are endless.  Because this planner is laid out so well it’s possible to get a bit creative on the daily page.

IMG_3029 Basically this is the daily bullet journal!

So all you planner junkies how do you feel about the idea of using the Hobonichi Cousin as a complete planning system incorporating the Bullet Journal ethos?  The only problem I see is the migrating of items to make  “collections” because there are some blank pages at the back of the Hobonichi Cousin but not many….hmmm

Love to hear your thoughts… and your feedback on my first post 🙂




39 thoughts on “Hobonichi & Bullet Journal

  1. Thanks for writing all of this! LOTS of inspiration here. I too am a recent convert to Hobonichi with the purchase of my Techo Cousin 2016 (A5). MY 2016 PLAN: I love how you are approaching your Cousin and will use that as a starting point for mine. I’m also making an extra-large Moleskine grid notebook into a bullet / commonplace journal to store reference info (ideas, quotes, capture to-dos quickly), personal and business tasks that repeat on a daily/weekly/monthly, yearly basis, and major goals–>projects–>tasks breakdown. WHAT I CURRENTLY DO: My appointment and meeting calendar is Outlook / electronic because it syncs with Google Calendar, which syncs with my online appointment system clients can use to manage their appointments with me. Since early Oct 2015 I’ve used a Passion Planner’s (paper). In its month view I track personal and business expenses made each day. In its week view is where I write my appointments (using erasable Frixion pens) and the tasks to be done that week. I number the tasks in the list on the week pages and then assign them to open times when I don’t have meetings. So for 2016 I’ll have three books to work with. It may sound like a lot, but it’s bring major organization into the way I think and plan because I have a lot going on. I look forward to hearing more about how you work with your Cousin!


    1. Hey Mary Anne, thanks so much for your kind comments😊 I will also have a Moleskine grid notebook. I use the extra large Evernote Moleskine and then the plan is to scan all my hand written notes into Evernote so that they are searchable. I do use the index system in the front but I’d like the content to be searchable…gosh I feel another blog post coming on! Standby and I’ll give you a run down of my note taking and workflow… 😁 ❤️ Jan

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Jan, thanks for the post. In year 2 of using the cousin I’m going to try something crazy and use 2 cousins for the year – each for 6 months. I’ll divide the first book in half using January to June (monthly, weekly and daily) as you described above and then the daily pages from July to
    December as my blank pages – brain dump/collections pages ignoring the dates etc. Come July, I’ll switch to the new book and use the January-June pages as blanks and the dated spreads July-Dec as is. I’ve thought of this as a way to bullet journal and carry only one book – we’ll see!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow Mary that is bold! And exy (if that is even how you spell that)…sooooo I think you should check this out:
      Hobo has these notebooks which I’m sure you could put at the back of the cousin (if you have a cover…you might be able to slip this notebook in the back without too much bulk) and they are WAY cheaper than going the second cousin. You might also buy say 4 – one per season/quarter of the year. Thoughts????


    2. I was thinking of doing the same but with A6 avec. I am struggling to make the move from undated Stalogy 365 editor to a dated Hobonichi. I’m also thinking of starting it in February or even March, and using the unused pages for collections.


  3. I’m struggling with how to index collections as well… I am so EXCITED to start my Hobonichi Techo Cousin… i’m moving from a pocket sized Moleskine…


    1. Moonslark, I was just saying to another commenter that Hobo does do a cute notebook in the same size that could be added/slipped in the back of your cousin: http://www.1101.com/store/techo/2016/planner/detail_toolstoys/tt_o_hamidashinote.html
      Then you could number those pages and migrate your collections to that…you know use if for brain dumps etc. but it would all be together….I KNOW you are going to LOVE the cousin! Pathetically I’m in love 🙂


  4. This is my exact Dilemma, I LOVEEEE the hobo, but really wanted to stick to a bullet journal for 2016, and didn’t want to have to keep up 2 of them, great ideas, tyty!! I am going to try this.


  5. Thanks for your thoughts Jan. I’ve tried the slim memo books and really like them so if I run out of pages, I’ll definitely use one. My system came about because the Avec would be the perfect solution for most of us (half a cousin per year) BUT it doesn’t have the weekly layout – not sure why. I’m using the Avec now with pasted in weekly pages (ugh) plus a second blank notebook. Originally I thought I needed the second notebook because I figured I liked referencing the dated pages of the HOBO while making my notes in the blank notebook but I don’t find myself doing that. I’m excited to try everything in one book. I’ll keep you posted.


    1. Ahh yes I remember reading that at the time I was ordering them that the Avec didn’t have weekly pages. That was the reason I thought the cousin my be the solver of my dual planner problem. I’m very keen to see how it works out for you with two 🙂
      Thanks for your comments Mary


  6. For Collections, I carry a Hobonichi Cousin size notebook in the back and have an index on the front page of it. I then can transfer the collections book to another cousin next year and won’t have to re-write things all over again.


  7. Love this! Thanks for sharing. It’s my first time to use a planner, I’ve been resisting it all my life because I’m not so great with it haha. But my responsibilities have been overwhelming recently and I felt I needed some place to list down the things I needed to do. This is a helpful way of hashing out the details of the cousin I purchased last month.


  8. I’ve struggled with this collection issue too. I use my Cousin for work only (have an A6 for the rest of my life) and am lucky enough not to have to work weekends. So for 2016 I’m going to try using the weekend pages for my collections and use the dates of those pages in the index which is in the blank pages at the back.


    1. Hey Nicola, thanks for taking the time to check out my post 😊 Because I write copious notes (during the 2 years of my PhD I’ve filled 5 extra large Evernote Moleskine notebooks) and most of my collections will be research related I’ll continue to have a separate notebook… But I do love the idea of it being all in one planner 🙃


    1. You certainly have! I am so excited for you…getting organised and planning is going to be wonderful over the next few weeks and months as your health improves and then…the world is your oyster, mussel, oh whatever mollusk you want your world to be I guess ❤


  9. Lucious detailed thoughts here on marrying the HOBO & BUJO. For collections, I use both the beige and navy A5 Notebooks and numbered them 1-100, but keep one in front and other in back to keep the binder balanced. Eager to see if/when you publish a Part 2. Until then, thanks so much for making precious time to share this with the world! What the world needs now is love, sweet love… and much more deliberate, thoughtful planning. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words…I can’t wait to start using it! I am impressed with your “balancing” act – love it! Waiting until after Christmas to order my notebooks just in case a lovely family member has decided to purchase them for me :p

      Part 2 will eventuate – need this year to come to a close so I can get started…
      Happy Holidays 😀


  10. Such a great idea. Love your post! I am excited to receive mine in the mail. What cover are you using? I haven’t bought a cover yet because I really have my eye set on the TS Leather cover but I first need to commit to using it for a good amount of time before investing on the cover. 🙂


    1. Thanks Jenn! I bought the silicone cover in navy blue which I live but would have preferred a sexy leather one… You should hold out and get when you want because it makes all the difference if you feel connected to your planner – it’s like a long-term relationship 😉 Thanks for reading… I’m going to post a missive about my first month using the hobo as a bujo very soon…when I’m not under the pump writing my PhD thesis 😬


  11. Glad I found this. I’m struggling with my Hobonichi Cousin after using a Leuchtturm1917 A5 for the previous 18 months. I miss the free-ness of a blank page,even though initially I thought having more structure would be a good thing. It turns out I feel a bit constricted and end up spreading collections across pages with no real indexing which means I tend not to commit as much to paper… speaking of which, I really love the Tomoe River paper!
    Such conflict… I’ll have to try what annemarine27 suggests.


    1. I totally understand Snott! I was the opposite…I’d keep setting up weekly and monthly pages to try and contain my future planning and found the hobonichi was the solution. For you perhaps the second Hobo Cousin is the way to go… maybe just having an additional hobo notebook would help you…there are options out there that are not as expensive as the Roterfaden – I think Kacheri at passionthemedlife.com had another option she discovered that was more cost effective. I think it was some type of faux-dori type cover. Check out her site anyway it’s great 🙂
      Thanks so much for your comment and I hope you’ll come back and visit soon.


    2. I struggle with loving my “cousin” that is why I wanted to see Jan’s post. I would love for everything to be in one book, which is why I bought the cousin but I found I really need to keep my work separate. I feel funny having all my personal stuff in my work planner. So, I recently went back to a Bullet Journal for work only and keeping the cousin for personal only. We’ll see how that goes for a while. 🙂


      1. I know what you mean annemarine27…keeping it separate is sometimes more important mentally than actually having it in an easy to port way…good luck and I hope you visit again soon 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Jan, thank you! I have been struggling on how to incorporate bj principles in my hobonichi techno cousin. I have a much better idea now. : )


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s