Travelers notebook and techos

Anyone have experience with either? I just got an a5 endless recorder, and I have to say, the Tomoe river paper is choice. I keep eyeing the other two common systems.

Tomoe River paper is complicated. IT’s not the same as it was. ER is using the older “good” Tomoe, and it’s not made any more.

I have a Travelers “normal” size and like it. A lot of people are turning to the pricier but very customizable Plotter system, from the company that owns Midori/Travelers.

I’m not a fan of graph paper generally, so haven’t tried any of the Hobinichi Techno/Cousins planners.

The Gentleman Stationer has a good series of posts comparing the various systems, starting here.


I have the Midori Traveler’s notebook, and absolutely love it. I’ve had it for 6 years now and the notebook goes with me wherever I go… always…
The leather ages very well with use and that gives it a very stylish “lived” look.

The easy of switching content is what makes this the perfect companion for me. Currently it contains a calendar insert, a lined paper one for meeting notes and a blank paper one for sketch-noting

I used to run a stationery review website with a focus on paper and fountain pens so I have lots of opinions on this :joy:

As @Medievalist notes, Tomoe River paper did change as a result of a manufacturing change, and the “original” best paper is almost impossible to find now, lingering only where people had it squirrelled away. The “current” version is still better than most papers out there, though not as good as it used to be. If you are in the U.S. and/or a country with a strong currency against the U.S. dollar, Seven Seas notebooks are still the best in my opinion:

However, last year the company that makes Tomoe River announced it would be ceasing production of that paper all together, so it’s availability will only lessen with time. (For me in the UK most online retailers have now sold out of whatever stock they had - people are understandably stockpiling!)

There isn’t really a substitute for Tomoe River - it was the best for a reason - but I personally will over time be making a switch back to Rhodia, which uses Clairefontaine paper. It’s much thicker than Tomoe River, but very smooth and handles wet inks well. I don’t have to for ages though because I stockpiled some Seven Seas notebooks ahead of brexit (the UK leaving the EU weakened the £ and increased shipping costs and taxes, so I knew it would be my last order from the U.S. shop :slightly_frowning_face:).

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Settle in - this might take a while :scream_cat:

I’ve used Traveler’s and Techo for some years.

First off, @Medievalist is correct - Tomoe River paper has changed (sob) - whether you like the new paper is very much personal taste.

I have standard Traveler’s and the small, pocket size ones. The covers are excellent - hard-wearing and ageing well. There’s a big range of inserts - as well as those from Midori, Etsy is fun of people making their own versions. I used the standard Traveler’s exclusively for about a year as my go-to notebook (I made it into a bullet journal). It’s easy to carry, and great to write with (especially for fountain perusers like me). My only friction point was that the pages were a little small for work use. I now use the standard Traveler’s when I’m … travelling, for notes and paper tickets/receipts. It’s about 7 years old now and as good as new. The pocket Traveler’s is may carry-around pocket friend.

Because the Traveler’s pages were a little small, I tried the Techo (A5) for a couple of years. Lovely books, but I didn’t get on with the pre-dated pages - just didn’t;t suit the way I work. In year 1 I used the single book, in year two the split (6 months per book- easier to carry). If you like the pre-dated pages, the Techo is great. My partner uses the standard Techo as her journal and calendar and loves it. Note that the standard Techo comes in an English version, but the A5 is Japanese only. Also note that if you order direct from Hobonichi, they usually included some fun little goodies in the pack.

I also spent a while with the Stalogy A5, which is like the A5 Techo, but not pre-dated - you write the dates in yourself. Lovely book, lovely paper, but it didn’t stick with me.

I landed on the Nanami Seven Seas - A5 size, lots of pages, Tomoe River paper, really well made. Unfortunately, they only ship within the United States at present, so I can’t get a replacement.

I like notebooks, so I’ll frequently try one out just to see. I’ve had Moleskin’s, official Bullet Journals and a variety of “artisan” books from Etsy, and I’ve found this:

  • If the size suits you, the Traveler’s can’t be beat. Easy to carry, easy to write/draw in, a vast range of inserts for pretty much any conceivable purpose, and very good value.
  • If you like the one-book-per-year approach, the Techo is very nice - the standard one is small enough to be an easy carry and it’s very well designed. The larger version is also good, but doesn’t come in a full English version.

Finally - a note of warning. Notebooks can be addictive (I have at least 15 that I haven’t even started yet). There’s something about them that appeals to me. Think about whether you simply want a workaday item to write stuff in, or whether you want a notebook as well for its enjoyment value.

Hope that helps - happy to answer any questions you might have

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The 2023 Hobonichi Techo Cousin (the A5 version) is available in English for the first time this year (it was released last month). Did you know they also do an undated version of the Techo?

I missed that - thanks for the info

Thanks for that too

Except …

I’ve been notebook-sober for over a year now, but these updates might have me falling off the wagon :sob:

I may need an intervention :scream:


I’ve been using Kokuyo’s Jibun Techo Biz B5 Slim for two years now; I recently bought my third. The MIO paper it uses is really strong, smooth and handles .5 mm ballpoint pens really well. I’m using a Pentel Vicuna multi pen.

EDIT: I wouldn’t buy Kokuyo’s soft covers; they attract dirt (soft material and light pastel colors only) and pen marks won’t come off. Other than that, they’re perfectly sized.

I am addicted to now. It all started when they sold Scotch tape dispensers in the shape of a small frosted chocolate donut, and it went downhill from there. Sadly, I never bought one, and they’re not for sale anymore.

I looked at those, but I managed to resist. Maybe if I hadn’t sworn off buying (even) more notebooks, I’d have tried them.

This needs t be recognised by the medical profession as a serious problem - notebooks and pens (especially fountain pens) are destroying lives and families. :grinning:


Lol I also use those :see_no_evil: I love week-to-view planners with vertical columns; they’re so great for visualising time, and the Jibun Techo paper is great. All my meetings are in iCal, but I often copy them into my Jibun so I can work out which tasks I can fit around all the things I have booked in.

Actually this is a weird workflow you don’t see people talking about much. All my meetings go in iCal, I use a paper planner to try and fit in all my tasks around the meetings (my tasks are in a digital app), then I go back to iCal to block out the bigger chunks of time with the tasks I’ve decided. I don’t put short tasks back in iCal (just so it doesn’t get too cluttered), I leave them pencilled in my planner so I have an idea when I can get to them.

However you can use your tools to solve your problems, that’s best.

I only use iCal for doctor visits and personal appointments I might forget. Also birthdays. 8 am work appointments go there, too.

My work is filled with many small jobs, with longer jobs I do at my home office. Far easier to write a name down in a planner than to fill everything out in an iCal entry.
Daily journal is in Drafts, sent to DT when I’m done for the day. Permanent reference is in Apple Notes. EDIT: as of 2022-10-twentysomething I’ve switched to UpNote for phone notes + daily journal and DT for laptop archiving. DTTG is there only for transferring articles to DT from phone.

Most of the special Jibun Techo pages get reused for other things.

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I have a Traveler’s passport-size notebook, which is my EDC notebook, along with a Pilot Petit pen (attached with a Traveler’s pen-holder clip). It feels so retro and cleanly crafted that I enjoy holding the notebook and writing in it. Heck, I just enjoy looking at it.