Techo: Get Organized in 2016 with a Japanese Planner

  • Now that 2016 is around the corner, you might have noticed a plethora of little books on display in every corner. Usually around this time of year, people start thinking about the year ahead. Planners in Japan are unique, extremely useful and very popular. In some cases, they are referred to as a “Life book”. In Japanese, planners are called “techo” (手帳). It’s a great tool to have to start the new year, and it’s not surprising to see many people pulling out these cute little books on the train to jot things down suddenly! But if you’re like me and don’t know how to choose the best planner for you, or what you should even be looking for, keep reading below!

    One of many great things about Japan is their care and attention to detail. Contrary to popular belief, Japan still continues to appreciate the value of paper, in comparison to some countries who opt for electronic planners instead. Great emphasis is taken with planners in Japan, and it’s not rare to see very personalized planners that include photos, pop outs, etc. What should you consider before purchasing your planner (techo) for next year?

    What’s your Style?


    Generally, the most popular styles are business and casual. Business planners have a more professional feel, usually in dark colours (black, brown, etc.) and in leather. They are very simple and are organized in a very concise manner. On the other hand, casual planners have a range of styles, colours, and designs. It’s all up to you! Search the internet to get some ideas. Here are some examples below.


    Are you going to be using your planner strictly for schedules, dates, etc.? Or do you want a hybrid of planning and daily journal entries? Or would you rather a weekly format opposed to a monthly format? All of these are possible! Usually, you can find your choice of format quickly by looking at the planners in store. They are usually organized by style and have many open planners for you to flip through before making your final decision.

    Some different styles for various purposes:

    • Planner/Journal+Goals (if you want a long term journal/planner, check out the ‘5-year diary’ series! It’s great for goal building)
    • Monthly format
    • Weekly format
    • Calendar format with note/space for quick notes/entries
    • Japanese writing format (grid for vertical writing/freestyle)
    • Tabs for quick access to different months, etc.
    • Binder style (easy to refill, insert, move around paper, etc.)
    • Folded Pages (the month is printed on two sheets of paper, so you can have a larger space to fill in)
    • Horizontal vs. Vertical layouts


    • Stickers
    • Design tape
    • Clips, scrapbook accessories
    • Photos (ex. Instax, etc.)
    • Highlighters, coloured pens, and stamps
    Where can I buy a Techo?

    Frankly, they are everywhere in Japan! They can be found in clothing stores, dollar stores, even convenience stores. However, one of the best places to check out is LOFT. The selection in LOFT is endless and you’ll surely find a planner suitable for your needs.

    Personally, I love planners that are in a calendar/journal format, it really helps me with my goals and motivation. However, whatever one you choose, I’m sure it will suit your needs. A techo is not only a planner but a small book of memories. How awesome is it to finish a year, and have a recollection of everything you accomplished in the previous year?

    Check out the Hobonichi Techo 2016 Website to purchase yours. I hope your new Planner will assist you in your daily life and help you accomplish many things in 2016!