How to choose your 2020 Hobonichi

In case you missed it, Hobonichi started their preview festival on August 1st.

This post contains affiliate links. They will be marked with a *.

Each day, they gave a sneak peek of what was to come when the Hobonichi shop opens for 2020 orders on September 1st.

This got me thinking about my plans for 2020. This seems crazy only halfway through the year but I love the excitement of ordering a new Hobo around September 1st.

Last year I ordered a couple of items I wound up not wanting (and selling on) and so this year I’m going to plan my 2020 purchases a bit better.

Before I get into how I’m doing that, I wrote a post in 2017 on planning your planners. If you’re new to planning, or have struggled to find a planning set up that works for you, it’s probably worth giving this post a read as I take you through how I plan my planning set up for each year.

Anyway, onto Hobonichi for 2020!

Step one: review 2019’s planners

I started the year with four Hobonichi planners. One Cousin and three Weeks.

I’m currently in those four still, with a bullet journal in a Leuchtturm and a personal Filofax for keeping useful information.

Hobonichi Cousin – desk planner

I initially carried on using this just as I was in 2018, as my main planner (set up post here). Recently I’ve made a switch and no longer plan in the weekly pages, and instead do daily planning in a bullet journal style.


  • Great size for lots of information and plans
  • Lays flat
  • Subtle grid on the pages makes for a lot of flexibility on how you use the pages
  • Has enough layouts and pages that you can feasibly plan your whole life in it


  • Too large to carry around
  • I no longer use the weekly planning pages
  • Thin Tomoe River paper is easy to crease (because I’m very heavy-handed)

As I’m no longer planning my week in my Cousin and I don’t necessarily need an A5 size for my bullet journalling I’m considering switching to an A6 for 2020.

Hobonichi Weeks – work planner

I’d used a Weeks last year as an EDC and knew it would be perfect as a work planner. Using the left hand side for day specific tasks, and the right hand side for general tasks is perfect combination for me.


  • Great size! Doesn’t add any bulk to the work bag
  • Lots of flexible space on a weekly spread, perfect when I don’t have a lot of day specific tasks
  • Cover has space for business cards (which is handy in my work)


  • I hate that there’s no grid on the left hand side of the page
  • Due to its small size, I have to keep a separate notebook for meeting notes

I’m definitely going to purchase another Weeks for work in 2020. The size is perfect and fits nicely in my small Delfonics pouch* which I use as my work pencil case.

Hobonichi Weeks – EDC planner

Again, this is a set up I’ve been using since 2018. I’ve found my groove with this planner using it in conjunction with my daily planning in the Cousin.


  • Size is perfect for an everyday carry
  • Fits in the Hobonichi Ane Pouch which I now use as a purse


  • As above, I hate that the left hand side isn’t grid paper
  • I don’t use a lot of the notes pages

This is a perfect every day carry planner and the only one I think I’ve ever stuck with for more than a couple of months.

Hobonichi Weeks – health and fitness planner

This was a completely unplanned purchase. When I got around to purchasing my Cousin from Amazon Japan I just had to have this beautiful cactus Weeks!

I decided to use this for health and fitness stuff as I started the year on a health kick. You can see my set up post here. Basically the monthly pages track my exercise each month and the weekly pages are for meal planning. The notes pages were intended for recipes but didn’t really get used.

While I used this planner this year, I won’t be replicating it next year. The exercise tracking can go into my EDC or desk planner very easily. The meal planning can go straight into my Cousin (particularly if I’m not using the weekly pages for anything else).

Step two: decide what stays from the previous year

This is fairly straightforward. The Weeks EDC and the Weeks both work for me, so I’ll be keeping them.

The Cousin is where it gets trickier. I’m not using the weekly pages and I’m also not necessarily using the whole of a daily page. I could therefore downsize to an A6, or try the new ‘day free‘ Hobonichi which is basically a Cousin without weekly pages, and undated notes pages instead of dailies.

I’ve tried A6 before and it was just a bit too small for me. Particularly for a desk planner. The day free is tempting but doesn’t come with as many notes pages as daily pages in the Cousin. So if I do really get into my journaling and use a page a day, I’ll fill the day free before the end of next year.

I’ll probably change my mind a couple of times before September 1st, but sticking with the Cousin is the best idea for me – it’ll be my third year in one!

Step three: work out if there’s anything missing from my set up

This is a good time to reflect on if there’s anything that’s not quite right in your set up. I’ve added two things to my planning set up this year; a bullet journal for goal planning and a personal Filofax. The Filofax has a pretty simple set up, and it’s for more ‘permanent’ information that doesn’t need to change or be moved to a new planner each year. I have a perpetual birthday calendar, addresses and info I need to keep to hand for example.

Do you have anything similar missing from your line up? Do you find that you’re forever leaving post it notes everywhere and so need a notepad to keep with your planner for on the go notes and thoughts? Or maybe you don’t have a planner for on the go and find that you can’t make plans outside of the house because of it?

If so, it’s probably time to take a look at the Hobonichi line up and see if any of those planners might work to fill that gap.

Step four: covers and accessories

Now you’ve got the serious stuff sorted, it’s time to take a look at accessories! Covers, pencil boards, pouches and more! It’s pretty easy to get carried away with the Hobonichi store. That’s why it’s a good idea to plan your purchase before release day (you can see the full store line up from the 28th August) and really think about what it is you need and will use. I love the zipped covers, but I know I hate zipped planners, so I’ll probably never take the plunge! I tend to load up on other accessories instead. My top accessory picks:

  1. Sticky pockets (the little yellow things in the picture above) you can add these into your planner anywhere, and they’re perfect for storing cards, sticky notes or pictures.
  2. Pencil board – writing is so much easier on the left hand pages with one of these underneath.
  3. Cover on cover – I wish these existed for the Cousin! These add in extra storage, a way of closing the weeks and a pen loop (with some finessing of it).
  4. Ane pouch – my favourite Hobonichi item! It’s now my purse and allows me to carry my Weeks, stationery and everything my purse would (and more!).

Hopefully this little guide has helped with those 2020 decisions!

If you’re planning a purchase on release date (1st-3rd September) I’d love to know what you’re planning on buying in the comments below!