The Hobonichi Techo planner has seen explosive growth in the western markets in recent years and although it may not be as popular as the Leuchtturm 1917 or some of the other, more established planners and journals in the west, the Hobonichi Techo keeps on going from strength to strength month in, month out and has managed to grow a loyal fan base who use it as their planner of choice.
Due to the popularity of the planner, it is not surprising that so many people reach out asking for advice on the best pen for Hobonichi Techo planners. Thankfully, unlike some of the other popular planners and journals on the market right now, the Hobonichi Techo uses Tomoe River paper as standard that helps to prevent bleed making it the perfect planner for anyone who is a fan of fountain pens.
Although there are a large number of different Hobonichi pen tests on YouTube, a large number of people who use the planner tend to end up choosing a fountain pen with it due to this often not being possible with other popular planners. That said though, we have our short picks for the three main types of pen for the Hobonichi Techo below as we know that some of our readers will not want to use a fountain pen with their planner.
- Best Fountain Pen For Hobonichi - The Pilot Kakuno
- Best Gel Pen For Hobonichi - The Pilot FriXion
- Best Markers For Hobonichi - The Copic Multiliner
Although all three of the options above are excellent for use with the Hobonichi Techo with many people opting to add all three of them to their stationery collection, we have decided to select the Pilot Kakuno as our best overall pen for the Hobonichi planner. Not only is it extremely budget-friendly when compared to some of the other fountain pens on the market that write as smoothly as it does on Tomoe River paper but its reputation amongst the community is second to none.
The Best Pen For Hobonichi
There is absolutely no need to go out and get yourself a premium fountain pen like the Pelikan m600 for your Hobonichi planner as the Pilot Kakuno will easily be able to meet the needs of the vast majority, if not all of our readers. As it is an extremely budget-friendly fountain pen, the Kakuno is suitable for everyone, no matter the budget that they have to work with.
We know that some people are not huge fans of Japanese pens due to the slight differences in their sizing, design, and performance to a western pen so the Lamy Safari is probably the best alternative produced in a western country. That said though, if you are specifically looking for a pen for the Hobonichi Techo planner then we would highly recommend that you go with the Kakuno over the Safari as it outperforms it in multiple ways when used with the planner.
We will not be going over the core features of the Pilot Kakuno and touched on its features and benefits throughout each section as well as why we feel it should be your primary pen choice for a Hobonichi planner. Keep in mind that our other two recommended pens, the Pilot FriXion and the Copic Multiliner are both also great choices but we just feel that the Kakuno sneaks out ahead for the requirements of the majority of people.
The Nib Of The Pilot Kakuno
As you would expect from an entry-level, budget-friendly fountain pen, the nib of the Pilot Kakuno is made from stainless steel to help keep the price tag of the pen as low as possible. Thankfully though, Pilot has done an excellent job of engineering the nib of the pen to extremely smooth for general writing on most types of paper with some people choosing it as their go-to calligraphy pen too.
The pen is available with either a medium nib or a fine nib but please note that as Pilot is a Japanese pen brand, their nibs do run thinner than western pen brands. Their medium nib is closer to what a western pen brand’s fine nib would be and their fine nib is closer to a western pens extra fine so keep that in mind when making your selection.
Thankfully, unlike many of the budget-friendly fountain pens on the market, the nib on the Pilot Kakuno is replaceable but with the pen usually running at between $10 and $15 depending on the vendor, many people simply choose to pick up a new pen rather than replace a damaged nib. The nib itself does have either a smiley or winking face laser engraved on it to add to its character as the Kakuno was originally targeted towards children before it became so popular with the bullet journal and calligraphy communities.
The ink feed on the Pilot Kakuno is very basic but this has no effect on its performance when using it to write in a Hobonichi planner. One thing that we really do like about the Kakuno that we feel scores it points over its closest competitor, the Lamy Safari is that both the nib and the feed are fully rotatable. This allows you to align the nib of the pen to your writing style with ease no matter how you hold your pens when writing.
Although this will not be an issue for the vast majority of people who prefer to write normally with their pens in their Hobonichi planners, the Kakuno is not suited for reverse writing. When used for reverse writing the pen is extremely scratch but being a cheap fountain pen, we can’t hold this against it as it was never designed for reverse writing and other wise offers a very smooth and stable writing experience.
Recommended Ink For The Pilot Kakuno
Although the standard ink with the cheap replaceable cartridge does perform well with a Hobonichi Techo planner, you can really improve your writing experience by upgrading the ink you use to the Pilot Iroshizuku Ink. Neither inks have issues with bleed in the Hobonichi planners due to the use of Tomoe River paper but the Iroshizuku Ink can make the pen a little smoother.
On top of this, due to Iroshizuku Ink being fast drying, it also reduces the chance of you accidentally smudging your writing in your planner with your hand or having to leave your pages open to allow the ink to dry before closing your planner. As the Pilot Kakuno was designed to be loaded via cartridge, if you do want o use Iroshizuku Ink for your Hobonichi Techo you will have to pick up a cheap converter to allow you to use bottled ink but the process is extremely quick and easy.
The Ink Reservoir Of The Pilot Kakuno
As the Pilot Kakuno is a cartridge based fountain pen without the use of a converter, there is no traditional ink reservoir to speak of. That said though, there is a basic ink window at the front of the barrel so you can quickly and easily check the ink level of your ink cartridge to ensure that you never run out of ink without warning when writing in your Hobonichi Techo.
If you do choose to upgrade your Pilot Kakuno to use a converter, the ink window allows you to keep an eye on your ink levels but using bottled ink in a converter will last you much longer than the standard cartridges anyway. If you do plan to stick with the regular cartridge-based ink then expect to run dry after around three weeks or regular use. If you are sticking with cartridges, we would highly recommend that you bulk buy the cartridges as it works out much cheaper to get the twelve-packs rather than singles.
The Pilot Kakuno Barrel
The barrel of the Kakuno is faceted with six sides offering some protection from your fountain pen accidentally rolling off your Hobonichi Techo planner when taking a break and potentially breaking. Although some people don’t like faceted pens, most people tend to be quickly won over once they are used to using them.
We have noticed a number of people reaching out to ask about the two holds at the rear of the barrel of the Kakuno. These are vacuum holes and are required to be in the pen by law as the Kakuno was originally designed as a childs fountain pen. If you were wanting to refill the ink in the pen with an eye dropper, the two holds pretty much rules that option out but the majority of people will be sticking with the standard cartridge system or upgrading to a converter at this price point.
Although the barrel of the pen is made from plastic, it is surpassingly robust, especially when you factor in its price tag but we doubt the pen will stand up well to any serious punishment. Keep in mind that this is an entry-level pen and has not been designed to last you for decades like a premium fountain pen such as the Pelikan m600. The low price tag of the Pilot Kakuno allows you to quickly and easily replace it if it does end up getting damaged but we would still expect you get three or more years of use out of it as a minimum provided you take care of the pen.
The plastic in the body is nice and light too ensuring that the pen is only ever around ten grams even with a full ink cartridge installed in it. On top of this, the pen has been designed to remain balanced with the cap posted and not be back heavy. This helps to score it more points over some of the competing pens at this price bracket that can end up being back heavy and ruining the writing experience.
The Pilot Kakunos Cap
The cap of the pen uses a snap cap design so there are no threads at the front of the barrel as there would be for a twist off cap. Although most people do prefer twist off caps, they are rarer at this price point, especially when you factor in the other features of the Pilot Kakuno and what the pen has going for it. On top of this, twist off caps are usually for people wanting their pen for work so the cap wont easily come off and cause ink marks on their cloths. If you just want a pen for your Hobonichi Techo planner then this is not an issue as you can keep all of your stationary on your desk anyway.
One of the main criticisms we see of the Pilot Kakuno is that its cap has no clip but as we just mentioned, this should not be a real drawback for anyone looking for a pen for their Hobonichi Techo as you will not need the cap clip for storing the pen. Most people have their own pen clips or holders for their main pen for their planners and journals anyway allowing them to easily keep it with their planner when on the move too.
Dimensions Of The Pilot Kakuno
The Pilot Kakuno comes in with a capped length of 13.9cm, a posted length of 15.5cm, and an uncapped length of 12.7cm making it a relatively small fountain pen. As we touched on above, the low, 10g weight of the pen, even with a full ink cartridge makes it ideal for most people too. The section on the pen is slightly smaller and thinner than usual when compared to a pen from a western brand but you can quickly and easily get used to this if you are constantly using your Kakuno for writing in your Hobonichi.
If you are on the hunt for the best pen for Hobonichi Techo planners then the Pilot Kakuno really is a no brainer. Its core features, excellent performance, and low price tag make it the ideal option for most people and its reputation amongst the community due to the lack of bleed or smear when writing on the Hobonichi Techos Tomoe River paper score it bonus points over the competition.