I’ve recently been hooked into the traveler’s notebook craze as I mentioned in my post yesterday where I reviewed and compared Chic Sparrow and Foxy Fix notebook covers. Today I am going to share a detailed look at the original Midori Traveler’s Notebooks and explain how I use my own.
It all started (as much does these days) on Instagram where I noticed more and more of my favorite fellow Planner Enthusiasts posting pictures of their beautiful notebooks over the past year or so. As a notebook lover and dedicated journaler myself I’m always interested in seeing different products on the market and how people use them. I decided to take the plunge earlier this year and am so glad I did, because now my Midori passport has become my favorite and one and only notebook of choice. That’s saying something from a gal who usually has multiple, separate journals in use at one time!
The Midori company was established in 1950 in Japan, offering paper products and stationary. They sell everything from sticky notes to small desktop supplies. Their notebooks are known for MD (Midori Diary) paper, developed in the 1960’s specifically for diary writing. It is, as they claim, “paper dedicated to the best in writing comfort” with a nice slip and super fine texture. One of the best selling products in their lineup is the ever popular Midori Traveler’s Notebook, which was designed as a tool for people to document their travels and life experiences in a simple way. The notebook can last a lifetime as user’s continue to refill the journals as needed.
The design is simple: a rectangular piece of leather fashioned into a cover by hand in Chiangmai, Thailand, which is strung with elastic, a string bookmark, and a tin clasp along the center binding to hold journals inside. There is another elastic band acting as a strap horizontally around the center. The Midori notebooks are made in Japan and crafted with their own MD paper. The leather cover builds character as it ages, becoming more glossy and uniquely textured with use. The Midori Traveler’s Notebooks (often referred to as MTNs in social media) are available in two sizes, regular (4.75″ x 8.75″) and passport (3.75″ x 5.25″), and come in two leather colors, black and brown (there is also a special limited edition blue leather only in the regular size currently available). Both sizes come packed in a muslin bag that is wrapped in both cardboard and plastic with extra elastic, a blank journal, and a description of the product and directions for how to fill it.
Here you can see the basic construction of the Midori Traveler’s Notebook, which is the same for both sizes. The outside of the cover is finished while the inside is left unfinished. The elastic band spine system is held in place by a tin clasp, which also houses a string bookmark. The strap that keeps the notebook shut is another piece of elastic knotted and strung through a hole located in the center of the back cover.
The regular Midori Traveler’s Notebook appears to be the most popular size in the Planner Community. There are more Midori inserts available for this size than the smaller passport. You can purchase other accessories such as vinyl zip pockets and credit card holders, kraft folders, and clip on pen loops for the notebook cover as well. One to three journals comfortably inside the notebook cover using the included elastic band as well as a rubber band, which you can either buy through Midori or just use your own. I show how to fill the Midori Traveler’s Notebook in my coordinating video (below).
I personally prefer the passport size as it is more manageable for me to carry around in my medium size purses. My passport notebook cover arrived with a bit of a white coating on the finished side of the leather, which dissipated after about a week or so of use. Just two months into daily handling the leather has changed considerably, becoming notably softer to the touch, deeper in color, and with a glossier finish. The inevitable nicks and scuff marks just add to its character. The leather is wearing beautifully, retaining its original level of give and pliability.
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Three journals seems to be the limit in the passport Midori Traveler’s Notebook, as you can see from my own example. I keep a graph journal for notes, a lined journal for my daily gratitude entries, and a blank journal for my diary as well as a zipper case. I also use a Midori pen holder. I’ve added a custom monogram closure from Foxy Fix to my elastic for personalization. I share more about how I use my passport MTN in the coordinating video.
I don’t know of any other brands that manufacture journals that fit as well inside the Midori Traveler’s Notebooks in both sizes other than Midori (please share if you do!). You can, however, find print-at-home and printed inserts available through Etsy sellers. There is a nice range of choices from Midori, including different weights and styles of paper, calendar inserts, sticker pockets, in addition to the other kinds of accessories I’ve already mentioned. Here are a few listed on Amazon currently:
Regular Size Inserts
Passport Size Inserts
Other Midori Accessories
These inserts are on the pricier side compared to similarly sized notebooks. In fact, the notebook covers themselves are fairly expensive as well and once you’ve put together your whole kit, you can rack up quite a cost. I found the best notebook cover prices through Amazon with the regular size ranging from $39 to $43 and the passport from $33 to $35 (depending on the color). This is less than the three other major US online retailers, Goulet Pens ($57.40 and $50.20 respectively), Baum-Kuchen ($56 and $52), and JetPens ($57 and $50). These three web stores do offer slightly better pricing on journal inserts, but the price difference is negated if you’re an Amazon Prime member with shipping costs (JetPens offers free USA shipping on order over $25). Please keep in mind that this pricing is subject to change and is only accurate from the posting date of this blog post.
If you missed my last post, I recommend checking it out if you’d like to enter into the giveaway to win one of four traveler’s notebook bundles.
I’d love to know if you’ve been hooked into the traveler’s notebook craze like me! Please feel free to leave a comment or send me pics via Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram (be sure to tag me if you do) if you care to share.
* Post contains affiliate links. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are genuinely my own. *