An Introduction to the Midori Traveler’s Notebook (part one)

Midori Traveler's notebook from the top with all the cords

The Midori Traveler’s Notebook is legendary but, to me at least, quite intimidating. It’s quite pricy to get into and there is an overwhelming number of options. I’ve spent quite a long time looking at it all from afar, not quite knowing where to begin. Then a month or so ago the rather wonderful Journal Shop were kind enough to send me a starter pack for me to try and to write about. In an effort to help people who were in my situation to decide if the Traveler’s Notebook is for them and, if so, know where to start, here is the first of a three part guide.

This first part is an introduction to the basic system and the cover. Part two will cover refills and part three will dip a toe ever so slightly into the vast array of accessories.

At it’s most basic, the Midori Traveler’s Notebook is a simple leather cover with an elastic band to hold notebooks inside, an elastic band to hold it closed and a thread to mark your page (like the ribbon you get in many notebooks). There are two sizes, the standard size (that I have) which is 12cm by 22cm (about as tall as an A5 notebook but a few centimetres slimmer) and the smaller pocket size which is 10cm by 13.5cm.

Midori Traveler's notebook closed

The cover itself is very high quality. The leather, which is available in dark brown or black (with other options sometimes available as special editions), is thick and durable. The only mark on it is a simply stamped ‘Midori Made in Thailand’.

Midori Traveler's notebook inside cover with lots of scuffs

Midori Notebooks are meant to be used and the leather ages beautifully (and quickly) as it picks up scuffs and scratches. This isn’t the solution you are looking for if you like your notebooks to remain in pristine condition.

When you buy a cover you will also receive a coloured elastic band (actually two, one as a spare) that is held in place with a knot inside the centre of the back cover. This band wraps around the cover to hold it closed.

Midori Traveler's notebook inside cover cords

You also get a cotton carry case, which is just a simple (though lovely) bag, not something I’ve found useful, and a plain paper refill. I’ll write about the refill in part two but what you need to know for now is that it’s held in place with an elastic band that’s threaded through the spine of the back cover and held tight with a tin fastener.

Midori Traveler's notebook inside cover with refills

The band has two loops inside the cover and so will hold two refills. You can buy additional bands, called [connecting bands][connecting] and use them to hold up to three refills in each loop, making for a rather bulging six refills if you’re feeling ambitious. (Chris Davis of the wonderful Davis Leatherworks has put together this great guide about how to do this with his fantastic Field Notes covers.)

Midori Traveler's notebook inside front cover

What you have, then, at its most basic, is a very high quality leather cover that will hold up to six refills. The refills are a proprietary size but the Midori Traveler’s Notebook is so popular there are many non-Midori options. Check back soon to find out all about the standard range of Midori refills.

Midori Traveler's notebook inside cover full

You can read Part Two, all about the refills, here.

Thank you so much to The Journal Shop for sending me all this stuff to use, keep and write about. They are a great shop with excellent customer service and they have a huge range of Midori products. I’ve tried not to let their generosity influence my views.


  1. Hi,

    thanks for the review here. Although they look really nice, I still don’t get the hype of that product, especially at that price tag. (Thanks btw for the link to Davis web site…)
    The size doesn’t suit my needs either, anyway.
    So… I’m waiting for the next two parts of the review. So far, it is great! Keep your good job. I added you in my RSS reader just a couple of days ago 🙂

    1. Hi Daniel. Thanks for reading! I’m planning on saying a little more about the hype and value in the third part. I have some more thinking to do about it all.

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