Sunday, December 27, 2015

My Midori Travelers' Notebook - Japan Travel Journal

Japan Travel Journal

We are back from another epic trip! And this time I have recorded / journalled our trip in my new Midori Travelers' Notebook, bought right there in Tokyo. It wasn't planned, but once I saw how beautiful it is, I rationalized how we can use it! Besides it cost about half the price it is sold in Singapore! I figure I will re-use the cover for every trip we take, with 1 notebook to cover notes/research we always make on where and what to do each day, and a 2nd notebook to record and journal on the trip, and where all the bits and pieces we pick up can go! The notebooks can then be removed and stored in folders as completed records of our trips, while the cover will be used on future trips :)

To see highlights of how I did travel journals in the past, see these posts:
also check my latest LONDON TRAVELERS NOTEBOOK  post 
by clicking the image below

And so the moment I got back I got to work on my traveler's notebook. Really enjoyed the process! 
I chose the 014 kraft paper refill notebook which has 64 pages or about 32 spreads, and planned out my pages to cover highlights of our trip. First I selected (about 3 to 5 photos for each spread), printed them out on my home printer, and cut them out. Then I got busy pasting and using all the stickers and washi tape in my rarely used paper scrapping supplies. I tried some stamping but my inks weer all old and didn't work well, so left that out. And finally hand-journalled. My handwriting is kind of messy and doesn't go straight even though I tried, but it feels authentic and me, how it should be in my opinion :)

The simple Cover Page

A Preface page 
- as this is our 3rd time to Japan, our goals were to take it leisurely, go beyond the touristy spots, and try to taste and soak in and savour all that is Japan and Japanese.

Two spreads to cover the day to day itinerary for the 16 days trip

Followed by Highlights of the trip, sorted by themes:

We visited Historical Sites 

Hiked historical trails between preserved old towns

Went up to UNESCO Heritage site of Koyasan and the atmospheric centuries old Okunoin cemetery
Koyasan travel journal

Marveled at the beauty and elegance of Kyoto
Kyoto travel journal

We did the whimsical, quirky, cute and fun,

including going to a Bunny Cafe (!)

We experienced traditional towns, streets and traditional foods and ways of life

We made our own Cup Noodles

Also skiied (on fake snow) and stayed in a 'log cabin'

But mostly we stayed in Various AirB&Bs 

We always play games on trips, but here in Japan we played Japanese games

Went on a walking tour led by volunteers
Tokyo travel journal

And of course we totally enjoyed the Japanese Food!
tokyo travel journal

Mostly in hole-in-the-wall joints, and also in the very-happening Japanese Cafe scene!
tokyo travel journal

They have the fanciest bakeries and confectioneries, and even their train station bento sets are incredibly delicious
tokyo travel journal

Taking the public transport is a big way in how we get to know a country

We also got to visit some parks and take one of the many giant Ferris wheels

Not to mention the shopping and window-shopping we did.

The 3 men went on anime/manga hunt

The rest of the pages were filled with more store-cards, name cards from all the shops

Finally I ended with 3 pages of reflections - 
so much good stuff and fantastic shared memories unique just
to the four of us
tokyo travel journal

The completed notebook - just about an inch thick - I love it!

A Bit more about My Process
You might have noticed that on each page, I tied the theme together using these labels that said "we were here", "we did this", and so on. What I did was to repeat and arrange digital labels (I used these from 'SmartAleck by Sugarplum', and 'So Majoe by OneLittleBird) on a page in photoshop, typed out all the phrases I wanted to use, and printed them out on A4 (8.5x11) sticker or labelling paper. Once printed and cut, they easily went into my notebook.

 For the photos, because I chose the kraft paper notebook, a white frame for the photos would look great, so that's what I went with most pages. I did some without frames to keep it interesting. Also did some in phonebooth strip style, and in varieties of square, landscape and portrait formats.

I did mine in A4 (8.5x11) photoshop files so I can print them on my printer, and sized them so they would fit the notebook nicely. If you want to try these, you can download the template by clicking on the link below. Once printed out, cut along the grey lines. Love to know if you are trying this too!
photo template for midori travelers' notebook

Also see my latest Bali Travelers' Notebook here


  1. I love your travel journal. I have been ogling Midori journals in the last few weeks and your post entices me even more. Did you add the photos after you came back home and left space for them while travelling?

    1. Thanks Rikki. Because I bought the Midori notebook towards the end of my trip, I completed everything after I came back (transferred journaling that was captured on my phone to the notebook). But in future trips I intend to journal as I go, and as you suggested leave space for the photos. I think it will work now that i've worked through one and know the amount of space I will need. All the best if you jump in!

  2. What a gorgeous mini travel album! I love the labels that you used -- it gives continuity to all the pages.

  3. Thanks Pam. That's exactly what I was aiming for :)

  4. Love this! Did you print your photos on photo paper, or just plain white paper? I want to do something similar but in a "photo a day" concept but I'm not sure if I print the photos on paper, that they will last.

    1. Hi Dawn, I printed my photos on photo paper, I prefer the crispness and color saturation of photo paper. And yes probably they will last longer than on paper. A photo a day concept sounds cool!

  5. Thank you for this blog post! I recently got a FujiFilm instax mini polaroid camera, and I've been looking for a good leatherbound journal to paste my pictures into, and may be write some titles and notes relating to my experiences. I think the midori with this kraft paper may be just what I need... any other journals you would recommend for a collection like this? Thanks!



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