Motherhood & Parenting in Japan - Shopping in Japan

The Best Japanese Gifts For Kids

Last Updated on 2024-03-23 by Teni

Is “travel” on your list of new year’s resolutions for 2024? Whether you’re a Japan bucket list visitor in search of unique cultural treasures or a fellow resident seeking the perfect gift for young loved ones back home, my guide to the best Japanese gifts is your passport to a world of delightful surprises. These hand-picked treasures are sure to make your souvenir shopping easier – and light up your kids’ faces, too!

Here are the best Japanese gifts for kids, a list thoroughly researched among my daughter’s friends and the elementary school students that I tutor for Eiken prep! I also included a few practical items as well. This is an updated edition of 20 Best Amazon Japan Finds For Babies and Toddlers, which is undergoing a massive overhaul for 2024!

The Best Japanese Gifts For Kids

This post contains affiliate links which means that The Wagamama Diaries makes a small commission of items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

Bilingual Manga

I’m kicking off this list with manga, as they are a safe gift option that won’t take up much space in your suitcase or carry on – unless you’re shopping for the entire Bleach box set

Older kids and advanced younger learners of Japanese may enjoy the challenge of putting their language skills to the test with this bilingual manga based on the hit animated movie, Your Name

Whether for manga enthusiasts or those embarking on a bilingual journey, these books offer a unique fusion of entertainment and education, making them a thoughtful and enriching gift.

Available on Amazon Japan

Bitzee (Tobidase! Cubits)

 

Winner of 2023 Japan Toy Awards 2023 Tobidase! Cubits, known as Bitzee in English speaking regions, are a sensational digital pet that reacts to your swipes, tilts, and touch. When you open the cube, the character pops out, and you can actually interact with it. With each interaction, your Cubits will grow and eventually evolve into 1 of 15 characters. On the other hand, if you don’t take care of your Cubits, it will run away from home! 

In addition to standard care play such as feeding, cleaning, putting it to bed, etc there are 15 different types of mini-games, like quizzes and racing.

Even though there are 15 playable characters, once you get the hang of it, it’s possible to obtain all the characters and mini-games in just one day.

Available on Amazon Japan

Calico Critters (Sylvanian Families)

Did you know that Calico Critters, also known as Sylvanian Families, are originally from Japan? When you think about it, it makes sense given their perfectly detailed charming miniature universe! 

With attention to detail that is second to none, Sylvanian Families create a magical realm for children to explore, fostering creativity and companionship. These meticulously crafted figurines and playsets ignite imaginative storytelling and promote social skills through role-playing. 

If you’re new to the world of Sylvanian Families, you can’t go wrong with the starter set that includes its Red Roof Country Home. It features a red roof with brightly coloured walls that makes up the delightful Chocolate Rabbit Family home.

Available on Amazon Japan

Copic Markers and Drawing Pad Set

If your recipient is an aspiring manga artist or just loves to doodle to their imagination’s content, then this Copic marker set is your go-to gift from Japan!

Copic markers are the secret sauce for adding that perfect pop to sketches and crafts., thanks to their vivid, blendable colors that turn  ordinary drawings into eye-popping masterpieces.

What makes Copic markers as a fantastic gift is that they are a sustainable expression of Japanese craftsmanship. These markers can be re-inked and the nib replaced, ensuring that young artists can use them for  years to come.

Available on Amazon Japan

Kumon Flashcards

Help young language learners dive into the awesome world of Japanese language and culture with Kumon Japanese flashcards! These colorful cards are not just fun; they’re like a secret passcode to mastering hiragana, katakana, kanji, wrapped in cool visuals. 

Forget boring lessons; these flashcards make learning a blast. It’s not just about the language; it’s a whole cultural adventure in a box. Perfect for curious minds and language lovers embarking on their second, third or even fourth language, Kumon Japanese flashcards are a thoughtful gift from Japan. PS, they also have Kumon flashcards for numbers, too!

Available on Amazon Japan

Licca-Chan

With her timeless charm and endless wardrobe, Licca-chan is a cultural icon symbolizing friendship and creativity, enchanting children’s hearts since her debut in 1967. 

Hailing from Japan’s famed toy company, Takara, each Licca-chan doll is a canvas for imaginative play, fostering storytelling, and fashion adventures. 

Yumeiro (“Dream Color”) Licca-chan was released in 2020 and still remains a birthday/kindergarten graduation/Christmas gift staple in Japan. What makes this particular Licca-chan doll so popular is that her hair changes from purple to pink with the Diamond Cool Stick, and from purple to blue when heated by hand. 

An updated, high-tech version, Color Change Gelato Licca-chan, was released in October 2023 and is a Japan Best Toy Award recipient. It uses a LED wand to transform Licca’s hair and is compatible with Yumeiro Licca-chan. The matching Gelato Hair & Makeup Bag doubles as a beauty salon and carry-case for Licca-chan and her fabulous hair accessories. 

Available on Amazon Japan

Pokemon Card Booster Packs and Pokemon Card Booster Boxes

Pokemon cards are extremely hard to find, even if you live here in Japan. But if you manage to snag a few Japanese packs for family members back home, you’re sure to make this year an unforgettable one!

For best results, I suggest shopping in person – but don’t waste your time at the Pokemon Center, and you can forget about places like Toys R Us, Bic Camera, and Yodobashi Camera. 

Instead, try your neighborhood convenience store or drugstore! Directly ask the staff behind the counter if they have any Pokemon card booster packs for sale:

Sumimasen, pokemon kaado ha arimasen ka?

(Excuse me, but do you have any Pokemon cards?) 

Must-have Japanese Pokemon card booster packs and booster boxes:

Shiny Treasure ex // V Star Universe // Shiny Star V // Pokemon 151 // Ruler of the Black Flame 

Available on Amazon Japan

PuniRunes PuniPlus

When you think of handheld games from Japan, the Nintendo Switch might be the first thing that comes to mind. (Unless you’re around my age, and you still keep referring to the Switch as as “DS”)

But, my first grade daughter and her friends are obsessed with PuniRunes, the 4D successor to Tamagochi.  Winner of the Japan Toy Awards in 2021, PuniRunes are interactive “pets” that you can actually “touch” when you insert your finger into the device!

These adorable creatures, born from the magic of Japanese innovation, offer interactive adventures filled with games, music, and surprises. 

Take care of them by making their favorite food and feeding them, taking them to the toilet and giving them a bath. There are 7 kinds of mini games where you can collect coins, which can be used at the market for food, clothing, and interior items.

Available on Amazon Japan

Sumikko Gurashi Plushies

No list of Japanese toys would be complete without a few kawaii characters, so I’ve decided to add a personal favorite, the entire Sumikko Gurashi gang!

Indulge in the irresistibly kawaii and heartwarming world of Sumikko Gurashi where cute meets character in the most unexpected ways. This 12 piece plush cute includes the 5 main Sumikko (Japanese for  “life in the corner) and 7 miniko counterparts. 

These endearing creatures find joy in embracing their quirks— For example, Shirokuma is a polar bear who hates the cold.  

This Sumikko Gurashi collection beautifully blends kawaii aesthetics with a celebration of individuality, capturing hearts with its charm. You can find Sumikko all over Japan in the form of stationery, capsule toys, snacks, and clothing, but plushies make for excellent bedmates and roadtrip friends. 

Available on Amazon Japan

Tokyo Treat

For a unique Japanese gift that will keep giving all-year long, you can’t go wrong with a subscription to a Japanese snack box service! My top pick for kids, hands down, is Tokyo Treat, the ultimate way to explore Japan on a culinary journey.

Each month, Tokyo Treat curates a delightful mix of authentic and quirky Japanese snacks that promises a taste adventure for every palate. In addition, every Tokyo Treat snack box comes with a detailed guidebook that also includes the allergen information for each snack, so there’s no need to worry if your kids have allergies or have certain food aversions.

Choose from 1, 3, 6, or 12 month subscription plans here.

The Best Japanese Gifts For Kids – Where To Shop

I’ve included Amazon Japan links for all items. International Amazon accounts won’t automatically switch over to Amazon Japan. But, it’s very easy to register a new Japanese Amazon account.

International visitors should contact their hotel or ryokan  or to see if they are willing to accept packages on your behalf.

Alternatively, if you are shopping on Amazon Japan, you may opt to have your items delivered at a nearby convenience store!

Happy Shopping!

For more Japanese gift guides for little ones, check out:

My 5 Favorite Places to Shop in Japan For Kids’ Clothes and Shoes

Japanese Products For Babies and Toddlers With Sensitive Skin

My 5 Favorite Places to Shop in Japan for Baby and Toddler Clothes

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