14 Aug Buying nappies/diapers in Japan
Buying nappies / diapers in Japan: our experience
During our first trip I simply purchased a large pack of nappies when I spotted them in a drugstore in Nara. We ended up having some left and I never really gave it much thought.
When packing for our second trip we cut down on a lot of things including nappies, only taking enough to get through the first few days. We assumed we would find them as easily. Our accommodation in Osaka was in a business district and we could not find nappies anywhere. None of the nearby convenient stores had any and the closest drugstore was rather small and mainly stocked make-up items.
Luckily, we managed to make what we had last until Shizuoka. Here we had a rental car and thought we would easily find a store that sold baby products. The first supermarket we came across didn’t have any. We looked all around it and even asked the cashier. Nope, no nappies. We were driving to a different place when I spotted a large chemist super store. We parked the car and went in hopeful we would find some here. Finally success, I entered an aisle that was full of baby nappies, wipes and other products. I grabbed a large bag with Mickey Mouse on the front that stated a weight range Fletcher was in.
Later in Tokyo, I spotted nappies in the Family Mart near our airbnb apartment. So finding nappies was a bit hit and miss.
The key is being in the right area, don’t expect to find baby products in the middle of business districts.
Where to buy baby products in Japan
- Convenience stores: nappies can be found in some convenience stores in small packages.
- Drugstores: large drugstores will carry nappies and wipes and some other products.
- Department stores: most department stores have a floor with children’s and babies clothing and toys and would be a good place to look, although I never have. The floor guide of Takashimaya in Shinjuku lists a baby goods & maternity goods section located on the ninth floor next to the baby nursing room.
- Supermarket: I have read supermarkets sell baby nappies but I haven’t had any luck myself. City centres tend to have grocers that sell mostly food products and we went to a large one in Shizuoka and they didn’t stock them.
One store for all baby products
On our third trip we discovered a place that stocks all sorts of baby products. The Yodabashi store in Kyoto had an entire baby goods section with nappies, wipes, food and more. We had been in this store during our time in Kyoto three years ago but had not come across this section. Called Yodabashi Camera Multimedia, this store sells so much more than the name suggests. Located just a short walk from Kyoto Station it is very convenient.
There are many store locations across Japan , using google translate you can check a store’s floor guide to see if they list baby products on the Yodabashi website.
Nappy buying tips
- The nappy size will be written on the bottom of the package in a kilogram range.
- Look for cute pictures on the packaging, think smiling babies, mickey mouse etc. Otherwise you may find yourself in front of the adult nappy section.
- If your child is standing, consider buying the nappy pants variety as they can be much easier when in limited spaces. These are also great if your child is too large for the average change table.
Where to change baby’s nappy in Japan
- All major department stores have a baby room with change tables and breastfeeding areas.
- Public toilets usually have a fold down table located either in a stall or the main area. Typically the womens but also some mens rooms. Some tourist spots will have a designated baby change room. Japan’s public toilets are generally kept quite clean although they don’t always have soap.
- Train stations vary on how well equipped the facilities are and the same applies as public toilets.
- On the train is not an ideal place for nappy changes, my children don’t care though and I have changed both boys on Japanese trains. There is a baby change room in one designated train car, which is a fold down table in a larger size toilet. Some Shinkansens also have a multi-purpose room for feeding. When our eldest was 2, I changed him in the toilet standing up ( this is when nappy pants are handy). I didn’t bother going to the baby change room, although it would have been easier than the cramped toilet cubicle.
- The stroller is a great make-shift change table when out and about. When there are no public restrooms in sight or if they are inadequate for baby changing, find an isolated area to park your stroller. I changed nappies in our stroller (with a change mat) quite a bit with our eldest son as he was usually too big for the fold down type change tables.
Tip: carry nappy bags as rubbish bins can be hard to find.