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Favorite Japanese children's books for Your baby/toddler to learn Japanese ( 0 - 3 years old )

Updated: Feb 10, 2023

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I will share with you all my favourite Japanese children's books for your baby or toddler (or any beginner regardless of age!) to learn Japanese! Since I gave birth in Japan and we are and will be growing up our son in Japan, learning Japanese is more or a priority to me than learning English is since he will need to speak the language of the land he is growing up in. Also his nationality is Japanese, due to his father who is Japanese. However, when it comes to learning Japanese, these Japanese children's books can apply to anyone living in Japan or outside of Japan who is not a native Japanese speaker but is seeking to be at native level. Most of these books are by Gakken which is a popular school/educational publishing company and by author Koji Ishikawa which make up many of our Japanese early childhood books.

1.Mushi Iro Iro Kakurenbo by Koji Ishikawa

Reading these Japanese children's books has also helped me in my language endeavours as well. I read these to my toddler since he was a newborn/baby and since I was reading it to him frequently, he has picked up on quite a few Japanese vocabulary and words, and also with the consistency of me speaking as much Japanese I know to him as a habit! Now the dominant language he speaks is Japanese but also I will increase more English as well at the same time after he picks up some basic Japanese, which he already has.

“Knowledge of languages is the doorway to wisdom.”
-Roger Bacon

2. Osakana Chan No Bai Bai (Bye Bye) - Gakken

Another one of our little ones many favorites is Osakana Chan No Bai Bai ( Bye Bye ) by Gakken.

The "Osakana-chan" series is very popular with children in Japan.

Some of the reasons why I recommend this book :

1. Good size and perfect for children's vision!

2. Thick and sturdy pages and thick pages that are easy to turn even with small hands. Don't worry, the corners are rounded!

3. The white fish catches your eye, and you can see the color change on each page at a glance!

4. Little fish that are smaller than anyone in the sea, and have an innocent atmosphere. Not to mention, the rainbow color on the back is cute to look at.

5. Unique Sea Friends

6. Make mimetic words and onomatopoeias loud and funny and fun words such as “Gururi~npa” and “Ke~rokero♪”.

7. There are mostly 2-3 phrases which are easy for children to understand and every time a creature of the sea appears, "Bai-ba-i" is repeated in an easy-to-understand manner. The length and composition keeps children focused, attentive and engaged.

Available on Amazon Japan

3. Umi no Iro Iro Kakurenbo - by Koji Ishikawa

4. Shima Shima Guru Guru - Gakken

“The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” -Ludwig Wittgenstein

This one is one of the top sellers in Japan for children's picture books.

We actually got both versions of this book which is a light, soft, washable and safe cloth picture book when he was a newborn and we also got the hardcover version as well.

Both are available on Amazon Japan here :

Soft, Washable, Cloth Picture Book Version of Shima Shima Guru Guru

Shima Shima Guru Guru Hardcover Version

5. Kudamono Iro Iro Kakurenbo - by Koji Ishikawa

This is another great Japanese children's book that is among one of the many books we got for our little one and parents and children can enjoy playing while reading sentences full of onomatopoeia that will catch the baby's interest.

Available on Amazon Japan here :

5. Kira Kira Boshi- By Parragon Books , Cottage Door Press LLC

Kira Kira Boshi is the Japanese version of "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star" and it is such a lovely classic book to get your little one and not only will they read and enjoy these books when they are children but also perhaps, they might be read and enjoyed to their future generations so it definitely a worthy investment to get nice children's books to pass down to future generations. I was not able to find it on Amazon Japan in Japanese but the English version I did find on Amazon USA and you can find that version in the link down below.

Available on Amazon :

6. Doubutsu Dare ? by Koji Ishikawa

Available on Amazon Japan :

7. Maru maru Po Po Pon ( Play Together ) - Author - Akio Kashiwara | Published by Gakken

The latest in the series of the picture book "Shimashima Guru Guru"! This is a great baby/ toddler book because they can see high contrast pictures such as black, white and red.

Available on Amazon Japan :

8. Akakakurokuro (Let's play together) Picture book for 0-2 year olds by Akio Kashiwabara

This is another top seller in Japan and we got this early on and he really loved to look at it and read it. I read this book since he was a newborn and even now he is a toddler, I still continue to read it.

Babies are known to see pictures with high contrasts such as black, white and red.

Additionally, babies pay attention to the "face" where the eyes and mouth are located.

The "Let's play together" series was born to match the characteristics of such babies.

This book is available on Amazon Japan just below here :

43 views2 comments


Candi N.
Candi N.
Feb 02, 2023

Thank you for your feedback Andi!! I will be sure to add more soon ! It’s coming up !


These books sound amazing! I'm excited to check them out for my daughter! I'm also curious about English/Japanese books for children as well! Please add more children's books in the future!

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