Choosing the right diapers for your baby is commonly the first trouble for expecting moms in Japan. There are so many different kinds! But don’t be overwhelmed. Just go through it one by one and you will understand it completely. Today I will guide you through the different types of baby diapers available in Japan.
Complete guide to Japanese baby diapers
Types of Japanese diapers: Tape and Pants
When you consider buying diapers, first you need to choose if you want the tape-type （テープタイプ）or the pants-type （パンツタイプ）. Pants-type are the pull-up kind. Tape-types are commonly used for newborn babies that don’t roll around or pull up their heads yet.
The timing to switch from tape to pants type will depend on the baby. I used tape-type until 1.5 years old for my first daughter, because she could lay down and stay still while I changed her diapers. On the other hand, I quickly switched to pants-type at 5 months for my second daughter, because she was so active and kept moving her legs and never stayed still.
Generally, tape-type are cheaper than pants-type diapers.
Types of Japanese diapers: Boys and Girls
Another category of diapers is choosing for boys and girls. Many brands offer slightly different diapers for boys and girls from size L. Check the package for the word 男の子用 (otokonoko-you, for boys) or 女の子用 (on-nanoko you, for girls). The model on the package will be different too.
Sizes of Japanese diapers
Japanese baby diapers come in all different sizes. The common sizes are:
新生児 (shin-sei-ji, newborn)
There are also special 3S (from 1.8kg) to Super Big (up to 35 kg) sizes, depending on the brand. Note that sizes differ according to brand.
Baby diaper brands in Japan
There are 6 major baby diaper brands in Japan. Here is the list of them, in the order of price and quality.
1. Merries （メリーズ）:
One of the most famous and popular brand. Made in Japan by the Kao company. A few years ago, Merries diapers became so popular among the Chinese people that they started to buy loads of them, resulting in shortage of supply throughout Japan. The situation is a lot better now, but many stores still limit customers to buying only up to 2 packages per person. Merries diapers are usually available at any supermarket or drugstore. Very soft, and high quality but relatively expensive.
2. Pampers （パンパース）:
Another very famous diaper brand in Japan. Made in Japan by the P&G company. Many hospitals use this brand. Quality is very good and absorbance can be trusted. Available in almost any supermarket or drugstore. Relatively expensive.
3. moony （ムーニー）:
Another very famous diaper brand in Japan. Made in Japan by Unicharm company. Merries/Pampers/moony are the top three brands that even people without kids know about because they show it on TV commercials a lot. Again, quality is good, soft, and absorbent. Available in almost any supermarket or drugstore. Relatively expensive.
4. GOO.N （グーン）：
Relatively new brand, made by Elleair company. I have used this brand for both my kids, because they were used at the university hospital where I gave birth, and also the children’s hospital that my daughter stayed for a few months. GOO.N diapers are somewhat larger than Merries and Pampers. Also, they offer a range of sizes, from “Very small newborn” (preemie) to “Super big” (up to 35kg). Cheaper than Merries/Pampers/moony.
5. Genki! （ゲンキ！）:
Well known for the Anpanman character. Made by the Nepia company. Many mom’s reviews say Genki diapers are not the softest or the best quality, but they are okay for its price. Cheaper than the previous 4 brands.
6. Mamy Poko （マミーポコ）:
Well known for the Mickey Mouse on tha package. It is cheap, but many moms say it isn’t as soft as the other brands. If your baby is fine with it and doesn’t get diaper rash with this, it can save you money.
Other baby diapers in Japan
Other than the normal diapers, there are also swimming diapers available. It doesn’t absorb urine, but it will help keep stool from flowing out.
Another type of diaper are toilet training diapers. They are especially made to absorb less urine, so that the child can feel it and encourage going to the toilet.
Where to buy baby diapers in Japan
Diapers are available in most drugstores and supermarket, as well as baby items store like Nishimatsuya. Some convenience stores have small sets of diapers for emergency (about 2 to 3 inside).
If you are planning to stay in Japan for a long period, I definitely recommend you buy it through the Amazon! If you register for Amazon Family, you can always get a 15% discount (sometimes even more!) on diapers and baby wipes packs and have it delivered for free. Also, you are often limited to buying only 1 or 2 packs at once at a real store, but on the Amazon, you can buy discount packs, which comes in a set of 3 packs. More over, they will deliver it right to your door.
I hope this helps! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.