Picture Books Around the World: Japan

The second stop on our picture book world tour is Japan!

Picture Books about Japan

This country is almost 5,000 miles from my home in Washington state, so for now I’ll be visiting via books!

My JapanMy Japan

Seven-year-old Yumi gives readers an introduction to her daily life in Japan, with stunningly detailed illustrations that depict a typical Japanese home. Yumi also gives us a look at her school, her city, and how she and her family celebrate holidays. Engaging and informative, this book is a must-read for kids who are eager to learn about Japan.

The Way We Do it in JapanThe Way We Do It in Japan

When an American boy moves with his parents from California to Japan, he discovers a whole new way of life. It seems that everything – eating, sleeping, and even taking a bath – is different in Japan. The story does an excellent job of representing the cultural differences between America and Japan, while also highlighting the social parallels.

How My Parents Learned to EatHow My Parents Learned to Eat

An American sailor courts a Japanese woman, but is afraid to invite her to dinner because he doesn’t know how to eat with chopsticks. While this many sound like the start of some https://www.tubev.sex/?hl=ja film, the story is a lot more innocent and charming than that. Narrated by the couple’s child, this is an entertaining story about love overcoming cultural differences. This book is full of humor and charm, and the illustrations – by celebrated Japanese artist Allen Say – are lovely.

I Live in TokyoI Live in Tokyo

Divided up month by month, this book shares an entire year’s worth of fun in Tokyo, giving readers a glimpse at the people, food, holidays, and customs of Japan. Every page is packed with details that kids will love exploring.

Tokyo FriendsTokyo Friends

An American girl living in Tokyo meets and befriends two Japanese children. Together, they explore the city and teach one another about their respective cultures. This book has simple, rhyming text for younger readers, and does a great job of demonstrating the many similarities and differences between Japanese and western cultures.

The Funny Little WomanThe Funny Little Woman

This Caldecott Medal-winning classic – a retelling of a traditional Japanese tale – is the story of little old woman who loved to laugh and to make rice dumplings. When she is captured by a group of wicked, rice-loving demons, the wise woman must outsmart then to get back home. This book is a departure from the rest of the list in that it does not depict life in modern Japan, but the enjoyable story and eye-catching illustrations make it a worthwhile read.

We’ll be continuing our trip around the world next week, so check back! And be sure to check out our first stop: Australia.


  1. Love this list! We have Tokyo Friends and The Funny Little Woman. I haven’t read a few off your list so now I am off to the library! My kids are 1/4 Japanese so it’s fun to learn about the “old country”.

  2. Leslie Toevs says:

    Our granddaughter, your cousin, attends a Japanese immersion school. These look like great read alludes for her. Thanks!

  3. What a wonderful list of books. My husband (who is Japanese) and I will soon be moving from Japan to the States and even though, we will be far away from a place we love, we still hope to raise our children bilingual and teach them about a place their parents met. 🙂 I haven’t heard of many of these books…I’m excited to read all them. What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you so much! You should also check out some of the picture books written by Allen Say; he writes a lot about Japanese-American families living in the U.S.

  4. I love the books you shared! Sounds like they would be great reads for kids in understanding Japan’s culture and what not! Thanks for sharing at Booknificent Thursday!

  5. Oh, I want to read all of these! Especially How My Parents Learned to Eat! I adore Allen Say! My favorite of his is Tea with Milk which has a lot about Japanese culture as well. Thanks so much for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday at Mommynificent.com! Hope to see you again soon!

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