What do kids need at preschool or kindergarten in Japan?


Before your child starts preschool (or kindy or daycare) in Japan, the staff will give you a long list of things that must be brought to school each day. When my son started daycare, the list of items we were given contained the following items...
I have given the Japanese words too, which might help you with online searches/shopping.

Please note that EVERY preschool has a different list which will contain more/less and possibly different items. Some schools also require bags of certain dimensions/materials, so please be sure to check the list very carefully.

Clothing
2-3 sets of extra clothing, underwear, socks (including a jacket for winter): きがえ (着替え)
1 pair of new shoes to be worn inside : うわばき (上履き)
1 school hat - to be purchased from the school:ぼうし (帽子)

Lunch
1 fork : フォーク
1 spoon : スプーン
1 pair of chopsticks (if child can use them) : おはし (お箸)
2 aprons (bibs) : エプロン
1 tea/water bottle : すいと (水筒)
* 1 lunch box (if child is eating lunch from home) : べんとうばこ (弁当箱)

Stationary
1 set of crayons : クレヨン
1 pair of kids scissors : こどもようハサミ (子供用ハサミ)
1 craft smock/apron with long sleeves : スモック
1 textbook - to be purchased from the school
1 communication book - to be purchased from the school : れんらくちょう (連絡帳)
1 book bag (standard Japanese lesson bag size) : レッスンバッグ

Hygiene
Diapers/training pants (4-5 per day) : オムツ / トレーニング パンツ
1 cup for gargling : コップ
1 toothbrush : はぶらし (歯ブラシ)
1 bag to hold cup and toothbrush : 巾着(小サイズ コップ袋)
2 towels with hanging loops : ループタオル

Others
1 futon set : ふとん (布団)/ おひるねふとんセット (お昼寝布団セット)

* My son goes to an international preschool so the rules on colors and materials are not as strict as other schools. Make sure you read the fine print!!

** Here are some pictures and links to shops where I bought the items for my son...

I got some of the following items from Colorful Candy Style. They sell some items on Amazon Japan, but also have a full store on Rakuten (here). Japan`s great handmade-goods website Minne has a great selection too. I love to support small businesses, so check them out here.

Lesson bag (30cm x 40cm) 

Cutlery case : カトラリーケース

Cutlery case with fork and spoon inside 
(there is also a pocket for small chopsticks in the centre) 

Cup bag (12cm x 7cm) 

Cup bag with cup inside

Some things I got from Amazon Japan, check them out here...

* kids scissors

- these pink ones have metal blades (here)

- these ones have plastic blades (here)

* art smock 

- this one has a cute star print on it (here)

- and a cute pink anpanman one (here)

* the cutest training chopsticks - Thomas the Tank Engine version (here)

* inside shoes (called 上履き Uwabaki) can be plain (here), or with characters like Princess Sophia (here).

Of course there is a huge range of drink bottles online, and some which are really cheap, but because of Osaka`s crazy hot summers, and cold winters, I thought an insulated one would be best.

I really like the Thermos brand, and found some on Amazon Japan (here). In the end though, I decided on a personalised one from Cafe Press, for not too much more. It is so cute, and the one I ordered has my son`s full name printed on it too!

And for the other items that I haven't posted links for, you can find them at local baby/kids shops like Nishimatsuya, Akachan Honpo or one of many online stores too. 

... now after getting all the stuff you need, you have to write / stamp / stick your child`s name on everything, down to each individual chopstick and diaper! I bought a set of stamps from Namey, which has great sets (with stamps of various sizes) for new entrants to kindy and elementary school which come with ink. They also make stamps with romaji (english letters) as well as hiragana/katakana.

You can buy plain stickers to write your childs name on from all 100yen shops, supermarkets etc, and from some stores you can buy stickers which have cute characters/designs on them too. If you want to order pre-named stickers, search for お名前シール (name sticker).

Happy shopping everyone!!!
Fran xx