Last year I wrote about the top newborn baby products in 2022 as voted by mothers in Japan in a Tamahiyo poll. The list for 2023 is now out with some items and rankings that are the same, but also some differences, as well as new products. Best of all… the votes include fathers this time, so woohoo to progress!
If you’re interested in what is popular this year (and what dads voted for as well!), check out the list below. (And don’t forget to sign up for the Amazon Japan Raku Raku Baby registry for some freebies and add the products you like!)
Update: The 2024 list is out now, so make sure to give it a read!
- Best Clothing Brands for Newborn Babies in Japan
- Best Diapers (Tape-Type) for Newborn Babies in Japan
- Best Wipes for Newborn Babies in Japan
- Best Strollers for Newborn Babies in Japan
- Best Car Seats for Newborn Babies in Japan
- Best Carriers for Newborn Babies in Japan
- Best Bottle Sterilizers for Newborn Babies in Japan
- Best Bottles for Newborn Babies in Japan
- Best Skin Cream for Newborn Babies in Japan
- Best Vaseline for Newborn Babies in Japan
- Best Bathtub for Newborn Babies in Japan
- Best Lotion for Babies in Japan
- Best Bath Additive for Babies in Japan
- Best Foam-Type Baby Soap for Babies in Japan
- Best Crib Brand for Newborn Babies in Japan
- Best Futon Brand for Newborn Babies in Japan
- Best Bouncer for Newborn Babies in Japan
- Best High Low Chair/Rocker for Newborn Babies in Japan
Best Clothing Brands for Newborn Babies in Japan
Elfindoll is a clothing brand for babies by Nishimatsuya, a popular children’s clothing store in Japan. My daughter has a few Elfindoll onesies and they’re so cute for the price (especially on sale!). Newborns grow so fast, which is why parents in Japan felt that this adorable yet budget-friendly clothing line was the best.
What parents in Japan like about Elfindoll clothes:
- Comes in cute natural colors
- Good quality in terms of fabric and being long-lasting
2nd Place: Uniqlo
3rd Place: Birthday
4th Place: MIKI HOUSE
5th Place: Babies R Us
This perhaps may not come as a surprise to those of you who like Uniqlo. I have several of their undergarments and they’re so comfortable and gentle on my skin. When my daughter was born in July, I turned to their AIRISM line for her inners, which kept her cool and dry. Their clothes for babies are also great quality, have cute designs, and are a great price (especially if you get them on sale).
What parents in Japan like about Uniqlo’s inner garments:
- Can launder repeatedly and the quality is still good
- Soft and made of 100% cotton
- Outer tag so it doesn’t irritate baby’s skin
- Summer inners are comfortable for babies
2nd Place: Elfin Doll (Nishimatsuya)
3rd Place: Akachan Honpo Original
4th Place: Birthday
5th Place: Babies R Us
Best Diapers (Tape-Type) for Newborn Babies in Japan
I wasn’t a fan of these for my daughter back in 2019 and they didn’t perform too well in my newborn diaper test. However, Pampers has changed these diapers since then, and it seems like it’s an improvement over their old version, especially since they’re in first place once again for 2023. These diapers are also among the most cost-effective for newborns.
(The diaper that I rated as the best for newborns, Pampers はじめての肌へのいちばん, got second place.)
What parents in Japan like about Pampers Sarasara Care diapers:
- Doesn’t leak
- Absorbs well
- Thin and compact, so it’s easy to take along on outings
2nd Place: Pampers はじめての肌へのいちばん
3rd Place: Moony
4th Place: Merries
5th Place: GOO.N Plus
Best Wipes for Newborn Babies in Japan
These wipes ranked 4th place in my review of baby wipes in Japan but I can see why parents in Japan, including some of my friends, swear by these. Although I wasn’t a fan of the texture and found they dry quickly, they perform the best out of all the lower-cost wipes I looked at.
What parents in Japan like about Akachan Honpo Wipes (水99％ Super Series):
- Remains most up to the last sheet
- Effortless to wipe messes
2nd Place: Moony
3rd Place: Pampers
Best Strollers for Newborn Babies in Japan
Aprica’s ラクーナseries of strollers are the most popular in 2023 for babies one month and up. They come with a cushion called “Omega” (powerful word there!) that protects your baby while they’re in the stroller and keeps them nice and comfortable.
These strollers are lightweight and easy to move as well as simple to open and close. It’s also quick and easy to buckle your child into the stroller using the magnetic buckle.
What parents in Japan like about the Aprica ラクーナ Series:
- Moves easily and smoothly
- Comfortable for babies
- Easy to change the handle’s position (from front-facing to rear)
- East to fold
2nd Place: Combi’s スゴカル series
3rd Place: Aprica’s カルーン エア series
4th Place: Joie series
5th Place: Pigeon’s ランフィ series
I have a Combi stroller and although it’s very lightweight, it can be difficult to maneuver and it’s a little bulky. However, I’ve been using it since my daughter was born and it’s still in great condition. But if I had another child, I would try Aprica’s ラクーナseries because it looks much easier to maneuver.
If you’re considering getting a stroller for your newborn, I would recommend going to either Akachan Honpo, Babies R Us, or a second-hand store like Book Off to try out the strollers before buying one online (as it can be cheaper to get strollers off of sites like Amazon or Rakuten).
Best Car Seats for Newborn Babies in Japan
Combi’s クルムーヴ series comes in first place in 2023 for the best car seat. We had one as well and it did an excellent job for 3.5 years. Our daughter is bigger now and as she’s 14 kilograms, she has upgraded to a Junior Seat. I’m going to be real here, she puked multiple times in the Combi car seat but there were no stains remaining after we cleaned it!
- You can turn it 360 degrees so it’s easy to put your child inside
- It’s very safe, with shock-absorbing thick cushioning
- Compact so it doesn’t take up that much room in the car
- Cute design
- Foldable canopy protects the baby from the sun
2nd Place: Combi’s THE S series
3rd Place: Aprica’s フラティア グロウ series
4th Place: Nishimatsuya’s Smart Angel series
Best Carriers for Newborn Babies in Japan
This may come as no surprise to some of you but Ergobaby made it to the top of the list as the best baby carrier. We have an Omni 360 and my husband loves it. I found it easy to use as well but as I’m quite short in stature, I found it to be a bit too bulky for me when my daughter was a newborn. However, it’s perfect now that my daughter is a toddler and I’m able to easily carry her around.
What parents in Japan like about Ergobaby carriers:
- Very safe and comforting so your baby can easily fall asleep
- Designed so you can carry your baby for a long time without feeling tired or in pain
- Easy to adjust the straps so that anyone can carry the baby
- Supports the baby
2nd Place: Aprica’s Koala
3rd Place: Baby Bjorn
4th Place: Konny
5th Place: SMORbi
Best Bottle Sterilizers for Newborn Babies in Japan
Microwave Sterilizers: Combi
I was excited to see that the Combi microwave sterilizer that I used when my daughter was a baby is still ranked as the best in 2023. It’s affordable, easy to use, and compact. However, you need to be careful when using this as if you place it into a microwave oven that’s still hot from the oven function, the container or the items inside might melt. (It would be nice if they made it in other colors too.)
What parents in Japan like about Combi microwave sterilizers:
- Easy to open and close
- You can leave bottles inside the case after being sterilized
- Fast as you can sterilize bottles in only 5 minutes
2nd Place: Richell’s microwave sterilizer
3rd Place: Betta’s microwave sterilizer
Sterilizing Solutions: Milton CP
Milton CP made it to the top again this year for the best sterilizing solution. I used this once when I went to a ryokan with my daughter when she was 6 months old and personally, I was not a fan. I found it messy and hard to use, not to mention I didn’t feel great submerging my daughter’s bottles into a chemical solution. The solution also has an expiry date and I imagine it’s an added expense to buy. However, you can sterilize a lot of things at a time, including toys.
What parents in Japan like about Milton CP:
- Easy to use as all you have to do is place the items in the container with the solution and leave it
- You can sterilize toys
- Good for sterilizing items that shouldn’t be exposed to heat
2nd Place: Milton liquid-type sterilizer
3rd Place: Pigeon’s Baby Bottle Disinfectant
Best Bottles for Newborn Babies in Japan
I’m not surprised to see this at the top of the list once more as the best bottle for infants. Out of all the ones I tried, this type of bottle by Pigeon was the only one that my daughter could drink easily from. They also didn’t leak, were durable, easy to clean, as well as cost-effective.
What parents in Japan like about Pigeon bottles:
- Variety in terms of size and design
- Easy to use to feed your baby
- Nipples are close to the real thing
- Maternity clinics and hospitals use these bottles
2nd Place: Pigeon’s Slim Type Bottle
3rd Place: teteo’s 授乳のお手本 bottle
Best Skin Cream for Newborn Babies in Japan
I received many samples of these when I was pregnant and I liked how gentle it was on my daughter’s skin but I could only spring for a travel set (which I continue to buy for visits to the in-laws with my daughter) because it is quite expensive. The price, however, reflects the quality. I would say try out the travel set before committing to spending your yen on a full-size product.
What parents in Japan like about Mama&Kids Baby Milky Cream:
- Used by maternity clinics and hospitals
- Very moisturizing, especially when paired with lotion in fall and winter
- Not sticky
- Parents can use it too! (And yes, I use it as well when we travel since I have sensitive skin.)
2nd Place: Pigeon Baby Cream
3rd Place: SOLIA’s ALOBABY Cream
Best Vaseline for Newborn Babies in Japan
I used Baby Vaseline on my daughter when she was a newborn as well as when we travel if she’s having an eczemic flare-up. (It’s something my mother-in-law swears by as well!)
This product is very affordable but gentle and keeps my daughter’s skin protected from dryness and rashes, so it’s no wonder parents in Japan love this product the most when it comes to vaseline for babies. I also like how it’s a tube so you’re not contaminating the remaining product when you use it.
What parents in Japan like about Baby Vaseline:
- Not greasy
- Easy to apply
- Not runny so it’s safe to apply near the eyes
- Heals diaper rashes
2nd Place: Daiichi Sankyo’s プロペト ピュアベール
3rd Place: Pigeon’s Vaseline
Best Bathtub for Newborn Babies in Japan
This is yet another item that I used for my daughter when she was a newborn, although the pictured item is new and much cuter (and pricier). I used this design for two months before I decided to wash her on my lap as recommended by a midwife, but I found it to be a great product during the time I did use it. And I was able to resell it on Mercari! If you don’t have very much room in your house, this is great because it’s inflatable, so you can deflate it and store it if you want to keep it for Baby #2 or if you want to take it with you somewhere.
What parents in Japan like about Richell Baby Bathtub:
- Cushioning is soft so babies can move around safely
- Easy to carry
- Easy to store
- Easy to inflate
- The seat is at an angle that makes it easy to bathe babies
2nd Place: People’s Rucko Hug
3rd Place: Nishimatsuya’s Smart Angel Soft Baby Bathtub
Best Lotion for Babies in Japan
As with the Mama&Kids Baby Milky Cream mentioned earlier, I got samples of this lotion as well when I was pregnant and quite liked it. This is also included in the travel set that I currently use and recommend.
What parents in Japan like about Mama&Kids Baby Milky Lotion:
- Keeps skin moisturized long after application
- Not sticky
- Comes in a small pump bottle so you can use it with only one hand
- Easy to apply
- Resembles the vernix caseosa, a protective substance that newborns are covered in when born
2nd Place: Pigeon Baby Milk Lotion
3rd Place: Atopia Full Body Moisturizing Milky Lotion
Best Bath Additive for Babies in Japan
This bath additive (入浴剤) is a liquid that you pour into your baby’s bath to wash them. It’s meant to be gentle on the skin and there’s no need to rinse it off as it will help prevent your baby’s skin from drying out. It’s also hypoallergenic.
I never used this on my daughter as, at the time, I didn’t like the idea of pouring something into her bath and not rinsing it off of her. But if I had another child, I think I would try it out as it seems easier to use than foam-type soap, which you have to pump onto the cloth repeatedly while you wash your child.
What parents in Japan like about Skina Babe:
- Easy to use, especially if you have twins!
2nd Place: Pigeon Baby Bath Additive
Best Foam-Type Baby Soap for Babies in Japan
I used this soap on my daughter when she was a newborn and it never irritated her skin as it’s free of fragrances as well as paraben-free.
What parents in Japan like about Pigeon Baby Soap:
- Soft foam
- Safe on the skin
- Easy to use with one hand
- Used by maternity clinics and hospitals
2nd Place: arau baby
3rd Place: Kewpie Baby Foam Soap
Best Crib Brand for Newborn Babies in Japan
I used an Ikea crib for my daughter as I wanted something that could transition into a toddler bed. But when it comes to the best crib brand in Japan for 2023, parents voted for Aprica (which was in second place last year)! In particular, they seem to love the Coconel series. Since COVID restrictions have eased, it seems like families are more out and about so being able to easily take the crib places seems to have moved it to first place!
What parents in Japan like about Aprica:
- Easy to fold and carry
- Has a soft mat
- Great for small homes as you can fold it and put it away easily when it’s not being used
- You can take it with you when you stay overnight at places that don’t have a crib
2nd Place: Katoji
3rd Place: Yamatoya
Best Futon Brand for Newborn Babies in Japan
I swaddled my daughter and kept her in a crib free of any blankets, stuffed animals, etc., in an effort to prevent SIDS. However, Japanese parents have been placing their newborns in futon sets with comforters for years. (My mother-in-law couldn’t wrap her head around swaddling but despite this, she let me do my thing.)
Nishikawa futon sets are made in Japan and are 100% cotton, so it’s meant to be gentle on your baby’s skin. The futon also helps prevent overheating by absorbing moisture, which then evaporates. You can also use it straight out of the bag, which saves you time on washing.
What parents in Japan like about Nishikawa baby futons:
- Nice design and comes as a set, which is helpful and affordable
- It’s warm as the comforter has down in it
- Comfortable for babies
- Nishikawa has a long history as a company and brand parents trust
- The futon is light
2nd Place: Nishimatsuya
3rd Place: Akachan Honpo
4th Place: Sandesica
5th Place: MIKI HOUSE
Best Bouncer for Newborn Babies in Japan
What parents in Japan like about Baby Bjorn bouncers:
- Simple design and easy to store
- Babies are soothed by it
- Reclines at three different angles
- Seat is mesh so it’s breathable and easy to wash
2nd Place: Nishimatsuya
3rd Place: Richell
Best High Low Chair/Rocker for Newborn Babies in Japan
I had a Combi high low chair for my daughter, which was helpful when she was a newborn as I could put her inside and it would automatically rock and usually calm her down. I could also select different kinds of music to play. She didn’t like being strapped down, though, so I had to just watch her like a hawk when she was inside. I ended up selling it on Mercari when she started solids because I found it took up too much room and I didn’t want to wash the padding constantly if she spilled something on it. (Cleaning the Ingenuity chair was much easier for me.)
But for parents (and kids!) who don’t mind these things, this is a great product that you can use for a long time.
What parents in Japan like about Combi Nemulila:
- You can use it from the newborn stage as a rocker to a high chair when your child is eating solids. (One respondant said they used it until their child was 6!)
- Helps when you need a break from holding your child or need to do chores
- You can adjust the height
- Easy to use
- Compact, so it’s good for small homes
2nd Place: Aprica’s ユラリズム series
3rd Place: Katoji Swing High Low Rack series
What do you think about the 2023 rankings? Let me know in the comments!