Babies are expensive and not to mention a completely new territory for new moms, so of course mamas-to-be in all cultures love getting as many free things as possible to help cut costs and figure out what works for their baby before investing in a product.
Although Japan does not have a Baby Box, there are plenty of ways to get free baby goods, some of which I found online (in Japanese) and others that my husband and I just stumbled upon. I really love free things (who doesn’t?) so I’m very excited to share this post with all of you future mamas in Japan.
There are a variety of baby stores in Japan that can be found in malls such as Lalaport and some of them offer free gifts if you sign up for their point card.
- Babies R Us
When I started to show at around 17 weeks pregnant and could no longer wear my normal jeans, I knew it was time to get some maternity clothes (which I’ll write about in a separate post). While in the changing room, I noticed an advertisement for a free bag filled with baby goods for expectant mothers.
Signing up was very easy as everything was done on an iPad and I walked away with a point card (which is awesome, I highly recommend shopping at Babies R Us just for the point perks, we have gotten over ¥10,000 off our purchases just by using points) and my bag full of goodies.
- A box of Morinaga brand caffeineless powdered Cafe au Lait sticks (12 sticks)
- Atopita (アトピタ) baby lotion sample
- pigeon brand pure (ピュア) baby laundry detergent
- pigeon brand disposable nursing pads
- ChuChuBaby brand nursing pads
- Akachan Honpo
This is a very popular store for moms and moms-to-be in Japan. One weekday evening after an appointment with the obstetrician, my husband and I decided to visit one of their locations. We were aimlessly browsing around when an employee came up to us and asked if we wanted to sign up for a point card for free. Signing up took more time than at Babies R Us but we got much more for free. I think the diaper samples alone should get us through about 4 days after the baby comes!
- A box of Morinaga brand caffeineless powdered Matcha latte sticks (12 sticks)
- Two packs of moony newborn diapers (24 diapers in each pack)
- GOO.N newborn diaper sample
- Merries newborn diaper sample
- Merries skincare sample
- Whito newborn diaper sample (2 diapers)
- pigeon brand disposable nursing pads
If you search online in Japanese, you can find a variety of events that are held throughout Japan for parents or parents-to-be where you can get a variety of free samples and sometimes full-sized items from vendors.
- Hello Akachan (ハロー赤ちゃん)
This event or seminar is held several times a year in various locations around Japan. It’s free to attend but you have to register in advance and it fills up within minutes. The seminar consists of a classical music performance for about 40 minutes and then about 50 minutes of a Q & A session with an obstetrician, which was actually very helpful. (For instance, he recommended that we eat edamame instead of take folic acid as folic acid really only provides the most benefits when you’re TTC and in the first trimester.) It’s important to note that the entire seminar is in Japanese only.
There are also numerous vendors and I received a LOT of goodies after filling out forms for products I was interested in (again, in Japanese). As these vendors are trying to sell things, you may get phone calls or emails after the event if you provide your personal information.
- Whito diapers (2 newborn and 1 small size)
- GOO.N diapers (1 newborn and 1 small size)
- Happy Skin Care Set (baby soap and lotion)
- Two packs of wipes
- Wakodo はいはい formula
- Chia seeds
- Hard candy folic acid
- Wakodo baby lotion
- FUWASHU baby laundry detergent
- One cloth diaper
- Breast pad
- キュキュット CLEAR dish detergent spray
- NUK pacifier (0-6 months)
- Dentistar pacifier to prevent an overbite (ages 1 to 3)
- ChuChu 150 ml Baby Bottle
- Biore Guard Hand Soap
- Little Mama Festival (リトル・ママフェスタ)
I didn’t get the chance to attend this event during my pregnancy but it seems like it’s geared more towards parents than those who are pregnant. At the event, children can participate in various events such as races depending on their age.
Even though the events are for small children, I saw that some fellow pregnant women in Japan attended this event and received a variety of full-size samples, mainly of food such as broth for nabe, bread, and sauces. They also got an Anpanman bib.
Update: I went to the event in December 2019 with my 5 month old. You can read about my experience here.
- Maternity Baby Festival (マタニティベビーフェスター)
I unfortunately missed this event as I found out about it on social media after it ended, and I was admittedly crushed when I saw all the freebies people received. The event was held at the beginning of April in Yokohama and consists of various exhibitors and seminars that are geared towards both pregnant women and those with babies.
Freebies included diaper samples, baby lotions and oils, coupons (including one for ¥500 off at Babies R Us), NUK pacifiers, and baby wipes.
Many baby brands for products such as diapers and powdered milk offer free samples that will be mailed to you. Although giving out information to a company about your due date and address, etc., may be unpleasant for some people, I think it’s worth it to find out what your baby likes.
Here are the sites of some brands where you can get free baby goods after registering (click on the link to be taken to their website!):
- Merries diapers
- moony diapers
- Whito diapers
- GOO.N diapers
- Pampers diapers
- ICREO アイクレオ Balance Milk (Powdered Milk)
We also received some nice samples and full-size products from the Amazon Baby Registry Welcome Box. The box was actually unavailable when we signed up about two months ago but we lucked out and while completing our registry, I noticed that it was in stock again so my husband quickly snagged one. (If you’re interested in ideas for what to put in your registry, check out this post.)
- Merries diapers (newborn and S size)
- Whito newborn diapers
- baby arau laundry soap
- Hohoemi rakurakucube (ほほえみらくらくキューブ) – powdered milk cubes
- Hagukumi (はぐくみ) powdered milk
- mama bear baby wipes
- mama bear baby cotton swabs
- wakodo cream
I hope this information has been helpful for you and has saved you some time from searching online. This list is truly something I wish I had access to at the beginning of my pregnancy and I hope to update it as I learn about more events for pregnancy and for new moms in Japan.
If you have any information about free things or events that is not included here, please leave a comment!