Exploring Japan with Books & Activities


Disclosure: I was sent these products in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Since Monday was Memorial Day and I spent the weekend with family and friends I didn't do my multicultural post this week. Today I am going to share some of the resources I have to explore Japan. I know Japan will be a popular country to look at this summer with the Olympics being held in Tokyo. We will start with All About Japan by Willamarie Moore and illustrated by Kazumi Wilds. 

Now I love the All About Series from Tuttle. I reviewed an earlier edition of this book previously. In the previous review Hazel was younger and enjoyed doing the different activities with me so we tried the recipes and some of the crafts. This time I explored the book on my own. 

This book starts by introducing our two tour guides--a ten-year-old boy and a twelve-year-old girl. The boy, Yuto, lives in the country. The girl, Momoka, lives in Tokyo. Needless to say these two kids will show us different parts of Japanese living. The book goes through Japan and places there as well as a very brief history.

As you go through the book you learn more and more about the Japanese culture as well as the country itself. The book shares daily life, school life, food including recipes, holidays, crafts, sports and more. I love how the book has the kids share their lives with the reader. The book also has legends and stories as well as songs in it.

This time I decided to create the two origami projects there were in the book. The first is the samurai helmet which seems appropriate after last week's fun facts about samurai. For this project I used a sheet from Origami Tie-Dye Patterns Paper Pack

The book recommends making it out of newspaper so it will fit your head. I decided to make a miniature one. This is a very easy origami to make.

I love how the tie-dye design works with the helmet!

I want to share with you a bit more about the tie-dye papers. They come in a book pack so you rip them out along a perforated side.

The book includes eight origami projects as well. I should add that some of the pages match the tie-dye paper products I reviewed yesterday. There are sixteen different designs and the papers are double-sided with a solid color on the back.

I decided to make the Japanese lantern that was included in the paper pack.

All About Japan also has a tutorial for the jumping frog. Frogs are considered lucky in Japan.

For my frog I used a sheet of paper from Origami Rainbow Paper Pack. The frog leaps when you push on the back fold.

The rainbow paper is also double-sided with solid colors on both sides. There are several colors in the pack.

This pack comes with the same eight origami tutorials as the other one. I decided to try the peacock with the solid paper. I loved how the lighter green and blue were on the same paper to give the look of peacock colors.

Needless to say All About Japan offers so many different things to do from writing haikus to crafts and recipes and even some Japanese lessons. I hope you will check it out as well as these fun origami packs.

Our next book is Folk Tales from Japan by Florence Sakade and illustrated by Yoshio Hayashi. When Hazel was young she loved when I would read her books like this. I find the legends, myths and fairy tales to be great ways to introduce younger kids to other cultures and countries. They always have something about the way of life in them and the different housing, clothes, food, etc. This book does not dissapoint.

The book shares sixteen stories from Japan. They include stories that explain things like how the ocean became so salty to animal stories and more. They teach so many different things and the illustrations with these stories are wonderful.

The book has illustrations but it is not a picture book. I always loved this because it allows the child to imagine the words and what is happening without forcing them to see the picture how the illustrator wants them to. I do believe this helps our kids develop their minds as well as listening skills. 

Our final book is also a story book. It is actually being released later this month. It is Japan Pop-Up Book by Sam Ita. 

In this book a boy is visiting Japan and his cat, Neko, takes off to site see. The boy, Chico, keeps trying to find Neko and as he follows Neko he sees the sites of Japan.

It is presented as a comic book. It is very short but covers much of Japan. Neko and Chico visit

  • Mt. Fuji and the Big Buddha at Kamakura
  • Serene Kinkaku-ji, the Temple of the Golden Pavilion
  • Himeji Castle, an ancient Samurai fortress with its formidable stone ramparts
  • A sushi train restaurant, where an endless parade of fish is truly a cat's dream!
  • The Children's Peace Memorial in Hiroshima, where Chico pauses to reflect
  • The famous "floating" Torii gate at Itsukushima
  • "Cat Island" (Tashirojima), where Neko finds a few new friends and the adventure comes to a happy conclusion!
There are also four pop-up pages. Here is a sample of one.

What a fun way to explore Japan with a child when you can't actually travel there. I hope you will check it out!

For more about Japan and Japanese cultures be sure to check out my other posts.