Jan 26, 2018

Looking for baby formula in Japan? Here are some tips!

Looking for baby formula in Japan? Can’t read the label when you find it? As someone who struggled through it already, allow me to help you out.

My wife and I are currently raising our second infant in Japan, and while we know the ropes now, it wasn’t that way with our first child. Like many readers out there, we were anxious new parents, neither having more than a handful of encounters with babies and never on our own. Well, when we had our daughter here in Japan, we had to adjust both to the challenges of parenthood as well as the challenges of being a parent in a foreign county. One of the hardest things was finding formula for our daughter, but now that we have our brand and know where to find it, it’s easy as pie.

Where to find it

The three most common places to find formula are drug stores (recognizable by the big signs that say “薬” and/or “DRUG”), department stores that have pharmaceutical sections, and supermarkets. Just look for the diapers (easiest to spot) and then scan the shelves next to those for what look like coffee cans with pictures of babies on them. Here is my favorite (and one of the oldest brands in Japan—think Gerbers in the States).

A small can will run you about 850 yen, and a large can (pictured) will be double that.

Alternatively, you can find formula on amazon.co.jp.  While my wife and I are happy to run to a Welcia Drug Store to get some formula in a pinch, we typically order it online with other pantry items.

How to Make It

I’m used to American formula that uses larger scoops for larger volumes of formula, so I was caught off guard when I read the label for the first time: 1 spoonful for every 20 mL. Surely that couldn’t be right...

But then I saw the spoon. Granted, don’t be surprised if you have to dig a little into the formula to find it. Instead of digging around with your fingers, I recommend tipping the can a bit and giving it a few light shakes until you see the tip of the spoon’s handle. When you pull it out, you’ll see that it is about a teaspoon.

With that, simply add the correct amount of scoops per water ratio (again, 1 spoon per 20 mL of water), give it a shake, and you’re good to go!



Hitting the books once again as a Ph.D. student in Niigata Prefecture. Although I've lived in Japan many years, life as a student in this country is a first.

Blessed Dad. Lucky Husband. Happy Gaijin (most of the time).