The Hunt for Diapers in Tokyo

It is a desperate feeling. You’re down to your final three diapers and despite your efforts; you can’t find a place to purchase another pack.


Tokyo isn’t a city that I would deem child friendly. Babies are not a common sight. People seem to have other priorities in Tokyo, where the mantra seems to be “work really hard play harder, repeat”.


When I packed for our month in Japan, there was no way I’d have enough room in my suitcase to pack enough diapers for the duration of the trip. In fact, I thought nothing of packing a weeks supply thinking, I’ll just pick up a pack when we run out - after all, you can find everything in Tokyo.


If only it were that simple. With three diapers left, I began my quest to buy a new. I started with grocery stores. They seemed a likely place to purchase pampers. After combing through aisles I was turned away from not one, not two, but four different grocery stores. “Where can I buy diapers?” I’d patiently implore cashier after cashier, pulling a diaper from my purse to ensure my question was understood. Worriedly, store clerks would look at the diapers, at each other, then at me. Some would simply shrug, other offered meek apologies. With two diapers left, I was getting desperate.


I took my search to 7-11s and other convenience stores, once again, seemingly likely targets- nope. No diapers and no leads as to where to purchase them.


At the hotel concierge desk, with one diaper to go, I asked the woman to please point me in the direction of diapers. And where did she advise that I go?- A local department store. Department store?!? That didn’t sound right, but I wasn’t in a position to argue. Off we went to the department store, where between the glassware section and the fine china section sat a small collection of baby clothes, supplies and three packs of diapers. Relief!


Not knowing Ohm’s weight in kilograms caused a bit of confusion, but after the assistance of some friendly clerks, we were able to narrow in on the right pack.


*Ironic Side Note: Tokyo may have a miniscule baby population, but its elderly population is thriving. We found shelves stocked high with Depends in the grocery stores as well as the convenience stores.


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