Top Japanese Cartoons

Top 10 Japanese Cartoons for Children 0-6 Years Old

Japanese animation has legions of fans worldwide who admire its high quality storytelling and memorable characters. Domestically, there’s no shortage of characters and licensed character goods, especially when it comes to children’s merchandise. You might be unfamiliar with some characters that you encounter in store or unable to keep up with the latest trends sweeping across your child’s school.

These 10 cartoons are merely a sample of the plethora of Japanese animation aimed towards children. From action packed series filled with magical superheroes to children going about their daily routine, there’s bound to be a character on this list that your child knows. On-air times and links to each series’ Amazon Japan Prime Video page are listed for your convenience.

10. Anpanman (アンパンマン)

Top 10 Japanese Cartoons for Children 0-6 Years Old

If there’s a Japanese cartoon for children that immediately comes to mind, it’s undoubtedly Anpanman. There’s no escaping Anpanman as he’s practically everywhere on any items geared towards kids. He’s so well loved that there are 5 museums across Japan that are dedicated to Anpanman, which you can read more about here: Anpanman Museum, Yokohama. At the museum, you can watch a live show consisting of Anpanman characters.

The titular character, Anpanman, is an anpan (a bean paste filled pastry) headed superhero who protects his friends from Baikinman (baikin means germs in Japanese). With the help of his friends, whom you’d also find in the local bakery, Anpanman teaches kids three important lessons: (1.) Don’t do bad things; (2) Justice always prevails; (3) It’s good to be kind to others.

You can watch Anpaman on Friday mornings at 10:55 on NTV. Also available on Amazon Prime

Uncle Jam’s Bakery – Available on Amazon – 3,182 yen.

*** Top 10 Japanese Cartoons for Children 0-6 Years Old ***

9. Doraemon (ドラえもん)

Top 10 Japanese Cartoons for Children 0-6 Years Old

Doraemon is another character that you may already know: He’s a time-traveling robotic cat from the 22nd century on a mission to aid Nobita, a young boy who lacks athletic skills and academic discipline. He is often the target of bullying as well.

Doreamon fosters kids’ imaginations and boosts their creativity. He has a 4th dimensional pocket that contains a variety of whimsical items such as the Take Koputa (“Bamboo-Copter”) and Doko Demo Doa (“Anywhere Door”). When faced with a predicament, children can ask themselves “Which gadget is best to use?” “What will be the outcome?”

The Doraemon movie series focuses on the power of friendship and are very moving and emotional.

You can watch Dorameon on Friday evenings at 7 pm on TV Asashi. Also available on Amazon Prime

Doraemon Secret Gadgets – Available on Amazon – 1,384 yen

*** Top 10 Japanese Cartoons for Children 0-6 Years Old ***

8. Shima Shima Tora no Shimajiro (しましまとらのしまじろう)

Top 10 Japanese Cartoons for Children 0-6 Years Old ***

Shima Shima Tora no Shimajiro is an animated series based on educational publisher Benesse’s learning program, Kodomo Challenge. As Shimajiro is its official mascot, you can find a variety of Shimajiro-branded educational materials and kids’ products all over Japan.

What makes Shimajiro stand out from other cartoons on this list is that Shimajiro is specifically marketed to preschoolers. It educates while entertaining young ones. Each episode focuses on a certain aspect of Shimajiro’s life as a preschooler. Together with Shimajiro, children learn important life skills such as apologizing, making friends, and going to the toilet, among others.

You can watch Shimajiro on Monday evenings at 7pm on BS 11. Other on-air times vary by prefecture. Also available on Amazon Prime.

Shimajiro Best Songs Collection – Available on Amazon 3,330 yen

*** Top 10 Japanese Cartoons for Children 0-6 Years Old ***

7. PreCure (プリキュア)

PreCure may remind you of Sailor Moon, but to fans of the series, it’s anything but. PreCure is popular among girls 4-5 years of age and older and their popularity in Japan is rivaled only by Disney Princesses.

What makes PreCure stand out from other magical school girl series is that every two years or so, the series reboots itself and introduces a new team of heroines. The current incarnation is Pretty Cure A La Mode, featuring Cure Chocolat, Parfait, Gelato, Whip, Macaron and Custard. Even if you don’t have time to watch the series, it may be in your best interest to find a character to call your favorite. That way, you’ll be able to engaging in conversation without feeling left out.

You can watch Pretty Cure A La Mode on Sunday mornings at 8:30 on TV Asahi. Also available on Amazon Prime.

Pretty Cure Transformation Wand – Available on Amazon – 6,757 yen

*** Top 10 Japanese Cartoons for Children 0-6 Years Old ***

6. Hana Kappa (はなかっぱ)

Hana Kappa is a cute, whimsical series that airs daily on NHK. The animation is simple and uses lots of contrasting colors, perfect for attracting the attention of young viewers.

The story focuses on a family of kappa, the Japanese water spirit, who have flowers that bloom from the top of their heads. When Kappas become adults, their flower blooms. Hana Kappa, however, does not know which flower her buds will bloom into, causing her much anxiety. Together with her friends of Yamabiko Village, Hana Kappa goes on various adventures, causing a variety of flowers to grow from her head at unexpected times.

You can watch Hana Kappa every Monday to Friday morning at 7:15 on on NHK ETV. Also available on Amazon Prime.

Hana Kappa Plush Doll – Available on Amazon – 2,619 yen

*** Top 10 Japanese Cartoons for Children 0-6 Years Old ***

5. Aikatsu! (アイカツ!)

Top 10 Japanese Cartoons for Children 0-6 Years Old ***

Aikatsu is the shortened form of aidoru katsudou, or training to be an idol. The word aikatsu succinctly sums up this series as it chronicles the journey of Ichigo, Ai and Ran, three normal girls who try to make their way to the top at Starlight Academy.

Aikatsu is also a very popular card and arcade game and the cards have a heavy role in the TV series. Players buy cards, which are either an item of clothing, a fashion accessory, or skill. You use the cards to create an outfit. Then, players scan the cards into the arcade for points and to have their very own character/idol strut her stuff on stage. Because of the nature of the series, Aikatsu has also spanned a number of songs and CDs and fans enjoy learning the choreography introduced in each episode

You can watch Aikatsu on evenings at 18:25 on TV Tokyo. Also available on Amazon Prime.

Aikatsu! Deluxe Mobile Phone – Available on Amazon – 6,848 yen

*** Top 10 Japanese Cartoons for Children 0-6 Years Old ***

4. Yokai Watch (妖怪ウォッチ)

Yokai Watch is about a 5th grader named Keita and his adventures with a Whisper, a spirit that helps Keita collect yokai, Japanese spirits, haunting Sakura New Town. When Keita befriends a yokai, he gets their friendship medal. By using the friendship medal and his yokai watch, a special wristband device, Keita can summon yokai to fight other yokai or help him in his day-to-day routine.

The gist behind Yokai Watch is that for every negative behavior or action done by humans, there’s always a yokai behind it. While some cultural references may go over the head of children, the series is a great primer into the rich storytelling traditions of the Japanese and its mystical characters.

You can watch Yokai Watch on Friday evenings at 18:25 on on TV Tokyo. Also available on Amazon Prime.

Yokai Watch Wristband – Available on Amazon 1,073 yen

*** Top 10 Japanese Cartoons for Children 0-6 Years Old ***

3. Pokemon (ポケットモンスター)

What is there to say about Pokemon? The global phenomenon that has legions of fans in virtually every country has its start here in Japan. You may know the the series hero, Satoshi, by a different name, but fans all over the world will immediately recognize the name of its bright yellow mouse-like mascot, Pikachu. If you are unfamiliar with the series here’s a quick primer: the series is about pokemon, animal-like creatures, and the human trainers that catch, train, and battle fellow trainers with pokemon.

What was once a card game turned into a massive video game series and TV and film franchise. As of the newest series Pokemon Sun and Moon, there are a staggering 720 pokemon, a steep increase from the 150 that premiered back in 1995. Stop in the Pokemon Center Mega Store in Ikebukuro and pick up some great gifts, Pokemon shaped snacks and seasonal merchandise. 

Pokemon On-air times vary by prefecture. Also available on Amazon Prime.

Pokemon Pokedex – Available on Amazon – 7.740 yen

*** Top 10 Japanese Cartoons for Children 0-6 Years Old ***

2. Chibi Maruko Chan (ちびまる子ちゃん)

Top 10 Japanese Cartoons for Children 0-6 Years Old ***

Chibi Maruko Chan is a family oriented program where its titular heroine, Maruko, faces a variety problems. Unlike many children’s animated series that take place in the big city of Tokyo, Maruko-chan she lives in the suburbs Shizuoka with a family of modest income. We get a peek into the relationship that Maruko has with her parents, her older sister, and grandparents, and see that she is a normal girl with everyday concerns that any child can easily relate to.

What makes Chibi Maruko Chan different from other TV series about elementary school children is that a majority of action in each episode occurs within the confines of the school environment. Chibi Maruko Chan is a great series to introduce to soon-to-be first graders as children get a glimpse of what life as an elementary schooler is like.

You can watch Chibi Maruko-Chan on Sunday evenings at 18:00 Fuji TV. Also available on Amazon Prime.

Chibi Maruko-Chan Mother’s Day Book – Available on Amazon – 558 yen

*** Top 10 Japanese Cartoons for Children 0-6 Years Old ***

1. Crayon Shin-Chan (クレヨンしんちゃん)

If you know anything at all about Shin-chan, you might wonder why this potty mouthed tot made his way on to this list. However, there is reason why he is popular among kids and adults.

Shin-chan is a 5 year old kindergartner who lives in Saitama with his parents, baby sister, and dog. The series focuses on Shin-chan’s relationship with his family, neighbors, and friends. The humor comes from his behavior and use of language. Shin-chan has a habit of pulling down his trousers and mooning others. He also shows little tact in interacting with adults, and blurts out whatever comes to mind. Children love hearing when Shin-chan mixes up  おかえりなさい/okaeri nasai/welcome back with ただいま/tadaima/I’m home. Parents enjoy the adult humor, making it a show that parents watch together with their kids.

You can watch Crayon Shin-Chan on Friday evenings at 19:30 on on TV Asahi. Also available on Amazon Prime.

Crayon Shin-Chan Tote Bag – Available on Amazon – 648 yen

NHK Family Favorites

While the following programs are not cartoons, they nevertheless are popular among Japanese and the foreign community as well. The shows are a great way to familiarize your little ones with the Japanese language through song and dance. They air on the NHK Educational channel.

Inai Inai Baa (いないいないばあっ!)

Date and Times: Monday to Friday 8:25 – 8:40; 16:05 – 16:20
Age: 0 – 2 years
Young children love this show. The show consists colorful characters and adorable Japanese songs. Your children will want to watch it again and again.


Inai Inai Ba Stage Show (いないいないばあっ!ワンワンわんだーらんど)

Date and Times: Last Sunday of the Month from 7:30 – 8:00 and 17:00 – 17:30
Age: 0 – 2 years
A stage show held throughout the country. The Wan Wan Wonder Land comes alive with the characters Dogwan, Yuuna-chan, U-Tan, Yu Kun, Jean Jean and Korobau. The characters sing and dance throughout the performance. Families can register to watch the show live.

Okaasan to Issho/おかあさんといっしょ

Date and Times: Monday to Saturday, 8:00 – 8:24 and Monday – Friday 16:20 – 16:44; Saturday 17:00-17:24
Age:2 – 4 years
Together with the characters Choromi, Muu Muu, and Galapico, toddlers learn various songs and dances intended to develop their speech and refine their motor skills. The children look forward to interacting with the onii-san and onee-san (literally “older brother” and “older sister”) cast members as well. There are also animated segments included within this show.

Date and Times:Monday to Friday, 7:45 – 8:00 & 16:45-17:00 (Miistuketa!) || Sunday morning 7:30- 8:00 (Miitsuketa!-san)
Age: 4 – 6 years

The activities featured on Miitsuketa focus on improving kindergarten students’ physical well-being, interpersonal skills, environment, speech, and expression. There are three main characters, Kosshi, Sui, and Sabo-san. An accompanying animated show airs on Sunday. Families can register to watch the show live.


Top 10 Japanese Cartoons for Children 0-6 Years Old


P.S. Visit our Top Recommended Baby Posts

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Top 10 Japanese Cartoons for Children 0-6 Years Old

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One comment

  1. Jakkurin Jactender Jakala

    I love this, but… Anpanman must have been Number 1!!

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