Review: Marceline Smith’s Kawaii Japan

Kawaii Japan Shopping Guide
A while ago, Marceline from kindly sent us a couple of her guides she has developed from her visits to Japan. In finally getting around to reviewing it, I discovered it had already been replaced by a new guide. Marceline kindly sent me her newer one for me to review. And while she has sent me a couple to review, you know I have to start with “Kawaii Japan.” (Thanks for the updates Marceline and sorry it has taken me so long to review.)


Kawaii Japan is a 69 page pdf. Pooling her knowledge from 3 trips to Japan, Marceline creates a guide that covers many areas of traveling to Japan. It includes some photos of her trip, journal accounts of her visits, tips for travel, what to wear, suggested resources, and favourite shops.


3. What I Wore in Japan
4. Trip 1: Japan (March 2006)
5. My A to Z of Japan
9. Trip 1: Photos
13. Trip 2: Ten Days in Tokyo (October 2007)
32. Trip 2: Photos
36. Trip 3: Osaka & Tokyo (October 2010)
51: Trip 3: Photos
57: Souvenir Stampers
58: Tips for visiting Japan
60: What I Ate in Japan
62: Japan Reading and Resources
63: Shopping Guide
67: What I Bought in Japan


Marceline records her journal accounts of trips. She has an entertaining style and includes the sites they see, how they got there and if they had any troubles. The difficulties are really handy to read about because it helps you prepare for things you may not have even considered. Here is a sample:

Ten Days in Tokyo – 2007

DAY 4 – Friday 19th

Today we have rain forecast so we swapped our itinerary round and decided to head to the Tokyo Sea Life Centre since it’s mostly indoors. We seem to be settling in now as we actually wake up quite late. After eating some leftover pancakes for breakfast we head out. I luckily re-check the guide book which advises us that the fast train doesn’t stop at Kasai-Rinkai during the week so this saves us lots of hassle and confusion. Sadly, we have to change at Tokyo us at least 15 minutes to walk between lines. Tokyo station really is the station of doom – incredibly confusing and the size of a small planet. We do eventually get our trains and it’s no bother. At Kasai-Rinkai, the square outside the station is filled with groups of schoolkids, all wearing their uniforms and little baseball caps. Each group is headed by an adult holding a flag with various fish on them – it’s so cute! We realise they are probably all headed to the Sea Life Park so we hurry on in front of them. It’s a nice little walk – there’s a huge ferris wheel on the right and the entrance path to the aquarium has welcome signs in various languages each with a different fish. We wonder if there was a big meeting to decide which fish represented each language best. At the entrance we buy our tickets from a machine (of course!) and fight with the schoolkids for the souvenir stamps which all have today’s date on them. There are even special sheets of paper soyou can make a souvenir booklet of stamps. Then we head through the gates into a lovely area where you can see all around Tokyo Bay.

She also includes pages of some of the major sites, so you have a bit of a guide of what to look for.

Kawaii shopping in Japan

One of my favourite parts of the pdf was the list of her favourite shops. Since she is a kawaii fan, I knew she would be interested in the same type of shops I was. The pages are nicely laid out with a description of what the store carries in general, and some specific items you may want to buy. Then it lists the locations in Tokyo and also if they are located in other main cities. Finally, she has a short list of what the store is best for, allowing for a nice quick review of what the store encompasses. Here is a sample page:

Kawaii shopping in Japan sample page

A final feature that made the guide enjoyable is her skills as an illustrator. She includes adorable drawings of what she word and as you can see below, her favourite purchases. She has a really kawaii style and it is nice to learn from the visuals.

Kawaii drawings

All in all, I think this guide is a very helpful purchase for a trip to Japan – especially if it is your first one. For me the most valuable part was the favourite shops because it is not easy information to come across- especially specializing in kawaii content. I think the best value is in the pdf, which is 5 pounds. However, if you are more the hardcopy type of person, you can buy the book for 16 pounds.

Thanks to Marceline for letting us review her products. If you have something Japanese related that you would like us to review, just drop us a line and if we feel it relates we may include it in one of our posts.

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