Japanese School Bag (ランドセル): All You Need to Know

Japanese School Bag (ランドセル): All You Need to Know - EDOPEN Japan

Do you like watching cartoons or Japanese movies? At least for Doraemon? Doraemon is a robot cat that is very friendly with Nobita. When Nobita goes to school with his friends, you can always see them carrying a backpack with a similar shape.

Then, it turns out that the bag is called a ransel (in Dutch) or randoseru (in Japanese ランドセル), a very popular bag for children in Japan.

As simple as it sounds, this bag is so special. If you want to know how to choose the best one for you and why you won’t be disappointed when you pay for it, then this article is for you!

Discover a scarce wider and you will get that there is more to it than meets the eye. Superior Japanese craftsmanship, enduring design, and imperial history. When you pay for it, you won’t be disappointed. Let’s dive into the wonderful world of a the Japanese school bag below!

Also, if you want to deepen your knowledge about Japanese school uniforms, as well as about learning the Japanese language in famous Japanese language school, you can check out our best recommendation below! There you will also certainly know how to find the best way in learning Japanese to advance your Japanese and many more below!

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What is the ランドセル (Randoseru)?

What is the ランドセル (Randoseru)? - EDOPEN Japan

Before anything else, of course, you need to get what is the Japanese school bag right? Apart from uniforms, school shoes or hairstyles, another popular trend in Japan is the Japanese school bag or randoseru.

ランドセル (Randoseru) is a leather school bag for children in Japan that weighs up to 1 kg. Elementary school children use it to store all their school supplies. This fantastic bag is a square, sewn very tightly at each edge. Until now, almost all randoseru is completely handmade. That’s why this bag is so strong and durable.

A Brief History of Japanese School Bag

ランドセル (Randoseru) existed from the end of the Edo period around 1853 to 1869. This western-style backpack was introduced to the Japanese military by the Dutch. Recently, this bag has been transformed into a school bag for elementary school-aged children, and the randoseru itself is inspired by the Dutch military backpack model called a ransel. The term ransel actually means “backpack” in Dutch.

This luxury satchel was only for city children. With the westernization of the military in the Edo period, the Japanese military adopted the Dutch army backpack model. It wasn’t until Meiji 18th or around 1885 that this military backpack was used by schoolchildren. The first school to adopt this backpack model was called Gakushuin because it allowed the children to store their school supplies and move their hands freely.

Two years later, on the 20th of Meiji, a rucksack designed as a modern ランドセル (randoseru) appeared. Hirofumi Ito presented this backpack to the future Emperor Taisho when he entered the Gakushuin school. A decade later, Gakushuin established a standard for the size and shape of randoseru at that time.

In addition, Japan has become one of the developed countries with a high level of economic and human creativity, so the development of ランドセル (randoseru) has undergone many changes. It is not only for children, unfortunately, has undergone changes and is useful for many people of all ages in Japan and around the world.

The Features of the Japanese School Bag

The Features of the Japanese School Bag - EDOPEN Japan

The Price and Design of Japanese School Bag

The price of this bag is no joke, the price of this bag starts from 30,000 to 120,000 Yen for the premium version! Although it is quite expensive, this bag can last a long time, from 1st to 6th grade in elementary school.

The traditional random design measures approximately 30 cm long by 23 cm wide. There is an outer cover of the bag that covers the zipper to protect the contents of the bag. On the side, you can see a small pocket attached to put many things inside.

Japanese School Bag is Waterproof and Durable

In fact, this bag is quite heavy. However, the design is intended to provide a head restraint if a child falls from behind. This iconic bag is very useful to protect children from falling objects during an earthquake. ランドセル (randoseru) is heavy and expensive, in spite of that durable to use.

The notable ransel usually lasts for six years when children graduate from elementary school. Some school bag manufacturers in Japan offer a six-year warranty. To make it strong and durable, this bag is also waterproof because it is very common for elementary school children to walk on rainy days to school. With a waterproof bag, books and other school supplies will stay dry.

Japanese School Bag is Very Child-Friendly

Despite the fact that the Randoseru is quite heavy, this bag is suitable for children. The reason is that this bag has the perfect balance when used by children. The shoulder strap in this bag is thicker and wider than the usual bag. The pads on the back are intentionally designed to fit children’s backs. When children wear it, they will feel very comfortable.

Made with Very Well-Thought-Out Concept

One of the things that make randoseru expensive is the well-thought-out concept. When designing this backpack, keeping it comfortable, safe, and does not cause negative effects for kids are the key points.

The shape of this bag is sturdy and rigid to form a straight spine. Since elementary school children are at a suitable age in the formation of body posture. This notable backpack can get children used to standing up straight and not bending over to support their growth period.

Full of Security Features

Anyone knows that Japan is a country that is highly advanced in technological development. The government has equipped randoseru with security features in the form of a GPS button connecting with parents at home, school, or the police station.

The buttons are easy for children to press when they are in danger or need help. The material on the surface can also reflect light to prevent accidents.


First, randoseru is designed to withstand daily use for six years of primary school. Some manufacturers even offer guarantees and free repair services if damage occurs within those six years. Second, this backpack also functions as a cushion if the child falls backward. Therefore, the child’s falling position does not harm the head.

This great backpack has another function as a life vest as well in times of flooding, and since Japan is frequently hit by earthquakes, it can also be very helpful to protect the head.

The Styles and Trends of Japanese School Bag - EDOPEN Japan

Originally, school bags in Japan had black color for boys and red color for girls. In the past, this bag was made from genuine leather. Since it was very heavy, many now use synthetic leather with good durability.

Every year the random trend changes, both in terms of color and motif. Recently Randoseru comes in various colors. Some randoseru come with very cute color combinations and attractive pictures.

Interestingly, randoseru has also become a popular fashion item and attracts many adults. With that, there is also an adult version of randoseru. Infrequently tourists buy randoseru and make it as a typical Japanese souvenir.

The types of leather for this bag are also very diverse, ranging from crocodile skin, snakeskin, and the likes. The rarer the material, the more expensive the price.

What is Inside the Japanese School Bag?

Inside this handy backpack, there is a special pocket for pens or pencils, rulers, and other school supplies. Then, the largest storage area uses for books or other paper. You can find as well also a smaller storage area to store a change of clothes or lunch. Some bags have hooks that you can use to hold an umbrella or lunch bag.

Commonly, the parents would give this bag as gifts for children in their first year of school. The kids would continue to use the same bag until graduate and use a different bag when they are entering junior high school.

How to Choose the Best Japanese School Bag?

How to Choose the Best Japanese School Bag? - EDOPEN Japan

Thanks so much for reading this article right up to this part. Here is the main of the article. According to several Japanese School Bag expert sites, there are 8 aspects we can count on to prevent failure when selecting the best Japanese school bag as follows:

1. MaterialsChoose artificial or synthetic leather for the lightness and design.
Prefer the original leather for the authentic color and durability.
2. Color & DesignIs it a favorite color for your child? Is it a nice design for your child?
For this criteria, discussing with your child would be the best!
3. SizeAlmost 90% of school bags are compatible with A4 size to fit A4 files or books.
4.DurabilityVerify if the manufacturer has concerns about durability, especially for boys who are relatively more active than girls. Please consider further that if the bag is too strong, it will be heavy too.
5. Easily CarriedTry to choose a curved belt designed to fit your kid’s body. It is recommended that the back cushion is three-dimensionally processed that won’t hurt easily.
Natural leather is best as the material.
6. SafetyPlease check 2 points: Is it easy to attach a security buzzer? and is there a reflective material on every surface? These 2 points are very important to protect kids from danger and accidents.
7. 6 Year WarrantyCan it be repaired free of charge? Confirm the scope of free repair support and ask whether you may rent an alternative school bag during the repair period?
8. PriceWithin the scope of common sense,
We would like to recommend a price range of 40,000 to 60,000 Yen.

Where to Find and Buy the Japanese School Bag?

Where to Find and Buy the Japanese School Bag? - EDOPEN Japan

It is possible to find cheaper Japanese school bags that use synthetic leather. However, the price for genuine leather is more expensive.

In Japan, it is very easy to get at department stores such as Takashimaya, Kintetsu, Mitsukoshi, Sogo, Seibu, and other similar stores. You can also get it from popular online shopping sites like Tsuchiya. Very easy right!

Looking for More Information about ランドセル-Randoseru (The Japanese School Bag)?

Looking for More Information about ランドセル-Randoseru (The Japanese School Bag)? - EDOPEN Japan

  1. What are Japanese school bags called?
    The name of a school bag in Japan is Randoseru (ランドセル). Randoseru (ランドセル) is a backpack usually made of leather or synthetic leather that is specially designed to be sturdy and durable, and is most commonly used by elementary school children in Japan.
  2. Why is randoseru so expensive?
    The price of Randoseru (ランドセル), the Japanese school bag, is expensive according to its durability, importance and various functions. Randoseru (ランドセル) material, which is made of good quality leather or synthetic leather, also provides comfort and durability for your little one when using it.
  3. How much is a randoseru (ランドセル) in Japan?
    According to our research, the price of the Japanese school bags start from 30,000 to 120,000 Yen for the premium version. Further, you still can find the cheaper one but with different quality.
  4. Can adults wear randoseru?
    Yes, adults can wear randoseru in adult sizes. However, today’s randoseru are usually luxury fashion items that come at a price that is not cheap.
  5. Is ランドセル-randoseru (Japanese school bag) mandatory in Japan?
    Japanese law does not require the use of ランドセル (randoseru), or Japanese school bags. However, some elementary schools may require their use. Any type of bag is acceptable for going to school.
  6. Do ランドセル-randoseru float?
    The Randoseru bag is designed with natural buoyancy to anticipate water-related accidents.
  7. Who uses ランドセル-randoseru?
    Elementary school children in Japan typically use randoseru bags to carry their stationery and school needs.
  8. Who invented ランドセル-randoseru?
    Hirofumi Ito presented the ランドセル-randoseru (Japanese school bags) to the future Emperor Taisho on the 20th of the Meiji era when he entered the Gakushuin school. A decade later, Gakushuin established a standard for the size and shape of the bag.
  9. What are the benefits of a ランドセル-randoseru bag?
    Randoseru, a type of Japanese school bag, has several advantages over other bags. It is lightweight, waterproof, durable, and equipped with safety features for children. Additionally, it can float, providing protection against water-related accidents.
  10. Is ランドセル-randoseru heavy?
    To make it easier for elementary school children to carry, the ランドセル-randoseru backpack weighs only 1 kg.


After all, we have discussed above very comprehensively about this great Japanese school bag, let’s wrap this article into the following points, shall we?

  • Ransel or ランドセル-Randoseru (in Japanese) is a school bag in Japan made of leather.
  • The Japanese school bag is inspired by the Dutch military backpack model, which is called a Ransel.
  • The Japanese school backpack for kids you know has several features such as waterproof, durable, children-friendly, designed with great security and multifunction.
  • There are 8 aspects we can carefully consider to prevent failure when selecting the best bag.
  • In Japan, you can find this ransel in every department store online and offline.


Representative Director of Reboot Japan Co., Ltd., which operates EDOPEN JAPAN. Founded the company in 2018, which provides Japanese language education and assistance for studying in Japan. Started the company after living with international students at a Japanese language school. He enjoys learning about new people and cultures and has lived in Australia and Malaysia. Graduated from the Faculty of Economics, Sophia University.