Japan has a rich cultural and artistic history spanning thousands of years. From woodblock prints to ink paintings to origami to manga, there is truly a kind of Japanese art that can appeal to anyone.
Colorists love the beautiful designs and details in Japanese art, and a wide variety of coloring books are available that reflect this trend. These are some of my favorites!
First of all, if the adult coloring book trend is unfamiliar to you, you may want to take a look at my main article about adult coloring books that currently features over 100 of the best books in all kinds of categories – including a few of the books here!
I’ve worked really hard to create a set of guides here to help people find the perfect coloring book (or books!) for them because I am truly passionate about the relaxing qualities of coloring. Few things are as enjoyable as unplugging and letting your creative side come out! If you click any of the coloring books below, you’ll reach their Amazon page, where you can read more about each one and take a look inside. If you buy anything, you will help support this site and my love of coloring. (Thank you!)
One last quick tip: Did you know that you can get your coloring books in just TWO DAYS with FREE shipping by signing up for a free trial of Amazon Prime? That’s almost as fast as buying coloring books at the store, except you get a million times the selection and you don’t even have to change out of your PJs! (Win-win!)
The trial lasts for 30 days, and there is no minimum order price in order to get the free shipping (without Prime, you generally need to hit $35 to get the free shipping, and even then, you don’t get it in just two days)! Get those books ASAP by signing up for the free trial (click here!), and if you don’t want to keep the Prime benefits, just cancel before your 30 days are up. You might end up loving Prime, too — I know we do! With the amount we order from Amazon, I’m sure our Prime membership has paid for itself many times over in quick, free shipping.
Last Updated: December 23, 2015
Color Your Own Japanese Woodblock Prints (Dover Art Coloring Book)
This beautiful adult coloring book illustrated by Marty Noble gives you the chance to lend your own interpretation to classic Japanese woodblock prints, like The Great Wave off Kanagawa, one of the most famous works of Japanese art.
The outlined art is beautifully rendered, and the book features 30 pieces by woodblock print masters like Hokusai, Kunisada, Hiroshige, Utamaro, Eisen, and Toyokuni. Each piece is labeled with its creator and the title of the work, so you can look up the original work and follow along, or choose your own colors.
Illustrations are printed on both sides of the page, so if you want to use markers or watercolors you will want to make your own personal scans of the book and print the images individually onto heavier-weight paper. As is, though, the book is perfect for colored pencils.
You’re sure to get hours of enjoyment out of this beautiful Dover coloring book!
Posh Adult Coloring Book: Japanese Designs for Fun and Relaxation (Posh Coloring Books)
If you love Japanese-inspired patterns, this beautiful adult coloring book by Posh will keep you busy for a long time, with over 100 pages of designs. The illustrations vary from detailed scenes to relaxing, repeated patterns that feature dragons, koi fish, kimonos, birds, paper fans, pagodas, flowers, tigers, swirls, and other nature-inspired features. It is inspired by traditions, folk festivals, and life in Japan.
The book features a variety of simpler and more intricate scenes, allowing you to choose the complexity you desire for your coloring. This is the perfect way to relax after a long, stressful day!
Images are printed back to back, so the book is best suited for colored pencils. However, if you prefer to color in pens, markers, or watercolors, you can scan the pages in and print them individually.
Enjoy this beautiful and relaxing book!
Vive Le Color! Japan (Coloring Book): Color In; De-stress (72 Tear-out Pages)
This brand new Japanese-inspired coloring book for adults was created with colorists’ best interests at heart! Its 72 illustrations are printed on just one side of perforated, easy to remove pages. It is top-bound, making it equally enjoyable to color whether you are left or right handed. It also features a heavy backing board, making it ideal for lap coloring!
Pages are printed on high quality paper perfect for colored pencils, pens, or markers. The book is slightly smaller than most coloring books, clocking in at just 8.4 x 5.8 inches, making it ideal for on-the-go coloring.
You’ll love the Japanese designs, florals, and patterns in this book. Check it out!
Creative Haven Japanese Kimono Designs Coloring Book (Creative Haven Coloring Books)
Lovers of fashion coloring books and intricate Japanese patterns will adore the merging of the two in this beautiful Creative Haven coloring book celebrating the kimono. The prints on these wearable works of art include birds, cherry blossoms, bamboo, orange trees, and other flora.
Over thirty illustrations are printed on just one side of the page, making it ideal for any medium. The pages are also perforated, making it easy to separate the piece you’ve colored for framing. The images themselves are quite detailed, which lends itself well to pens, fine tipped markers, or colored pencils.
Grab a copy of this gorgeous book today – you won’t be disappointed!
Secret Tokyo: Color Your Way to Calm
This beautiful book, entirely illustrated by Zoe de Las Cases, gives a good view of life in Tokyo, from vibrant city scenes to collections of items like paper fans and kimonos. Her fans may recognize her work from her earlier book, Secret Paris.
Images in this book are printed on both sides of the page, so it is not ideal for pens and markers. If you want to use them, I’d recommend copying the images out, as the paper is somewhat on the thin side.
Every illustration has a hand-drawn feel, making the drawings as a whole feel more organic than other books. You’ll never be bored coloring this book!
The book is available for preorder and will be out officially in October.
Kimono: Artists’ Coloring Book
Those who adore the beauty of the kimono will revel in this beautiful coloring book just for artists by designer Pepin van Roojen. This book features a wealth of fine details, perfect for exploring with your finest art supplies.
Pepin Artists’ Coloring books feature 16 sheets of acid-free, heavy, high-quality paper ideal for any medium, from colored pencils to watercolor paints, pastels, markers, inks, watercolor pencils, or even gouache. According to the publisher, the drawing paper is made by “one of the best paper mills in Europe.”
These books are unique because they feature printed designs with light grey lines that all but disappear once color is applied to the page. Because the paper is acid free, once your work of art is complete you can frame it and hang it to be enjoyed for many years to come.
Japanese Designs: Artists’ Coloring Book
Another one of Pepin van Roojen’s coloring books inspired by his admiration for Asian cultures and art, this book includes 16 sheets featuring koi fish, crabs, birds, and flora.
Like the previous book, this one is printed on just one side of acid-free, high-quality paper that stands up to inks and watercolors easily. Thin grey lines disappear as you color, making the finished piece a work of art worthy of framing!
Legendary Creatures from Japan: Adult Coloring Book
This gorgeous indie adult coloring book, illustrated by Alex Shiga, features 30 original illustrations. Half are fantasy creatures based on Japanese mythology, while the other half are corresponding designs based on traditional Japanese pattern work.
This book is printed on just one side of a medium weight paper. Markers and pens can be kept from bleeding onto the next design by simply placing some pages in between or removing the page you are working on from the book.
There is a lot of care put into this linework, and it is sure to be appreciated by both beginners and more seasoned colorists, who will use the larger spaces as an opportunity for more advanced shading and texture.
Women in Japanese Art: Ukiyo-e Woodblock Prints (Dover Fashion Coloring Book)
These beautiful Ukiyo-e style coloring pages show off the traditional styles of portraying women in Japanese art. They have flowing patterned kimonos, perfect for shading, and ornately upswept hair. Backgrounds are either nonexistent or minimal to allow the colorist to focus on the subject. These drawings are adapted from real woodblock prints, and many of the women are portrayed playing instruments, dancing, walking in nature, and performing other everyday activities.
This Dover coloring book features 30 illustrations which are printed on both sides of the page. You will want to avoid inks and markers in the book (though you can always copy the designs out) and stick to colored pencils. The paper is high quality and holds the color from pencils nicely.
You will not be disappointed in this beautiful and artistic coloring book!
Japanese Tattoo Art Stained Glass Coloring Book (Dover Design Stained Glass Coloring Book)
Dover’s stained glass coloring books are unique because they use a sort of translucent paper with deep black outlines and background, which makes your image really pop when displayed in a window or when backlit. I adored receiving them as gifts when I was a child, and scribbled my way through many of them; now that I’m an adult, I can really focus on the finer details and shading to make these stained glass books into masterpieces. While they may seem simpler than other coloring books, I want to emphasize that an adult colorist can really get a lot of enjoyment out of these!
This particular coloring book contains 16 stained glass images which feature different Japanese-inspired tattoo designs, such as dragons, koi fish, tigers, geisha, cherry blossoms, samurai, and other traditional patterns. There is one picture on each page (nothing is printed on the reverse, so your image can shine through!) and they are perforated for easy removal.
Colored pencils, pens, and markers all work on this paper, though with markers you will need to keep an eye out as the designs can be easily smudged until they dry. I would avoid wetter media like watercolors and watercolor pencils.
You can’t beat showing these off when you’re done. Carefully tear them up and start lining your windows!
Japanese Designs (Dover Design Coloring Books)
This 2002 adult coloring book by Dover and illustrated by Y.S. Green brings to life some of the most popular traditional Japanese designs. In this book, you’ll find 30 designs depicting birds, blossoms, dragons, and more. The only downside is that images are printed back to back, so you cannot color directly in the book with markers. You can, however, copy these royalty free designs onto their own sheets of paper.
The book is quite popular with colorists, and right now on Amazon it has 72 reviews and 4.5 stars. Reviewers commented on the fine details and variety between the different designs. If you enjoy Japanese motifs, you’ll love coloring this beautiful and relaxing book!
Hokusai: Artists’ Colouring Book
Fans of Pepin van Roojen’s expert-level, artist quality coloring books will enjoy this brand new title due out later this month. It features 16 reinterpreted and beautifully-rendered works of art by Japanese woodblock printing master Katsushika Hokusai, creator of the well-known and beloved Great Wave off Kanagawa, shown on the cover.
Pepin van Roojen’s coloring books, as I mentioned above, are actually sheets loosely attached on one edge that are easy to detach. They are printed on high quality, acid free paper that feels great while you color and stands up to any medium, wet or dry. When you complete your work of art, the pale outlines will blend into the final product. These pieces will be beautiful enough to frame!
Life in Old Japan Coloring Book (Dover History Coloring Book)
If you are fascinated by Japanese history, you’ll love this Dover coloring book that explores day to day life in an imperial Japanese village. Forty illustrations by John Green are printed back to back on medium weight paper. You will want to avoid markers, but colored pencils are perfect for this book. Just look at these gorgeously colored images shared by one talented reviewer!
Scenes include a city street, a tea ceremony, a Shinto shrine, a Noh play, samurai warriors, the imperial villa at Kyoto, a restaurant, musicians, and a garden. You’ll love the attention to historical accuracy and level of detail in the clothing and secenery.
Japanese Designs Stained Glass Coloring Book (Dover Design Stained Glass Coloring Book)
This lovely stained glass coloring book illustrated by Marty Noble features 16 window-ready designs featuring butterflies, bamboo, paper fans, cherry blossoms, and more. The images are detailed but still simple enough to complete in one sitting, which I’m sure many people will appreciate! Perfect for anyone who appreciates Japanese art.
Creative Haven Manga Coloring Book (Creative Haven Coloring Books)
Love manga? Enjoy this spirited coloring book illustrated by Mark Schmitz featuring a wide array of colorful characters in action-packed scenes. The 31 illustrations include surfers, skate boarders, martial artists, motorcyclists, demons, and other heroes.
Being a Creative Haven coloring book, the Manga Coloring Book is printed on one side only and has perforated pages for easy removal and display. It is ideal for any medium from coloring pencils to markers.
Kawase Hasui Coloring Book
Hasui Kawase was a popular Japanese painter and woodblock printmaker in the early 20th century. This coloring book is a tribute to his brilliant work, which often emphasized the seasons: deep, drifting snowstorms, delicate cherry blossoms, summer sunshine, and colorful fall leaves.
This book contains 22 of his best images printed on only one side, meaning you can use colored pencils, markers, or whatever other medium your heart desires. A color copy of every piece found in the book is printed on the inside covers, allowing you to copy the colors of the originals or create your own interpretations.
Lovers of Japanese culture, art historians, and colorists from all backgrounds will love this beautiful tribute to a fascinating Japanese artist.
Kimonos: 100 Coloriages Anti-Stress – Art Therapie (Kimonos: 100 Anti-Stress Illustrations to Color, French Coloring Book)
You don’t have to speak French to adore this beautiful French coloring book, and the next several which are also from France. After all, the adult coloring book trend began in France!
This beautiful, hardcover coloring book promotes peace and serenity while you color 100 illustrations. Enjoy women in beautiful traditional garments walking in Japanese gardens, their kimonos printed with rich patterns, parasols in hand. You’ll be relaxing in no time!
Illustrations are printed back to back on medium weight paper. Markers may bleed through, so if you’d like to use markers, consider copying onto individual sheets of paper. This book is perfect for colored pencils!
Les Saisons du Japon (The Seasons of Japan, French Coloring Book)
This beautiful French coloring book juxtaposes haikus (in the original Japanese, and in French) with beautiful illustrations of birds, blossoms, koi fish, kimono-clad women, butterflies, wolves, waves, fishermen, and more. This book celebrates the four seasons of Japan in beautiful ways. The cover is firm and features details in beautiful red foil. The haikus are by the Japanese poetry masters: Bashõ, Issa and Buson.
Illustrated by Nany Peña, the book has illustrations printed on both sides, although often the reverse is just a haiku, not another illustration. The publisher says that the paper is heavy enough weight for markers, which is great, but you’ll want to test your own on a small part of a page before coloring in earnest.
Cahier de Coloriages Paysages du Japon (Japanese Landscapes, French Coloring Book)
This French coloring book features beautiful reproductions of Japanese woodblock prints by Utagawa Hiroshige. The prints feature Japanese landscapes, including temples, greenery, bridges, water, mountains, and colorful skies. Each illustration is presented opposite a copy of the original piece, giving you the option of reproducing the art yourself, or choosing your own color palette.
Reviewers on the French Amazon remark that markers do not bleed through the relatively heavy paper. This would be an ideal gift for any colorist who loves traditional Japanese art.
I hope you enjoyed this list of the best Japanese coloring books! They’d make great gifts for people who love Japanese culture, or colorists who want to explore a new part of the world through art.
Don’t forget to check out my list of the best adult coloring books of all time (including over 100 adult coloring books!), and please follow my Pinterest board, Adult Coloring Book Wishlist!
Please feel free to comment or send a message if you know of another coloring book you think I should add to the list.
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