Japan is world famous for the staggering range of capsule toys (also called gashapon or gachapon) available almost everywhere you go – from train stations to super markets. To demonstrate the breadth of fun items on offer, we’ll introduce you to just the tiniest slice: the animal figurines from Epoch’s capsule toy line Capsule Collection. From strange, to adorable, to strangely adorable and adorably strange, these little animals are both uniquely Japanese and universally appealing.
The Cat-Block (じゃま猫)
It’s a scene every cat owner knows well – you were just ready to get down to business, but then there’s the cat right in your way and…wouldn’t it be such a shame to disturb the little furball? The Cat-Block, or Jama-neko, series captures moments like this in adorable miniature.
Kitten Assistants (猫の手かします)
These sweet kittens just want to lend a helping paw to get you through a busy workday – by holding the odds and ends cluttering up your desk. Organizing your workspace has never been cuter, thanks to these devoted assistants.
All Lucked Out
All Lucked Out (招きつかれちゃった猫)
The maneki neko, or lucky cat, is a common sight in Japan, tirelessly beckoning customers to all manner of shops…or maybe not so tirelessly? These kitties have been spreading luck so hard, they’re just totally tuckered out. Let them have their well-deserved nap – they’ll be out and about spreading good fortune before you know it.
Nyanko Kitchen (にゃんこキッチン)
Have you always felt your kitchen could be more feline? Get your decorating inspiration from the popular Nyanko Kitchen Series, which features kitty-shaped everything – from frying pans to kettles.
Nyanko Appliances (にゃんこ家電)
With your tiny kitchen well on its way to complete kittification, the next step is appliances! The Nyanko Appliances series offers teeny-tiny cat-faced microwaves, rice cookers, toasters, and more.
Nyanko Onigiri (にゃんこおにぎり)
Having proved their thesis that cute little kitty faces are the perfect complement to tiny plastic food, Capsule Collection get specific with these cat-themed onigiri straps. Swap around the cases to get exactly the onigiri you want.
Shiba Inu Collection
Shiba Inu Collection (柴犬)
The Shiba Inu, a perennial puppy favorite, is a frequent headliner in Capsule Collection releases. The Shiba Inu Collection perfectly captures the breeds adorable face and playful nature.
Shiba at Play
Shiba at Play (しばあそび)
Speaking of playful! The Shiba at Play, or Shiba-asobi, collection shows some seriously adorable pups getting real about playtime – enjoying Japanese toy and game favorites go, karuta, and kendama.
When the cat’s away the dogs will…do their job? These Shiba Inu cuties take on the fortune-bringing duties of the maneki neko, ensuring the lucky cats can get their well-earned rest.
Chow time! This series captures that essential time in every dog’s day: wanting food, eating your food – and immediately wanting more.
Puppies in Peril
Puppies in Peril (困った犬)
These little darlings have put themselves in a spot of trouble – they’ve climbed too high and can’t get down! The Puppies in Peril, or Komatta Inu, collection perfectly captures the moment in six different bottle cap covers. No puppies were harmed in the making of these toys!
Waiting for Walkies
Waiting for Walkies (犬と犬小屋)
These sweet doggies are patiently waiting for any energetic dog’s daily highlight – walk time! Their anticipation is captured so perfectly, you’ll want to take them outside right away!
Mocchiri Usagi (もっちりうさぎ)
In Epoch’s signature Mocchiri series, cute little critters blend seamlessly into their new surroundings – taking the part of mochi rice cakes in traditional Japanese dishes! The Mocchiri Usagi collection pairs tiny bunnies perfectly with their delicious new homes.
Mochitsuki Usagi (もちつきうさぎ)
In Japanese folklore, the shadows you can see on a full moon take the shape of two rabbits pounding rice to make mochi rice cakes. This cute capsule toy series shows a whole host of bunnies making mochi and enjoying the fruit of their labors.
Usagi Confectioner (うさぎ洋菓子本舗)
Bunnies have proved themselves to be incredibly well matched with traditional Japanese delicacies – but what about treats from the rest of the world? Turns out they blend in just as well in a high-end cake shop, as shown in the Usagi Confectioner collection.
Cafe de Ham
Cafe de Ham (Cafe de ハム)
Bunnies aren’t the only animal to get an added dimension of cuteness when combined with delectable delicacies – enter the mighty adorable hamster! In the long-running Cafe de Ham series, little hamsters adorn a range of cafe favorites.
Mocchiri Hamster (もっちりハムスター)
Like the bunnies before them, hamsters turn out to be perfect in a starring role as mochi in this food-themed collection. Whether wrapped in leaves or topping a mochi stack, these round little fluff-balls are almost unbearably cute.
Mocchiri Dim Sum Hamster
Mocchiri Dim Sum Hamster (もっちり飲茶ハムスター)
The adorable appeal of a mochi-fied hamster isn’t limited to Japanese cuisine – they look just as cute in a dim sum setting!
The Bananakeet! This delightful banana-parakeet hybrid is the very essence of Capsule Collection’s brand of offbeat creativity. Its life cycle had been a mystery until the recent Bananakeet: the Ripening collection, which shows exactly how a Bananakeet comes of age.
Parakeet Tea House
Parakeet Tea House (インコ茶房)
In signature Capsule Collection style, this series shows parakeets transformed into round little morsels perched alongside traditional Japanese tea-house fare. A taste of Japanese culinary tradition – and Japanese creativity.
A close relative of the Bananakeet, the Paracorn looks great raw but takes on a distinctly delicious appearance once you’ve applied some heat.
More Capsule Collection animals
Chinmari series (ちんまり)
The chinmari series features cuties from across the animal kingdom who just want to curl up around your finger. From teeny hamsters and foxes to just as teeny dolphins and sharks, there’s a chinmari critter for every taste.
Ketsu series (ケツ)
Sometimes, all you want is to gaze meditatively at a fluffy (or spiky) little animal butt. These curious critters have made their way into a range of items, leaving only their tiny behinds visible. But don’t worry – once you’re done contemplating cute cabooses, you can turn them around to display their equally adorable faces.
Yubinori series (指のり)
The Yubinori series of animal figures fulfills your cartoon princess dreams of birds and woodland creatures perching gently on one of your fingers. All the figures can be detached from the clear ring base for display.
Sylvanian Families (シルバニアファミリー カプセルコレクション)
Capsule Collection manufacturer Epoch is also behind the worldwide hit toy series Sylvanian Families/Calico Critters, which means their capsule toy lineup includes Japan-exclusive Sylvanian Families items, both original collections of smaller animals and scenes, and extra items for existing playsets.