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little kokeshi birthday party ideas

Konnichiwa friends! Inspired by her family’s time living in Japan, Tali Burress of A Party Studio dreamed up this sweet & colorful Little Kokeshi Birthday Party for her daughter, who absolutely loves the Kokeshi dolls and all things Japan! Tali did a great job of incorporating traditional elements of Japanese culture AND giving them a playful twist – like rainbow candy (and pinwheel sandwiches) made to look like sushi! P.S. For even more Kokeshi party inspiration, check out this Kokeshi Kimmidoll party that we featured a while back.

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

  • Colorful paper crane origami, paper pinwheel decorated drinks table & screen fan party favors
  • Make-your-own rainbow candy sushi, chocolate pocky, rainbow popcorn & chocolate covered cherry brownies
  • Little wooden Kokeshi Dolls throughout + colorful hanging lanterns & a Japanese screen backdrop
  • ‘I Heart Japan’ party printables, Kokeshi doll face stickers + Japanese parasols & kid’s chopsticks

girly kokeshi birthday party welcome sign

candy sushi party

candy rainbow sushi

japanese party parasols and drinks station

japan doll party decor and bottle wraps

kokeshi doll party printables

customized chocolate bar wraps

paper crane party decor

kid's japanese candy sushi table

rainbow popcorn and chocolate pocky sticks

chocolate strawberry and cherry tower

kimmidoll birthday party


PARTY DETAILS as told by Tali

For my daughter’s 6th birthday party, we decided to do a Little Kokeshi theme. She was born in Japan and is fascinated with anything Japanese. When we lived there, I’d brought her some Kokeshi dolls and she absolutely loves these beautiful wooden dolls that have become a representation of the traditional folk arts of Japan.

I wanted her party to be very colorful so I used plenty of color in the printables and I included traditional Japanese prints. The girls at the party loved learning about the Japanese country and culture and I tried to incorporate the learning experience into all aspects of the party.

For the dessert table, I displayed fresh raspberries and angel food cake to look like the Japanese flag. I also put out strawberry and chocolate Poky sticks. These were my favorite treats when we lived in Japan. Of course, we had cupcakes with personalized labels, Hershey kisses, and chocolate bars with personalized wrappers. The table was decorated with little Kokeshi dolls, origami cranes and flowers. Our apartment in Japan had a beautiful tatami room, which I used for inspiration. I used beach mats instead of a tablecloth to achieve the tatami look.

For food, I served traditional Japanese udon noodle salad and Japanese-style meatballs. I also put out spicy wasabi peas for the adults to nibble on. I made extra wide pinwheel sandwiches to look like sushi rolls and also served open face boursin and cucumber sandwiches. I cut cucumber into little sakura (cherry blossom) shapes using a fondant cutter. I talked to the girls about Japanese food and they loved making candy sushi and using special children’s chopstick that I got from Japan. These chopsticks have a finger ring to help them master the sticks.

Afterward they ate, the girls got to color in Kokeshi dolls and then have their individual photograph taken in front of a rice screen by Danielle of All Things Great and Small Photography. They absolutely loved the parasols and fan photo props.

For the favor bags, I used plain white paper bags that I decorated with thick grosgrain ribbon and a hang tags. Inside, I included chopsticks, origami stars and cranes, their coloring pages, a fan, and an assortment of Japanese candies.

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