japanese paper beach balls

by Grace Bonney

Please allow me to introduce my newest obsession, Japanese paper beach balls. When I was in San Francisco two weeks ago, I made my regular pilgrimage to the General Store in the Sunset. As always, the shop was expertly curated with the perfect mix of periodicals, home goods, jewelry and vintage goods. There are always unexpected bits here and there, and on this trip, I brought home these amazing inflatable paper “balloons” that look like beach balls. Serena, the shop owner, recently returned from a trip to Japan where she found these adorable paper toys. I wanted to buy at least a dozen, but the rational voice in my head said to stop at three. I now regret not buying more, but thankfully it looks like you can order them online from art supply shops. How adorable would these look turned into a mobile for a child’s room? I can’t think of a grown-up way to use them at home, but I brought them over to Amy’s house yesterday to make her inflate one on camera. They’re so fun. Click here to check them out online, and if you’re in the SF area you can grab them by the front door at the General Store. xo, grace

They’re cat approved!

Suggested For You


  • It’s Asian rather than Japanese and all or most kids play with them. They’ve been around since I was a little girl, 50 years ago, and probably before that too!

    • Helen – Wow! So great that you remember these from your childhood. However, these particular toys were found in Japan. :) -Amy

  • My kids got a similar version inside their Kinder Surprise egg… theirs had a tail and a fin, making it a kind of blow fish… very clever…

  • Just seeing that picture brought back memories of playing with these as child. My parents became friends with a lovely woman from Japan, who was living in Michigan for graduate school and whenever she would return from being home she would bring my brothers and me the most wonderful and amazing toys!

  • pearl river sells paper balls and animals. thats where i first discovered them, years ago. i have a growing collection. i want to hang all of them on my ceiling, one day.

  • It’s called kamifusen , and if you google it you will find there is a lot of fun models, and even more fun ways to use than as decor. I myself found some flowery ones I hanged in front of my studio window : it’s cute and cheerful!

  • They come in the shape of pudgy little penguins and fat little Koi fish as well! I have them hanging from my ceiling!

  • I love it! As kids, my sister and I used to get these EVERY year in our Christmas stockings. They always brought so much joy! And until you pop them, they pretty much last forever. I have a few hanging in my closet for some color ;)

  • Love these. We have always given them in Christmas stockings for the children (and now grandchildren). Teaches them to play ball gently and quietly, and the balls won’t knock over the lights.

Leave a Reply

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, that comment on people's physical appearance, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.