If you’re in search of some Japanese keycaps then you’ve come to the right place.
Manufactured primarily for decorative purposes, keycaps featuring hiragana sub legends have become increasingly popular among keyboard enthusiasts.
Fortunately, there’s a large selection to choose from, including both traditional and modern designs.
In this post, we will take a look at the best Japanese keycap sets on the market right now.
What are the best Japanese Keycaps?
15. Puku PBT Keycaps
This keyset from Puka has a retro aesthetic with a modern and elegant take. As you can see, all the keys are green, white, and maroon with white legends – and red sub legends throughout. For even more customization, the set includes some additional Japanese icons and symbols.
As for the overall quality, these keycaps are somewhere in the middle of the pack. The molding is grippy, wobble-free, and with only a hint of rough trim on the bottom edges. Moreover, due to being made of thick PBT thermoplastic, they do a great job of absorbing any unwanted sounds.
In terms of compatibility, the Puka caps are suitable for Cherry MX’s, Kailhs, or any other switch type with a cross-shaped shaft. Apart from that, you will need to make sure your keyboard has a 6.25u spacebar. If you do and you like the color scheme, then why not give these budget keycaps a try.
14. Sumgsn – Black and White
This Sumgsn keycap set takes a modern twist on the traditional black-and-white layout. The dark black keys contrast against the bright white keys to make the layout pop. Then, to really dress things up, it comes with a handful of gold keys sprinkled throughout.
Made out of durable PBT, every one of these keycaps is of top quality. The material is strong and resistant to wear and tear. That helps to prolong the keyboard’s appearance even years down the line. As for the keys themselves, they are soft, quiet, and have great tactile feedback, too.
The QWERTY keycaps (as well as a decent amount of the function and home keys) have Japanese sub legends. Unlike many of the other sets on this list, the legends and sub legends share the same color. Nevertheless, they are still legible and look lovely and clean.
13. Hyekit Blue Hell Keycaps
This Japanese keycap set by Hyekit is swimming in personality. The majority of the keys are a deep, rich indigo, which stands out in a sea of black-and-white caps. A handful of the important keys (e.g. the esc, enter, etc.) are bright white with deep indigo legends – a reverse of the majority of the keys.
129 individual keycaps are included in this set. They work with ANSI layouts and are compatible with most MX switches for mechanical keyboards, too. The material is high-quality PBT. Covering this is an anti-grease coating that guarantees your fingers won’t slide across the surface during fast use.
In terms of ergonomics, we found that these caps were lovely and pleasant to type on. Crafted with soft and pronounced finger grooves, they’re not too deep to navigate. Furthermore, the legends are bright and brilliant. Printed with dye-sublimated technology, they’re sure to stand the test of time.
12. IDOBAO Black Sakura Keycaps
This Sakura keycap set takes inspiration from the famous cherry blossoms in Tokyo during sunset. As you can see, all of the keys are jet black in color with contrasting white legends. Smaller teal-colored Japanese sub legends (that represent the flowers) then add a splash of color.
Unlike many other keysets on this list, these keycaps have a DSA profile. DSA keycaps are low-profile and feature a non-sculpted, uniform profile. As a result, they are best suited for keyboards that sit completely flat on the ground or with a very slight typing angle.
Constructed from high-quality PBT plastic, each of these keycaps measure 1.45mm thick. That gives them the strength and resilience you’re not going to find with thinner keycaps. The printing technique is also dye-sublimation so they should stick around for a while.
11. SDYZ Taoism Keycaps
Celebrating ancient Taoism becomes incredibly simple with these Japanese root keycaps. The keys themselves are available in a multitude of symbolic colors, including white, orange, and deep blue. This gives the keyboard layout a unique look that’s different from anything else out there.
Made of high-grade PBT with extra-thick walls, the quality is surprising for the price. In particular, the matte texture feels extremely smooth and they produce a lovely, deep sound. The XDA profile is another big plus, having a slightly wider surface area to rest your fingers on when gaming.
In contrast to the majority of keycap sets on this list, the Japanese characters get priority placement. As a result, the English characters locate discretely in the lower right-hand corner. While this does make them a bit difficult to read, it shouldn’t worry experienced typists.
10. Tokey Shiba Inu Keycap Set
This 139 key, Tokey set comes in two cute colors, perfect for those who want to add some beauty to their keyboard. They have a short XDA uniform profile and work with cross-shaped MX-style stems and clones. As a result, compatibility issues won’t be a problem here.
Made out of 1.5mm PBT, every one of these Japanese keycaps is nice and stocky. The quality control is impressive too, there’s no warping and the dye-sublimated legends look clean. Unfortunately, due to being dye-sub, they do prevent any LED backlighting from shining through.
The feel and responsiveness of these keycaps is also fantastic. In particular, the texture is nice and rough, which is great for speed and accuracy. With these caps on your board, you’ll be skipping around from key to key while flaunting a custom look in no time.
9. SDYZ Japanese Keycaps
SDYZ have brought you one of the cleanest keycap sets on the market today. The color scheme is classic white and black minimalism but with a real authentic Japanese look. Those searching for pure white keycaps in particular will especially have their eyes on this set.
Made out of high-quality polybutylene, these XDA profile caps are 1.4mm thick. The keycaps themselves feel soft, slick, and free from any divots or scratchiness. As a result, you can expect a certain accuracy and responsiveness that generates faster typing.
Despite having an bold font, the whole QWERTY layout is still very easy to read. This is thanks to the pronounced, deep black sublimated legends. Furthermore, besides the standard keys, a nice bonus is that the set includes a handful of additional modifiers with cute pet-themed symbol graphics.
8. Lesix Blossom Japanese Keycap Set
This Japanese keycap set by Lesix has a bit of a color explosion. Printed by a dye-sublimation process, the blossom design and legends embed right into the keycaps themselves. This provides plenty of resilience and longevity for a guaranteed service life of ten years.
As for the texture, these 1.3mm keycaps have quite a grainy feel. The almost pebbled matt surface prevents the buildup of oils and helps fingerprinting problems disappear, too. Due to this, your fingers won’t ever slide off the caps again as they might with smoother options.
With this set, you get 110 keys. That makes it suitable for keyboards of virtually all sizes. Out of the total amount, six of the keycaps have graphic designs instead of traditional hiragana characters. This is a welcome touch as means you’ll have some extras to replace any of the conventional caps.
7. Heayzoki Cartoon Pattern
If you are shooting for a “monster mash” kind of aesthetic, these are the Japanese keycaps for you. The green, purple, and crimson colorway is totally unique. This makes them a lot different than some of the other options out there – in a good way, though. Your keyboard is going to stand out.
This keycap set includes 127 individual keys. All of the keycaps have printed sublimated legends, which is pretty standard for the mechanical keyboard keycap world. With this method, you can get some resilient designs that aren’t going to fall apart later down the line.
As for the actual graphics, they are kind of “spooky”, too. That really goes with the theme. Some keys have the radioactive symbol, some have ghostly smiles, and the whole set just sort of looks malevolent. There’s even a custom DIE keycap included for your escape key!
6. Radrab – Japanese Anime Keycaps
This Japanese Keycap set by RadRab comes in a gorgeous white and purple color scheme. Taking inspiration from Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World, it features fabulous illustrations of the main heroine “Emilia” as part of the super cute anime design.
The keys themselves are PBT and suitable for ANSI mechanical keyboards. You’ll be glad to know that the profile is Cherry, which is slightly lower than OEM. As for the legends, these use a dye-sub technique with a frosted finish to offer resistance to wear (and stains) over time.
Equipped with 141-keycaps, the set includes a generous amount of additional keys. Besides the typical 6.25u spacebar and 2.25u enter key, three more of varying sizes come as extras in the pack. We also love the spare novelty function keys that have custom Emilia emotes.
5. MOLGRIA Botanical Keycaps
Nature lovers are going to adore this marine-botanical kit from Molgria. Comprised of three fresh colors; pale turquoise, dark blue, and pure white, they’re sure to draw your attention. We can say the same about the printed novelty keys that feature a fun assortment of plant designs.
Made from PBT materials with an anti-grease coating, each of the keys offer first-class durability. The matte texture guarantees a sweat-free surface, improving accuracy and typing speed across the board. Moreover, thanks to the 1.4mm thickness, they produce a lovely, deep-sounding thud.
In terms of compatibility, these keycaps not only work with Cherry MX-style switches but most other mechanical switches as well. You’ll get 137 keycaps in the pack including 33 supplement keys for replacements. That should cover most full-size keyboards from a variety of manufactures.
4. RadRab – Sushi Keycaps
This Japanese Sushi set from RadRab looks good enough to eat! It includes 129 keys, which is more than enough to cover full-size keyboards with no trouble at all. We particularly like the extra 1u novelty keys that feature traditional sushi rolls such as Maguro, Kappamaki, and Sake.
Printed using a dye-sub infusion process (and then finished in a clear coat), these keycaps do an excellent job of preserving the wonderful graphics. The clear coat not only provides extra protection to the characters and designs but also adds a little bit of a tactile texture for extra grip.
Although the legends have two very different languages, this keyset totally pulls it off. The spacing between the characters is perfect, and the teal and maroon colors go together beautifully. One downside though, is that after staring at this set all day – it might bring upon quite an appetite!
3. Akko World Tour Tokyo R2
The Akko World Tour Tokyo is an instantly recognizable pink and white keycap set. Designed to render Japanese worldview, popular culture, and natural landscapes, it provides an evocative image of living in Tokyo while enhancing the quality of your keyboard in the process.
Crafted out of 1.4mm PBT, these caps have additional weight and durability. Furthermore, due to the dye-sub infusion process, the legends will experience a lot less wear and tear. Whether you are buying these Japanese keycaps for yourself or as a gift, you won’t be disappointed with the quality.
2. Epomaker Akko Bow Keycaps
Enthusiasts seeking premium keycaps at a decent price-point will love this Japanese set by Akko. Straight away, you will be impressed with the quality, along with the plastic folding tray packaging. The keycaps themselves are white and black and have a large, super clean font.
Unlike the majority of OEM keycaps on this list, these Bow caps have an ASA profile. Sculpted and contoured with a high profile, they cradle your fingertips ergonomically while feeling velvety to touch. This results in a comfortable typing experience with far less fatigue after hours of use.
In terms of quality, these keycaps are sure to surpass your expectations. The edges are straight, there are no signs of warping, and the font is consistent/ defined. Moreover, the grainy texture is soft yet grippy, which is just about perfect in every regard.
1. Drop + Redsuns GMK Red Samurai
Drops GMK Redsuns are some of the most desirable Japanese keycaps on the market right now. Inspired by the samurai warriors’ armor, they feature a fierce combination of red base keys and dark gray modifiers with golden legends. Supporting them are golden accent keys for even greater style.
Despite being crafted from ABS plastic, these keys are tough, real tough. Thickness measures 1.5 mm, which is just about as thick as you can get for a pair of stock caps. As a result, they deliver a premium typing experience with a lovely, deep-sounding thocc.
Manufactured primarily as an aftermarket set for the Drop ALT, CTRL, and SHIFT, the set comes kitted out specifically for these boards. Due to containing 153-keys (Including extra novelty keys), it’s also compatible with most other full-size keyboard layouts, as well.
Overall, if you can afford the steep price tag, there’s no going wrong with this gorgeous set of caps!
Click here for the GMK Bluesuns!
Are Japanese Keycaps Worth It?
Japanese keycaps featuring Hiragana legends or sub legends are worth it for primarily their decorative appeal. Even if you can type in Japanese, these keycaps exist more so to highlight the interest in Eastern culture and tie in the theme of other pieces on your desk.
While you can use Japanese keycaps to aid in Kana input, this is the least common reason for their use. If you’re looking for a practical way to type Japanese, it’s easier to use Romaji input. Japanese keycaps are not worth the investment for this purpose on their own.
Instead, the bulk of the worth of Japanese keycaps rests in their visual appeal. Most users appreciate the Hiragana legends or sub legends on the keycaps, although others consider the dual-legend approach to appear crowded.
Japanese keycaps work as a form of art, and many come in styles that appreciate other aspects of Japanese culture. They work well with a variety of setups and follow different themes, and those with Eastern influence in their decor are likely to appreciate the Japanese-inspired keycap sets.
Overall, if you want to tap into their aesthetic, then Japanese keycaps are worth it but otherwise, they serve little functional purpose. Enthusiasts commonly use them as a bridge between customizing their desk space and Japanese culture.
How to Choose the Best Japanese Keycaps
While you want Japanese keycaps that look great, you should go beyond appearance when choosing the right set for your space. Consider build quality along with a visual appeal to choose the best Japanese keycaps.
Japanese keycaps come in a variety of design options, ranging from minimalist sets that only incorporate the hiragana sub legend to full-scale art pieces that tie into Japanese culture. Some examples of this include the Lesix Blossom Japanese Keycap Set or the Tokey Shiba Inu Keycaps.
Simply pick a design scheme and color set that works for you.
The most common materials you see for keycaps are PBT and ABS.
PBT offers better resistance to heat and wear so you experience less fading and shine. Additionally, PBT keycaps provide more tactile feedback, which makes them sound deeper.
ABS keys are the most common material, but they are more sensitive to heat and friction. These keys get shiny with use, and this leads to an inconsistent appearance. They sound softer when typing and offer more vibrant color options.
Keycap profile refers to the overall shape of the keys. The most common profiles are OEM, Cherry, and XDA.
OEM keys are the mass-produced version. They have an angled top, and most people are already used to these types of keys.
Keycaps with a Cherry profile are shorter and specially sculpted for efficient and comfortable use. This profile is popular with gamers.
XDA keys come at a medium height and have a spherical top. They sound with a lower pitch than other profiles, and some prefer them for the uniform appearance and feel.
Most users prefer the sound of thicker keycaps to thinner ones. They sound deeper when typing, and keyboard enthusiasts will get more joy out of typing on thick keys as opposed to thin keys.
Thicker keys are still more durable if you don’t care about the sound.
Most Japanese keycaps highlight English letters with a hiragana sub legend, but you can find a few sets where this is swapped.
If you’re comfortable with key positions and want to go all out, there are Japanese keycaps that only have hiragana.
Dye Sub or Double Shot
Consider how you want your legends printed onto your keys.
Dye sublimation prints directly onto the keycaps and may not look as sharp. If you have a backlit keyboard, the light will not show through the legend.
Double shot keycaps use injection molding to insert the legend. The two layers of plastic increase durability and you don’t need to worry about fading.
Keyboard Size/ Layout
Like any other keycap set, you want to find Japanese keycaps that match your keyboard size and layout.
Ensure you have enough keys to match the size of your keyboard and that the keys are the right size. The latter is especially important for compact layouts.
The durability of your Japanese keycaps is a combination of factors, primarily the materials used and the process for printing the legend.
Most keycaps offer decent durability, but opting for more durable materials preserves the appearance of your Japanese keycaps for a longer time.
We hope you found a Japanese keycap set on this list.
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