Posted: 10/9/2023 | October
I like Japan. It’s certainly one of my favourite international locations on the planet. However is it an acceptable vacation spot to go to with a child? Solo feminine journey professional Kristin Addis from Be My Travel Muse was not too long ago there together with her child and has tons of suggestions and recommendation for vacationers considering of taking a child with them to Japan.
Japan was our first main worldwide journey with our then six-month-old. I’d heard blended issues about how child pleasant Japan could be, from DMs telling me it wouldn’t be an incredible journey to the full reverse with individuals gushing about how child pleasant it was.
We determined to go for it, hitting 4 spots in two weeks, taking public transportation and staying in a mixture of flats and inns. Touring with a child in Japan comes with some particular concerns, however total, it may be an incredible journey IF you propose it proper. Right here’s all the pieces to know:
Japan Child and Toddler Friendliness
With just a few unusual exceptions, like the dearth of cribs, Japan is without doubt one of the most child and family-friendly locations I’ve been. It began once we have been personally escorted to the plane by a Japan Airways gate agent when boarding our flight to Osaka. They even provided me a spot to sit down with the newborn whereas I waited. It felt like top quality therapy.
Every time we encountered an airport queue in Japan, whether or not it was for safety or boarding, they at all times had a household line, which is unfortunately lacking from each US airport I’ve encountered.
There are household restrooms in all places as effectively, and I actually imply in all places. Even the smallest metro and prepare stations had them, and I by no means encountered one which wasn’t glowing clear. Folks revered that they have been solely meant for these with disabilities and younger kids, as effectively. I by no means needed to wait to make use of one and by no means noticed an able-bodied single individual stroll out of them, which I see on a regular basis within the US.
The loos are additionally filled with helpful objects like a child holder, which I’ve solely in any other case seen in Singapore, altering tables, and padded benches for nursing. I’ve actually by no means seen a household rest room as outfitted as those in Japan.
The locals additionally LOVED our child. In every single place we went, individuals would play peek a boo with him, smile at him, and lightweight up after they noticed him. We felt very welcome in all places we went with him.
Getting Round Japan with a Child
Usually, planning fewer issues is simpler than a packed itinerary when touring with a child anyplace on the planet. That is very true for Japan the place you’re most definitely taking a mixture of trains and buses across the nation. The extra distant you’re going, the extra connections you’re more likely to have as effectively.
Though they’re costlier, we tended to prefer train travel to bus travel in Japan in order that we might make use of the altering tables on the trains. They have been extra spacious, and the buses not often had a spot to alter diapers.
Should you’re touring throughout excessive season, you should definitely ebook prepare tickets forward of time and reserve seats to keep away from having to face together with your child.
Alternatively, take into account renting a car to get round. They are often dear, and when you’re North American you’ll be driving on the other aspect of the highway, however it additionally provides you final flexibility.
Packing Gentle is Sensible for Japan
Should you’ll be taking the Japan Rail and/or metro to get round, you’ll wish to pack as gentle as potential. Realistically, solely what you and whoever you’re touring with can carry goes to work. This appears to be the most important challenge for households touring in Japan. They pack an excessive amount of and it impacts their journey enjoyment.
We opted to go away the stroller at dwelling and simply journey with a soft baby carrier. Whereas a stroller could be useful at instances, Japan has a whole lot of stairs and a few metro stations, even in Tokyo, don’t have elevators. We at all times discovered them at JR stations, although.
I’ve blended emotions about this choice as we have been aching by the tip of the journey. If I have been to do it with a toddler or older child I’d most likely go for a hiking baby carrier as a substitute. It distributes weight higher and is a extra comfy expertise, plus they’ve cupboard space. Simply needless to say they’re cumbersome and also you’ll most definitely have to take away it when utilizing public transport.
Should you completely must carry greater than you may bodily carry, there are luggage forwarding services in Japan that may assist transport your baggage from lodge to lodge for you.
Renting Child Gear in Japan
Since our child was a bit youthful and never but cellular once we visited Japan, we felt OK with not having a devoted sleeping area and using the ground beds as a substitute. Nevertheless now that he’s older, he wants a devoted sleeping area and ideally a stroller. If we have been to go to now, I’d make the most of rental providers to maintain our suitcases gentle and nonetheless have entry to the objects we want for security and luxury.
It’s potential to rent strollers in various cities in Japan, relying on how distant you’re going. You may as well rent other baby gear in some components of Japan, notably within the extra main cities.
Shopping for Child Necessities in Japan
One solution to pack lighter is to plan to purchase child necessities in Japan. It’s simple to seek out diapers, formulation, and child meals if you recognize the place to look.
Should you’re doing baby-led weaning, which we have been on the time, you may store at any Japanese grocery store for fruit and veggies.
It was truly a deal with to go to the grocery shops there since they’d virtually solely totally different snacks and types than I’ve seen elsewhere. The produce was additionally method higher, because it was principally domestically grown. Even within the winter, we have been consuming completely ripe, locally-grown strawberries.
Should you want diapers, child meals, or formulation, you received’t discover them at a grocery retailer. These things are on the market in drug shops solely. Matsumoto Kiyoshi (with brown lettering) is the one we got here throughout essentially the most usually.
Diapers have been simple to purchase. They may have the load clearly displayed in kilograms. Jarred child meals and formulation have been in the identical part of the shop. Should you want a specialised (non-cow) formulation, that could be tougher to seek out. Since we did for my child, we introduced sufficient with us from dwelling for the entire journey.
Obtain the Google translate app so to maintain your cellphone digicam as much as the Japanese Kanji and browse what the elements and child meals flavors are. Don’t anticipate to see English translations in shops.
Selecting The place to Keep in Japan with a Child
We did a mixture of inns and flats in Japan they usually each had their advantages.
Until you’re keen to pay up a bit extra, particularly in Tokyo, you may anticipate lodge rooms to be on the smaller aspect. Nevertheless they have a tendency to incorporate breakfast, which makes life simpler for fogeys with younger kids.
Flats, which you’ll be able to ebook on Airbnb, often have two flooring and a kitchen. The kitchen was useful for meals prepping for the newborn, and the 2 we stayed in had microwaves. I journey with microwave steam luggage to sanitize our bottles, so this was a pleasant shock.
The 2 flooring additionally gave us a spot to hang around whereas he took his naps. House leases are virtually at all times bigger, and in my expertise, extra reasonably priced than lodge rooms could be. Typically they’ve washers and dryers as effectively.
Sizzling water kettles are a pleasant function whether or not you’re in an condo or lodge room. They appear to be the usual in Japan, which makes sanitizing, washing, and heating water for formulation simpler. Faucet water in Japan is usually secure to drink and wash with.
Child Sleep in Japan
Essentially the most bewildering and disappointing factor about touring in Japan with our child was the dearth of cribs. Even within the 5-star ryokan we stayed at in Kawaguchiko, there was no child crib on provide. It made me marvel what locals do. Do they convey their very own? Do they co-sleep?
In half of the locations we stayed, the beds have been traditional-style mattresses on the ground, so it was fantastic for our child to sleep on the ground mattresses, nonetheless now that he’s extra cellular, I’d wish to carry alongside our journey mattress.
Feeding and Meals in Japan
One of many adverse issues I heard was that we’d be turned away from eating places in Japan with our child. Whereas I’m certain it occurs, I didn’t encounter this, even at kaiseki (which is the best degree of eating in Japan) eating places. Typically they even had toys they’d carry out for our son.
We have been informed that the lounge within the lodge we stayed at in Tokyo wouldn’t be accessible to the newborn within the evenings when alcohol was served, nonetheless. Some eating places, together with the Michelin star ones you may be hoping to eat at, might maintain the identical coverage. There are some eating places in Japan which might be particularly geared in the direction of households. The most typical you’ll discover are Bikkuri Donkey, Joyfull, and Gusto.
Most eating places in Japan can have excessive chairs, however when at extra informal ramen or yakitori eating places, you’re much less more likely to come throughout them.
Should you’re nursing, my sense in Japan was that it’s greatest performed in non-public. I by no means noticed anybody overtly nursing in Japan, although I noticed loads of bottle feeding. The household restrooms are most likely your greatest wager for a cushty and personal expertise. I noticed a nursing pod (somewhat room that provides nursing privateness, just like the Mamava pods at US airports) at just a few main prepare stations in Japan as effectively.
Medical Companies in Japan
As a guardian, I’m extra involved with the provision of healthcare providers than I ever was earlier than touring with a child. Fortunately Japan has a beautiful medical system with completely succesful docs.
I do know this firsthand as I wanted to go to a health care provider in Kyoto when my bronchial asthma flared up. I used to be capable of go to a global physician at a clinic that providers foreigners the identical day. The entire remedy the physician prescribed was accessible there as effectively. Generally they’ll desire a money cost which you’ll be able to then undergo your travel insurance for reimbursement.
In non-emergency conditions, search for a health care provider that makes a speciality of worldwide sufferers as there could be language limitations. I used to be capable of finding mine simply on Google Maps. In any other case, hospitals are broadly accessible, even in smaller cities.
Total, I cherished touring in Japan with our child. The clear household loos supplied a simple place to alter him, feeding and shopping for provides have been simple, and getting round was easy with such a well-connected rail system.
I used to be apprehensive with so many stops and logistics that it may be a nightmare, however all the pieces is so well-organized in Japan, all of it labored out. Plus, the lovable interactions between our son and the locals made it a heartwarming expertise.
Kristin Addis is a solo feminine journey professional who conjures up ladies to journey the world in an genuine and adventurous method. A former funding banker who offered all of her belongings in 2012, Kristin has been touring the world ever since. Yow will discover extra of her musings at Be My Travel Muse or on Instagram and Facebook.
E book Your Journey to Japan: Logistical Ideas and Methods
E book Your Flight
Discover a low cost flight by utilizing Skyscanner. They’re my favourite search engine as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe, so that you at all times know no stone is left unturned!
E book Your Lodging
You possibly can ebook your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve essentially the most complete stock so they’re greatest for reserving a hostel. If you wish to keep in a lodge or guesthouse in Japan, use Booking.com because it persistently returns the most affordable charges for guesthouses and inns.
Don’t Overlook Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will defend you towards sickness, harm, theft, and cancelations. It’s complete safety in case something goes flawed. I by no means go on a visit with out it, as I’ve had to make use of it many instances prior to now. My favourite firms that supply the most effective service and worth are:
On the lookout for the Greatest Corporations to Save Cash With?
Try my resource page for the most effective firms to make use of if you journey! I checklist all those I take advantage of to save cash once I journey — and I feel they’ll make it easier to too!
Be sure you take a look at the Japan Rail Pass when you’ll be touring across the nation. It is available in 7-, 14-, and 21-day passes and might prevent a ton of cash!
On the lookout for Extra Journey Ideas for Japan?
Try my in-depth Japan travel guide for extra methods to save cash; data on prices; tips about what to see and do; advised itineraries, studying, and packing lists; and far, rather more!