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 Journey Muse was just lately there together with her child and has tons of ideas 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 can be, from DMs telling me it wouldn’t be a terrific journey to the entire 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 resorts. Touring with a child in Japan comes with some particular issues, however total, it may be a terrific journey IF you intend it proper. Right here’s every thing to know:
Japan Child and Toddler Friendliness
With a couple of unusual exceptions, like the shortage of cribs, Japan is among 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 supplied me a spot to take a seat with the infant whereas I waited. It felt like top notch therapy.
Every time we encountered an airport queue in Japan, whether or not it was for safety or boarding, they all the time 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. Individuals revered that they have been solely meant for these with disabilities and younger youngsters, as effectively. I by no means needed to wait to make use of one and by no means noticed an able-bodied single particular person stroll out of them, which I see on a regular basis within the US.
The bogs are additionally filled with helpful gadgets like a child holder, which I’ve solely in any other case seen in Singapore, altering tables, and padded benches for nursing. I’ve really 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
Typically, planning fewer issues is less complicated than a packed itinerary when touring with a child wherever 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 dearer, we tended to favor prepare journey to bus journey in Japan in order that we may 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.
For those who’re touring throughout excessive season, make sure you guide prepare tickets forward of time and reserve seats to keep away from having to face together with your child.
Alternatively, think about renting a automotive to get round. They are often expensive, and in the event you’re North American you’ll be driving on the alternative aspect of the highway, but it surely additionally offers you final flexibility.
Packing Mild is Sensible for Japan
For those who’ll be taking the Japan Rail and/or metro to get round, you’ll need to pack as mild as doable. Realistically, solely what you and whoever you’re touring with can carry goes to work. This appears to be the largest situation 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 residence and simply journey with a comfortable child provider. Whereas a stroller could be useful at instances, Japan has plenty of stairs and a few metro stations, even in Tokyo, don’t have elevators. We all the time discovered them at JR stations, although.
I’ve blended emotions about this choice as we have been aching by the top of the journey. If I have been to do it with a toddler or older child I’d most likely go for a mountain climbing child provider as an alternative. It distributes weight higher and is a extra comfy expertise, plus they’ve cupboard space. Simply understand that they’re cumbersome and also you’ll most definitely have to take away it when utilizing public transport.
For those who completely need to convey greater than you possibly can bodily carry, there are baggage forwarding providers 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 cell once we visited Japan, we felt OK with not having a devoted sleeping area and using the ground beds as an alternative. Nonetheless 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 mild and nonetheless have entry to the gadgets we’d like for security and luxury.
It’s doable to lease strollers in varied cities in Japan, relying on how distant you’re going. You too can lease different child gear in some components of Japan, notably within the extra main cities.
Shopping for Child Necessities in Japan
One approach to pack lighter is to plan to purchase child necessities in Japan. It’s straightforward to seek out diapers, method, and child meals if you understand the place to look.
For those who’re doing baby-led weaning, which we have been on the time, you possibly can store at any Japanese grocery store for fruit and veggies.
It was really a deal with to go to the grocery shops there since that they had nearly fully totally different snacks and types than I’ve seen elsewhere. The produce was additionally method higher, because it was largely regionally grown. Even within the winter, we have been consuming completely ripe, locally-grown strawberries.
For those who want diapers, child meals, or method, 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 probably the most usually.
Diapers have been straightforward to purchase. They’ll have the load clearly displayed in kilograms. Jarred child meals and method have been in the identical part of the shop. For those who want a specialised (non-cow) method, that could be more durable to seek out. Since we did for my child, we introduced sufficient with us from residence for the entire journey.
Obtain the Google translate app as a way to maintain your telephone digicam as much as the Japanese Kanji and browse what the substances 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 resorts and flats in Japan they usually each had their advantages.
Except you’re prepared to pay up a bit extra, particularly in Tokyo, you possibly can anticipate lodge rooms to be on the smaller aspect. Nonetheless they have a tendency to incorporate breakfast, which makes life simpler for fogeys with younger youngsters.
Residences, which you’ll be able to guide on Airbnb, often have two flooring and a kitchen. The kitchen was useful for meals prepping for the infant, and the 2 we stayed in had microwaves. I journey with microwave steam baggage 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. Condo leases are nearly all the time bigger, and in my expertise, extra reasonably priced than lodge rooms could be. Generally they’ve washers and dryers as effectively.
Sizzling water kettles are a pleasant characteristic 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 method simpler. Faucet water in Japan is mostly 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 shortage of cribs. Even within the 5-star ryokan we stayed at in Kawaguchiko, there was no child crib on supply. It made me marvel what locals do. Do they carry 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 nice for our child to sleep on the ground mattresses, nevertheless now that he’s extra cell, I’d need to convey alongside our journey mattress.
Feeding and Meals in Japan
One of many damaging issues I heard was that we’d be turned away from eating places in Japan with our child. Whereas I’m positive it occurs, I didn’t encounter this, even at kaiseki (which is the very best degree of eating in Japan) eating places. Generally they even had toys they’d convey out for our son.
We have been instructed that the lounge within the lodge we stayed at in Tokyo wouldn’t be out there to the infant within the evenings when alcohol was served, nevertheless. Some eating places, together with the Michelin star ones you is likely to be hoping to eat at, may maintain the identical coverage. There are some eating places in Japan which can 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 could have excessive chairs, however when at extra informal ramen or yakitori eating places, you’re much less more likely to come throughout them.
For those who’re nursing, my sense in Japan was that it’s finest executed in non-public. I by no means noticed anybody brazenly nursing in Japan, although I noticed loads of bottle feeding. The household restrooms are most likely your finest wager for a cushty and personal expertise. I noticed a nursing pod (a bit of room that gives nursing privateness, just like the Mamava pods at US airports) at a couple of main prepare stations in Japan as effectively.
Medical Companies in Japan
As a dad or mum, I’m extra involved with the supply of healthcare providers than I ever was earlier than touring with a child. Fortunately Japan has a beautiful medical system with completely succesful medical doctors.
I do know this firsthand as I wanted to go to a physician in Kyoto when my bronchial asthma flared up. I used to be capable of go to a world physician at a clinic that providers foreigners the identical day. All the treatment the physician prescribed was out there there as effectively. Usually they’ll desire a money fee which you’ll be able to then undergo your journey insurance coverage for reimbursement.
In non-emergency conditions, search for a physician 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 extensively out there, even in smaller cities.
Total, I beloved touring in Japan with our child. The clear household bogs offered a simple place to alter him, feeding and shopping for provides have been straightforward, and getting round was easy with such a well-connected rail system.
I used to be fearful with so many stops and logistics that it is likely to be a nightmare, however every thing is so well-organized in Japan, all of it labored out. Plus, the lovely interactions between our son and the locals made it a heartwarming expertise.
Kristin Addis is a solo feminine journey professional who conjures up girls to journey the world in an genuine and adventurous method. A former funding banker who bought all of her belongings in 2012, Kristin has been touring the world ever since. You’ll find extra of her musings at Be My Journey Muse or on Instagram and Fb.
E-book Your Journey to Japan: Logistical Suggestions 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 all the time know no stone is left unturned!
E-book Your Lodging
You possibly can guide your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve probably the most complete stock so they’re finest for reserving a hostel. If you wish to keep in a lodge or guesthouse in Japan, use Reserving.com because it constantly returns the most affordable charges for guesthouses and resorts.
Don’t Neglect Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will shield 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 corporations that provide one of the best service and worth are:
Searching for the Greatest Firms to Save Cash With?
Take a look at my useful resource web page for one of the best corporations to make use of while you journey! I checklist all those I take advantage of to economize after I journey — and I feel they may show you how to too!
Remember to take a look at the Japan Rail Move in the event you’ll be touring across the nation. It is available in 7-, 14-, and 21-day passes and may prevent a ton of cash!
Searching for Extra Journey Suggestions for Japan?
Take a look at my in-depth Japan journey information for extra methods to economize; info on prices; recommendations on what to see and do; advised itineraries, studying, and packing lists; and far, rather more!