Posted: 10/9/2023 | October
I really like Japan. It’s one in every of my favourite nations on this planet. However is it an acceptable vacation spot to go to with a child? Solo feminine journey skilled Kristin Addis from Be My Travel Muse was not too long ago there along with her child and has tons of ideas and recommendation for vacationers pondering of taking a child with them to Japan.
Japan was our first main worldwide journey with our then six-month-old. I’d heard combined issues about how child pleasant Japan can be, from DMs telling me it wouldn’t be a terrific journey to the whole 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 issues, however total, it may be a terrific journey IF you propose it proper. Right here’s every thing to know:
Japan Child and Toddler Friendliness
With a number of unusual exceptions, like the shortage of cribs, Japan is likely one of the most child and family-friendly locations I’ve been. It began after we had 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 infant whereas I waited. It felt like first-class remedy.
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 all over the place as nicely, and I actually imply all over the place. 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 had been solely meant for these with disabilities and younger youngsters, as nicely. 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 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. All over the place we went, individuals would play peek a boo with him, smile at him, and light-weight up once they noticed him. We felt very welcome all over the place we went with him.
Getting Round Japan with a Child
Typically, planning fewer issues is simpler than a packed itinerary when touring with a child wherever on this planet. That is very true for Japan the place you’re more than likely taking a mixture of trains and buses across the nation. The extra distant you’re going, the extra connections you’re prone to have as nicely.
Though they’re dearer, we tended to favor prepare journey to bus journey in Japan in order that we might make use of the altering tables on the trains. They had been extra spacious, and the buses not often had a spot to alter diapers.
Should you’re touring throughout excessive season, remember to ebook prepare tickets forward of time and reserve seats to keep away from having to face together with your child.
Alternatively, think about renting a car to get round. They are often dear, and when you’re North American you’ll be driving on the alternative aspect of the highway, however it additionally provides you final flexibility.
Packing Mild 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 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 soft baby carrier. Whereas a stroller could be useful at instances, Japan has quite a 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 combined emotions about this resolution as we had been aching by the tip of the journey. If I had been to do it with a toddler or older child I’d most likely go for a hiking baby carrier as an alternative. It distributes weight higher and is a extra comfy expertise, plus they’ve cupboard space. Simply remember that they’re cumbersome and also you’ll more than likely have to take away it when utilizing public transport.
Should you completely should carry greater than you possibly can bodily carry, there are luggage forwarding services in Japan that may assist transport your baggage from resort to resort for you.
Renting Child Gear in Japan
Since our child was a bit youthful and never but cellular after we visited Japan, we felt OK with not having a devoted sleeping house and using the ground beds as an alternative. Nevertheless now that he’s older, he wants a devoted sleeping house and ideally a stroller. If we had been to go to now, I’d make the most of rental companies to maintain our suitcases gentle and nonetheless have entry to the gadgets we’d like for security and luxury.
It’s doable to rent strollers in various cities in Japan, relying on how distant you’re going. You can too rent other baby gear in some components of Japan, significantly 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 realize the place to look.
Should you’re doing baby-led weaning, which we had been on the time, you possibly can store at any Japanese grocery store for fruit and veggies.
It was truly a deal with to go to the grocery shops there since that they had virtually solely completely 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 had been consuming completely ripe, locally-grown strawberries.
Should you want diapers, child meals, or method, you gained’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 had been straightforward to purchase. They’ll have the burden clearly displayed in kilograms. Jarred child meals and method had been in the identical part of the shop. Should you 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 with the intention to maintain your cellphone digicam as much as the Japanese Kanji and browse what the elements and child meals flavors are. Don’t count on 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.
Except you’re prepared to pay up a bit extra, particularly in Tokyo, you possibly can count on resort rooms to be on the smaller aspect. Nevertheless they have an inclination to incorporate breakfast, which makes life simpler for folks with younger youngsters.
Flats, which you’ll ebook 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. Residence leases are virtually at all times bigger, and in my expertise, extra inexpensive than resort rooms could be. Generally they’ve washers and dryers as nicely.
Scorching water kettles are a pleasant function whether or not you’re in an house or resort 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 protected 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 provide. 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 had been traditional-style mattresses on the ground, so it was superb 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 very best stage of eating in Japan) eating places. Generally they even had toys they’d carry out for our son.
We had been informed that the lounge within the resort we stayed at in Tokyo wouldn’t be out there to the infant within the evenings when alcohol was served, nonetheless. Some eating places, together with the Michelin star ones you is likely to be hoping to eat at, might maintain the identical coverage. There are some eating places in Japan which are particularly geared in the direction of households. The commonest 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 prone to come throughout them.
Should you’re nursing, my sense in Japan was that it’s finest carried out in personal. 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 snug and personal expertise. I noticed a nursing pod (a bit of room that provides nursing privateness, much like the Mamava pods at US airports) at a number of main prepare stations in Japan as nicely.
Medical Providers in Japan
As a father or mother, I’m extra involved with the provision of healthcare companies than I ever was earlier than touring with a child. Fortunately Japan has an exquisite medical system with completely succesful docs.
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 global physician at a clinic that companies foreigners the identical day. The entire medicine the physician prescribed was out there there as nicely. Normally they’ll need a money fee which you’ll then undergo your travel insurance for reimbursement.
In non-emergency conditions, search for a physician that focuses on worldwide sufferers as there could be language boundaries. 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 cherished touring in Japan with our child. The clear household bogs offered a straightforward place to alter him, feeding and shopping for provides had been straightforward, and getting round was easy with such a well-connected rail system.
I used to be frightened 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 cute interactions between our son and the locals made it a heartwarming expertise.
Kristin Addis is a solo feminine journey skilled who evokes girls 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. You’ll find extra of her musings at Be My Travel Muse or on Instagram and Facebook.
Ebook Your Journey to Japan: Logistical Suggestions and Methods
Ebook Your Flight
Discover a low-cost flight through the use of 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!
Ebook Your Lodging
You’ll be able to ebook your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve essentially the most complete stock so they’re finest for reserving a hostel. If you wish to keep in a resort or guesthouse in Japan, use Booking.com because it persistently returns the most affordable charges for guesthouses and inns.
Don’t Neglect Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will shield you in opposition to 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 up to now. My favourite firms that supply one of the best service and worth are:
In search of the Finest Corporations to Save Cash With?
Take a look at my useful resource web page for one of the best firms to make use of once you journey! I listing all those I exploit to economize after I journey — and I believe they may enable you 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!
In search of Extra Journey Suggestions for Japan?
Take a look at my in-depth Japan journey information for extra methods to economize; data on prices; recommendations on what to see and do; urged itineraries, studying, and packing lists; and far, way more!