Posted: 10/9/2023 | October
I like Japan. It’s one in every of my favourite nations on the earth. However is it an acceptable vacation spot to go to with a child? Solo feminine journey knowledgeable Kristin Addis from Be My Journey Muse was just lately there together with her child and has tons of suggestions 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 an awesome 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 lodges. Touring with a child in Japan comes with some particular issues, however total, it may be an awesome journey IF you propose 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 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 top quality remedy.
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 all over the place as effectively, 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 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 stuffed 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 geared up 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 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
Usually, planning fewer issues is simpler than a packed itinerary when touring with a child wherever on the earth. That is very true for Japan the place you’re almost definitely 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 effectively.
Though they’re costlier, we tended to desire 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 hardly ever had a spot to vary diapers.
Should you’re touring throughout excessive season, be sure you e book prepare tickets forward of time and reserve seats to keep away from having to face together with your child.
Alternatively, contemplate renting a automobile to get round. They are often expensive, and when you’re North American you’ll be driving on the other aspect of the highway, but it surely 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 problem for households touring in Japan. They pack an excessive amount of and it impacts their journey enjoyment.
We opted to depart the stroller at dwelling and simply journey with a smooth child service. Whereas a stroller could be useful at occasions, 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 combined emotions about this choice 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 in all probability go for a climbing child service as an alternative. It distributes weight higher and is a extra snug expertise, plus they’ve cupboard space. Simply remember that they’re cumbersome and also you’ll almost definitely have to take away it when utilizing public transport.
Should you completely should convey greater than you possibly can bodily carry, there are baggage forwarding companies 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 after 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 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 potential to lease strollers in varied cities in Japan, relying on how distant you’re going. You can too lease different child gear in some components of Japan, significantly within the extra main cities.
Shopping for Child Necessities in Japan
One option to pack lighter is to plan to purchase child necessities in Japan. It’s simple to search out diapers, system, and child meals if you recognize 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 they’d nearly completely completely different snacks and types than I’ve seen elsewhere. The produce was additionally manner 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 system, you gained’t discover them at a grocery retailer. This stuff are on the market in drug shops solely. Matsumoto Kiyoshi (with brown lettering) is the one we got here throughout probably the most typically.
Diapers had been simple to purchase. They’ll have the load clearly displayed in kilograms. Jarred child meals and system had been in the identical part of the shop. Should you want a specialised (non-cow) system, which may be tougher to search out. Since we did for my child, we introduced sufficient with us from dwelling for the entire journey.
Obtain the Google translate app as a way to maintain your telephone digital camera as much as the Japanese Kanji and browse what the components 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 lodges and flats in Japan and so they each had their advantages.
Except you’re keen 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 kids.
Residences, which you’ll be able to e book 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.
Scorching water kettles are a pleasant characteristic whether or not you’re in an house or lodge room. They appear to be the usual in Japan, which makes sanitizing, washing, and heating water for system simpler. Faucet water in Japan is usually protected to drink and wash with.
Child Sleep in Japan
Probably 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 create 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 positive for our child to sleep on the ground mattresses, nonetheless now that he’s extra cellular, I’d wish to convey alongside our journey mattress.
Feeding and Meals in Japan
One of many detrimental 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 had 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, nonetheless. Some eating places, together with the Michelin star ones you is perhaps hoping to eat at, might maintain the identical coverage. There are some eating places in Japan which might be particularly geared in direction of households. The most typical you’ll discover are Bikkuri Donkey, Joyfull, and Gusto.
Most eating places in Japan may 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 greatest completed in personal. I by no means noticed anybody overtly nursing in Japan, although I noticed loads of bottle feeding. The household restrooms are in all probability your greatest guess for a cushty and personal expertise. I noticed a nursing pod (a bit room that gives nursing privateness, much like the Mamava pods at US airports) at a couple of main prepare stations in Japan as effectively.
Medical Companies in Japan
As a guardian, I’m extra involved with the provision of healthcare companies 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 companies foreigners the identical day. The entire remedy the physician prescribed was out there there as effectively. Normally they’ll desire a money cost which you’ll be able to then undergo your journey insurance coverage for reimbursement.
In non-emergency conditions, search for a physician that focuses on 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.
General, I beloved touring in Japan with our child. The clear household loos supplied a straightforward place to vary him, feeding and shopping for provides had been simple, and getting round was easy with such a well-connected rail system.
I used to be anxious with so many stops and logistics that it is perhaps 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 knowledgeable who evokes ladies to journey the world in an genuine and adventurous manner. 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 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 e book your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve probably 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 Reserving.com because it constantly returns the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and lodges.
Don’t Overlook Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will defend you in opposition to sickness, damage, theft, and cancelations. It’s complete safety in case something goes fallacious. I by no means go on a visit with out it, as I’ve had to make use of it many occasions previously. My favourite corporations that provide one of the best service and worth are:
On the lookout for the Finest Firms to Save Cash With?
Try my useful resource web page for one of the best corporations to make use of once you journey! I listing all those I take advantage of to economize after I journey — and I believe they may enable you too!
Make sure to take a look at the Japan Rail Cross 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 Suggestions for Japan?
Try 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!