Posted: 10/9/2023 | October
I like Japan. It’s one among my favourite international locations on the earth. 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 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 can be, from DMs telling me it wouldn’t be an ideal journey to the overall reverse with folks 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 concerns, however total, it may be an ideal journey IF you propose it proper. Right here’s all the things to know:
Japan Child and Toddler Friendliness
With a number of unusual exceptions, like the dearth of cribs, Japan is among the most child and family-friendly locations I’ve been. It began once 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 child 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 all the time had a household line, which is unfortunately lacking from each US airport I’ve encountered.
There are household restrooms in every single place as nicely, and I actually imply in every single place. Even the smallest metro and practice stations had them, and I by no means encountered one which wasn’t glowing clear. Folks 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 particular person stroll out of them, which I see on a regular basis within the US.
The bogs 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 all places we went, folks would play peek a boo with him, smile at him, and light-weight up once they noticed him. We felt very welcome in every single place we went with him.
Getting Round Japan with a Child
Usually, planning fewer issues is less complicated than a packed itinerary when touring with a child wherever on the earth. That is very true for Japan the place you’re probably 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 nicely.
Though they’re dearer, we tended to prefer train travel to bus travel in Japan in order that we may 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.
For those who’re touring throughout excessive season, make sure you e book practice 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 for those who’re North American you’ll be driving on the other aspect of the highway, however it additionally provides you final flexibility.
Packing Gentle is Clever for Japan
For those who’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 largest 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 residence and simply journey with a soft baby carrier. Whereas a stroller could be useful at instances, Japan has a number 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 resolution as we had been aching by the top 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 a substitute. It distributes weight higher and is a extra snug expertise, plus they’ve cupboard space. Simply needless to say they’re cumbersome and also you’ll probably must take away it when utilizing public transport.
For those who completely must convey 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 once we visited Japan, we felt OK with not having a devoted sleeping house and using the ground beds as a substitute. 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 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. It’s also possible to rent other baby gear in some elements 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 search out diapers, components, and child meals if you understand the place to look.
For those who’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 approach higher, because it was largely domestically grown. Even within the winter, we had been consuming completely ripe, locally-grown strawberries.
For those who want diapers, child meals, or components, you received’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 essentially the most usually.
Diapers had been straightforward to purchase. They are going to have the burden clearly displayed in kilograms. Jarred child meals and components had been in the identical part of the shop. For those who want a specialised (non-cow) components, that could be tougher to search 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 digital camera 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 resorts 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 count on resort rooms to be on the smaller aspect. Nevertheless they have a tendency to incorporate breakfast, which makes life simpler for folks with younger youngsters.
Residences, which you’ll e book on Airbnb, often have two flooring and a kitchen. The kitchen was useful for meals prepping for the child, 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. Condominium leases are virtually all the time bigger, and in my expertise, extra reasonably priced than resort rooms could be. Generally they’ve washers and dryers as nicely.
Sizzling 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 components simpler. Faucet water in Japan is usually 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 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 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 wonderful 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 destructive 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 degree of eating in Japan) eating places. Generally they even had toys they’d convey out for our son.
We had been informed that the lounge within the resort we stayed at in Tokyo wouldn’t be obtainable to the child within the evenings when alcohol was served, nonetheless. Some eating places, together with the Michelin star ones you may be hoping to eat at, may 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 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 greatest finished 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 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 practice 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 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 companies foreigners the identical day. All the medicine the physician prescribed was obtainable there as nicely. Generally they’ll desire a money cost which you’ll 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 boundaries. I used to be capable of finding mine simply on Google Maps. In any other case, hospitals are broadly obtainable, even in smaller cities.
General, 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 may be a nightmare, however all the things 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 conjures up ladies to journey the world in an genuine and adventurous approach. A former funding banker who offered all of her belongings in 2012, Kristin has been touring the world ever since. You will discover extra of her musings at Be My Travel Muse or on Instagram and Facebook.
Ebook Your Journey to Japan: Logistical Suggestions and Tips
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 all the time know no stone is left unturned!
Ebook Your Lodging
You’ll be able to e book 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 resort or guesthouse in Japan, use Booking.com because it persistently returns the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and resorts.
Don’t Overlook Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will shield you towards sickness, harm, theft, and cancelations. It’s complete safety in case something goes incorrect. I by no means go on a visit with out it, as I’ve had to make use of it many instances previously. My favourite corporations that supply the most effective service and worth are:
In search of the Finest Firms to Save Cash With?
Try my resource page for the most effective corporations to make use of if you journey! I checklist all those I take advantage of to economize after I journey — and I believe they’ll make it easier to too!
Be sure you take a look at the Japan Rail Pass for those who’ll be touring across the nation. It is available in 7-, 14-, and 21-day passes and may prevent a ton of cash!
In search of Extra Journey Suggestions for Japan?
Try my in-depth Japan travel guide for extra methods to economize; info on prices; tips about what to see and do; advised itineraries, studying, and packing lists; and far, far more!