How to Travel Japan with a Baby (Updated 2023)

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Blogger Kristin Addis of Be My Travel Muse with her partner and baby at Fushimi Inari Shrine in Japan
Posted: 10/9/2023 | October

I like Japan. It’s one in all my favourite nations on the earth. But is it an acceptable vacation spot to go to with a child? Solo feminine journey skilled Kristin Addis from Be My Travel Muse was just lately there along 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 amazing journey to the entire 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 residences and inns. Traveling with a child in Japan comes with some particular concerns, however total, it may be an amazing journey IF you intend it proper. Here’s the whole lot to know:

 

Japan Baby and Toddler Friendliness

Blogger Kristin Addis of Be My Travel Muse with her partner and baby looking into the mirror at an art installation in Japan

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 all began once we had been personally escorted to the plane by a Japan Airlines gate agent when boarding our flight to Osaka. They even supplied me a spot to sit down with the newborn whereas I waited. It felt like top quality remedy.

Each 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 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. People revered that they had been solely meant for these with disabilities and younger kids, 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 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 really by no means seen a household rest room as outfitted as those in Japan.

The locals additionally LOVED our child. Everywhere we went, folks would play peek a boo with him, smile at him, and lightweight up once they noticed him. We felt very welcome all over the place we went with him.
 

Getting Around Japan with a Baby

Blogger Kristin Addis of Be My Travel Muse with her infant son in a baby carrier as they stand in a snowy landscape in Japan
Generally, planning fewer issues is simpler than a packed itinerary when touring with a child wherever on the earth. This 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 nicely.

Although they’re dearer, 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 not often had a spot to alter diapers.

If you’re touring throughout excessive season, make 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 might be dear, and in the event you’re North American you’ll be driving on the alternative facet of the street, nevertheless it additionally provides you final flexibility.
 

Packing Light is Wise for Japan

Blogger Kristin Addis of Be My Travel Muse with her partner and baby under a torii arch in Japan
If you’ll be taking the Japan Rail and/or metro to get round, you’ll need 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 challenge for households touring in Japan. They pack an excessive amount of and it impacts their journey enjoyment.

We opted to depart the stroller at residence and simply journey with a mushy child service. While a stroller might be useful at occasions, Japan has numerous 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 determination 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 mountaineering child service as an alternative. It distributes weight higher and is a extra comfy expertise, plus they’ve cupboard space. Just remember that they’re cumbersome and also you’ll most definitely must take away it when utilizing public transport.

If you completely must convey greater than you may bodily carry, there are baggage forwarding companies in Japan that may assist transport your baggage from resort to resort for you.
 

Renting Baby 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. However 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 objects we’d like for security and luxury.

It’s doable to hire strollers in varied cities in Japan, relying on how distant you’re going. You can even hire different child gear in some components of Japan, significantly within the extra main cities.
 

Buying Baby Essentials in Japan

One strategy to pack lighter is to plan to purchase child necessities in Japan. It’s simple to search out diapers, components, and child meals if you realize the place to look.

If you’re doing baby-led weaning, which we had been on the time, you may 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 virtually fully totally different snacks and types than I’ve seen elsewhere. The produce was additionally manner higher, because it was largely domestically grown. Even within the winter, we had been consuming completely ripe, locally-grown strawberries.

If you want diapers, child meals, or components, you gained’t discover them at a grocery retailer. These objects 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 simple to purchase. They could have the burden clearly displayed in kilograms. Jarred child meals and components had been in the identical part of the shop. If you 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.

Download the Google translate app as a way to maintain your cellphone digital camera 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.
 

Choosing Where to Stay in Japan with a Baby

Blogger Kristin Addis of Be My Travel Muse with her partner and baby sitting next to a window in Japan with a snow-topped mountain in the background
We did a mixture of inns and residences in Japan they usually each had their advantages.

Unless you’re prepared to pay up a bit extra, particularly in Tokyo, you may anticipate resort rooms to be on the smaller facet. However they have an inclination to incorporate breakfast, which makes life simpler for folks with younger kids.

Apartments, which you’ll be able to e-book on Airbnb, normally 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 baggage to sanitize our bottles, so this was a pleasant shock.

The two flooring additionally gave us a spot to hang around whereas he took his naps. Apartment leases are virtually all the time bigger, and in my expertise, extra inexpensive than resort rooms might be. Sometimes they’ve washers and dryers as nicely.

Hot water kettles are a pleasant characteristic whether or not you’re in an condominium or resort room. They appear to be the usual in Japan, which makes sanitizing, washing, and heating water for components simpler. Tap water in Japan is usually secure to drink and wash with.
 

Baby Sleep in Japan

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 surprise what locals do. Do they bring about 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 fantastic 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 the unfavourable issues I heard was that we’d be turned away from eating places in Japan with our child. While 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. Sometimes they even had toys they’d convey out for our son.

We had been advised that the lounge within the resort we stayed at in Tokyo wouldn’t be out there to the newborn within the evenings when alcohol was served, nevertheless. 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 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 more likely to come throughout them.

If you’re nursing, my sense in Japan was that it’s finest performed 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 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 Services in Japan

As a dad or mum, I’m extra involved with the provision of healthcare companies than I ever was earlier than touring with a child. Thankfully Japan has a beautiful 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 in a position to go to a global physician at a clinic that companies foreigners the identical day. All of the medicine the physician prescribed was out there there as nicely. In most circumstances 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 focuses on worldwide sufferers as there might be language obstacles. I used to be capable of finding mine simply on Google Maps. Otherwise, hospitals are extensively out there, even in smaller cities.

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Overall, I cherished touring in Japan with our child. The clear household loos offered a simple place to alter 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 nervous with so many stops and logistics that it is perhaps a nightmare, however the whole lot 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 ladies to journey the world in an genuine and adventurous manner. A former funding banker who bought all of her belongings in 2012, Kristin has been touring the world ever since. You can discover extra of her musings at Be My Travel Muse or on Instagram and Facebook.

Book Your Trip to Japan: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find an inexpensive flight by utilizing Skyscanner. They are 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!

Book Your Accommodation
You can e-book your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve essentially the most complete stock so they’re finest for reserving a hostel. If you need to keep in a resort or guesthouse in Japan, use Booking.com because it constantly returns the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and inns.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance coverage will shield you in opposition to sickness, damage, 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 occasions prior to now. My favourite firms that supply the very best service and worth are:

Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my useful resource web page for the very best firms to make use of whenever you journey! I checklist all those I exploit to save cash once I journey — and I believe they’ll assist you to too!

Be certain to take a look at the Japan Rail Pass in the event you’ll be touring across the nation. It is available in 7-, 14-, and 21-day passes and might prevent a ton of cash!

Looking for More Travel Tips for Japan?
Check out my in-depth Japan journey information for extra methods to save cash; data on prices; tips about what to see and do; urged itineraries, studying, and packing lists; and far, far more!



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