Traveling to Japan with your kids will be a trip filled with cherished memories and adventure! From its fascinating culture and history to its breathtaking landscapes and delicious cuisine, Japan offers a wide range of attractions that cater to both adults and children. However, planning a trip with little ones requires careful consideration and preparation to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for the entire family. We have compiled a comprehensive guide and provide you with essential tips and recommendations for a truly unforgettable family trip in Japan.
Must-Haves Packing List for Traveling to Japan
Here are some necessities you must have in your luggage:
Passports & Travel documents
Suica Card (or add it to your mobile wallet)
Portable Changing Pad
Sufficient wet wipes and diapers
Blankets and swaddles
Baby’s soother or comfort chou chou
Tip: A lightweight stroller will be useful as there will be lots of walking and stairs involved in Japan
Tip: Get a foldable carrier that is less bulky, and can be easily kept in your nursery bag.
Read our article on Ultimate Packing Checklist for Travelling with Toddlers for a more extensive checklist!
Best Apps to Download when Traveling in Japan
Navigating around Japan as a foreigner might be challenging, however, these apps will help you to get by!
Google Maps for getting around
Japan Travel by NaviTime (if you are not a fan of Google Maps)
Ramen Beast to source for best ramen restaurants
Ecbo Cloak for locating luggage storage space
Google Translate for translating Japanese menus or directions
Best Season to Travel to Japan
It is important to consider the preferences and needs of your baby before deciding the best season to travel to Japan. Consider factors such as your baby's age, tolerance to different temperatures, and any health considerations. The best season to travel to Japan would be Spring / Autumn, where temperatures are more mild and pleasant.
Spring (March to May):
Pros: Mild temperatures, pleasant weather and beautiful cherry blossom season
Cons: Popular time for tourists to visit, tourist spots can get very crowded
Autumn (September to November):
Pros: Experience the beautiful foliage, known as "koyo." Temperatures are mild and comfortable enough for exploring.
Cons: Popular time for tourists to visit, tourist spots can get very crowded. Some attractions might be closed for maintenance during the foliage season.
Summer (June to August):
Pros: Vibrant season, lots of festivals happening. Ideal weather for outdoor activities and experiencing seasonal desserts such as “kakigori”.
Cons: Summers in Japan can be hot and humid. June & July are also known to be the rainy season.
Winter (December to February):
Pros: Beautiful scenic views, perfect time for skiing/snowboarding and soaking in onsen baths.
Cons: Colder and lower temperatures, shorter daylight hours, and seasonal closures of certain attractions.
Tip: Be prepared for changing weather conditions and make sure to pack accordingly to ensure your baby's comfort throughout the trip.
It is advisable to travel during off-peak hours and avoid rush hours from 7am-10am or 5pm-7pm. There are trains, buses, taxis, and car rental services you can consider as a means of transportation for getting around Japan.
Types of Train
Local Trains: Make stops at every station along the route
Rapid Trains: Skip certain stations, offering a faster journey. Fare tickets are the same as local trains.
Express Trains: Have even fewer stops than rapid trains. Fare tickets are usually the same as local trains.
Limited Express Trains: Only stop at major stations. An additional fee is required on top of the base fare.
Super Express Trains (Shinkansen): Operates exclusively by JR on separate tracks and platforms. An additional fee is required on top of the base fare.
Above 12 years old
Ranges from 130 yen to 14,000 yen depending on the type of train and distance of travel
6 to 11 years old children
Pay 50% of the adult fare for JR trains, limited express and seat reservation fees. Green car and sleeper car tickets are charged at adult pricing.
1 to 5 years old children
Free of charge for up to two infants. Third infant and more has to be charged at 50% of the adult fare. Reserved seats are chargeable at ‘Child’s rate.
< 1 year old children
Similar to ‘Infant’s rate
Tokyo & Kyoto: Flat fare of 210 yen for adults and 110 yen for children
Other parts of Japan (i.e. Osaka): Calculated by the distance traveled.
Types of Taxi
Kogata (small: 小型 ): takes up to 4 passengers
Chugata (medium size: 中型 ): takes up to 4 passengers
Ogata (large size: 大型): takes up to 5 passengers
Starting fare at 410 yen
What to Take Note:
Car seats are not required for children as taxis are exempted from car safety laws
Enter and exit taxis from the rear passenger door
Do not open and close the door yourself, the driver usually does it / the door is automated.
Greet the driver with a simple "konichiwa" (hello) when entering the taxi
Write your designated location on a piece of paper / hand the driver your hotel’s name card
Car Rental Companies
Times Car Rental (formerly known as Mazda Rentacar)
Sub-compact car: 5,000 yen per 24-hour period
Compact car: 7,500 yen
Mid sized car: 10,000 yen
Full-sized car: 15,000 yen
Vans: 20,000 yen
What to Take Note:
Reserve your car seat at the car rental site, however will be good to inquire beforehand. Children under six years old must be seated in a car seat or booster seat.
Obtain International Driving Permit before departing for Japan
Always opt for snow tyres when driving in winter season
Input contact number when locating a destination in the GPS system of the car
Factor in fuel (approx. 150 yen/liter) and tolls on expressways when estimating budget for car rental
Book a baby-friendly accommodation that caters to the needs of your baby and yourself. Here are some recommendations to consider when visiting Japan:
Kids-friendly Accomodation in Tokyo
Kids-friendly Accomodation in Kyoto
Kids-friendly Accomodation in Osaka
Tip: Inquire about baby cot availability, additional baby-friend amenities and any associated fees when making your reservation.
Family-friendly Restaurants in Japan
While Japan is a family-friendly country, it is important to take note that not all restaurants have the option of a baby high chair or play areas available. Some smaller or more traditional establishments may not have them, as they focus on limited seating or traditional dining setups.
Family-friendly Restaurants in Tokyo
Kichiri Mollis Shinjuku
Ginza West Aoyama Garden
Sanrio Cafe Ikebukuro
Tonkatsu Maisen Aoyama
Oyako Cafe Picnic
Family-friendly Restaurants in Kyoto
Kyoto Takashimaya Food Hall
Family-friendly Restaurants in Osaka
Umeda Hagakure Ramen
Tip: Research and make reservations before heading down. It will also be good to highlight to the restaurants that you are dining with a baby, so that they can make the necessary arrangements.
Where to Explore
Explore the different parts of Japan to create a memorable experience for you and your baby! From exploring the amusement parks to enjoying nature in renowned heritage sites, these activities will be enjoyable for both the young and young at heart.
Things to Do in Tokyo
Things to Do in Kyoto
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Fushimi Inari Taisha
Kyoto Railway Park
Things to Do in Osaka
Osaka Castle Park
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
Tennoji Park and Zoo
Universal Studios Japan
Kids Plaza Osaka
Tip: Plan your activities around the baby's schedule, keeping in mind to take breaks, naps and rest. Pack essential baby supplies, such as diapers, formula, and baby food, and be prepared for changing facilities and nursing rooms available in many public places throughout Japan.
Diaper Changing Facilities & Nursing Rooms
It is not uncommon to find nursing rooms in Japan, in fact, you can easily locate the nearest nursing room using the Mama Papa App. Diaper changing facilities are also usually located in most malls, department stores or train stations for any nappy change. Most nursing rooms have hot water dispensers, microwave oven, bins for used diapers and a sink area. There is a widespread number of nursing rooms available in Japan to ensure a fuss-free travel experience for parents!
Tip: Bring along your nursing cover as some spaces might not be as private as most of the other nursing rooms.
Time For An Adventure!
Traveling to Japan with your child will be a memorable experience with memories that will last for a lifetime. With Japan’s family-friendly attractions, accommodating facilities, and warm hospitality, your travel experience with your family will be both convenient and enjoyable. So pack your bags, embark on this journey with your precious bundle of joy and safe travels!
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