Traveling with an Infant
Some simple tips on traveling in Japan with an infant.
We all love to travel and explore new places, right? Eat new foods and experience different cultures, but what happens when you have a baby?
Well, obviously you want to take your little one with you on your next adventure and you really want your next adventure to be in Japan. So, you spend hours scouring the internet for some answers like how to get around Japan with an infant, what kinds of places are baby-friendly and how will your baby respond to certain places or things.
Well, look no further, in this series I will write down all my experiences of travelling Japan with an infant.
Some of our first adventures take place in Chiba prefecture, Japan. Simply because it's pretty close to where we live. Unfortunately, this series won't contain much information on flying a long-haul flight with a baby yet because we haven't yet left the country with him (Thanks to Covid).
So, without further ado here's my first experience taking a 3-month-old on a short trip through Chiba.
We usually travel by car since we live here and have a small child on a long drive trip – it really does help to be in a car and have a babe in a car seat rather than travelling by train.
I imagine people won't be super happy if you take up an obnoxious amount of space with a stroller - this will be fine if you don't travel during those peak hours, which I highly suggest if this is the only method of transportation you can afford to use.
However, Japan does have wonderful public transportation: if you travel by train, travel after or before peak hours!
Plan all of your activities to allow you travel time before or after peak hours.
Trust me, you do not want to get into a packed train with a baby if you can help it. Also, there's usually a small space for the elderly, pregnant, injured or women with small children. So, if possible, fold up that big stroller and have a nice seat with your little one.
Taxis are expensive but after a long day of walking, it may be worth it to use one to get back to the hotel. However, taxis don't have infant car seats, they and buses are exempt from the rule of having your under 6-year-old in a child seat.
Buses are common and also pretty cheap too, so they would be worth looking into if you can understand bus routes, which I can't, hehe.
Car rental services would work great but can also be a costly affair – remember to book an infant seat when booking the car though, or they may refuse to rent you a car altogether.
When we looked for activities and things to do, we did keep into consideration what would be fun for us and not too tiring.
I mean, hiking up a mountain with an infant during Japanese summer – not a great idea, you risk sunburn and dehydration and of course, it will be pretty tiring going on a hike carrying a baby.
So, we went through some rest areas (my husband says Chiba has the best rest areas and he always wants to go to them), a temple, and went to a castle; which I immediately regretted because I had to walk uphill in the Japanese heat and humidity with my baby in the carrier – I was dying – don't make the same mistake I did.
Immediately after getting in the car, I breastfed my babe just to ensure he was hydrated again after that little expedition. Unfortunately, due to the wind, we skipped out on going to the beach and the sand dunes in Kujyūkurihama. Next time though.
The next day we spent the whole day at Kamogawa Sea World. Babe loved this because of the brightly coloured fish and jellyfish. He spent so much time just staring at all of them – super cute and it was a great end to our two-day trip.
One thing to note is that Japan has a rainy season where the weather could change in an instant.
Some days the weather news will say that it will be rainy and then it never rains or vice versa. It's pretty important to be prepared for this especially since you don't want babe to get wet and cold or worse, sick!
My baby is chill most of the time and getting in a car pretty much guarantees a nap or screaming and then a nap. However, with our first drive trip, within the first hour, he decided to have a hell of a blow-out poo and we had nowhere to go to change him.
From this experience I learnt to not count on convenient stores to have baby changing areas and that not all rest stops along the roads have clean areas either (depending on how often the rest stops are used).
So, if you're already out and about and there's a shopping centre nearby – they have great nurseries and I highly suggest finding one of those. Stores that sell baby items such as AEON, Baby's r Us etc. will also have nicer changing areas and nurseries.
On this trip, I had to try and clean up my baby in a very tiny convenience store cubicle with no table. Thank you blow out. I would've changed him in the car, but I needed a sink to wash everything, and I had no idea his blowout was as big as it was.
I also had the very unpleasant experience of walking into a spider-infested nursery at a rest area – it was pretty obvious it hadn't been cleaned in a while. Possibly due to the Pandemic and most things being closed for quite some time and people not really travelling.
Generally, Japan is very baby and child friendly. There are so many parks and activities for little ones to enjoy that it's really a great place to bring your child. As long as you know what to expect when it comes to taking care of their health and maximize your fun.
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