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Traveling to Japan with baby 2016/9/18 12:03
Hi! We're traveling to Japan with our 16 months old soon. We've been to Japan before but not with baby.
- is there anything we should not do with baby in public? ie, for adults, I read that eating and walking is disrespectful.
- do parents ever change their kids diaper in public (i.e. On a bench in a park)
- is it wrong to bring our baby to restaurants that are tiny? Will this be frowned upon?
- what are the baby stores in Japan that have baby items? (Toys, clothes and etc)

Thank you!
by Meowmeow (guest)  

Re: Traveling to Japan with baby 2016/9/18 15:39
Almost a toddler.

I traveled around Japan in 2014 with a 11 month old. I found it pretty easy moving around and eating.

For changing the baby, just do it the same as if your were at home. Attempt to be discreet and don't leave a mess.

Because my bub was an 11mo, we went to Toys-R-Us a lot of foods and nappies. Maybe different requirements for a 16mo. But there was toys, clothes and foods.
by hakata14 (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Traveling to Japan with baby 2016/9/18 17:47
It's okay, Japanese people adore babies and children, especially foreign ones. I've found that most restaurants will be happy with you bringing a baby or small child but obviously be mindful of other diners if your toddler starts to get disruptive, just as you would in your own country. Restaurants with tatami seating are particularly good for children. High chairs don't often have the harness restraints but at 16 months I'd expect that to be a non-issue. The issue you'll probably find yourself being pickier about where to eat because you'll want a non-smoking restaurant. That's the main difference we've noticed between the trips without babies/children versus ones with them.

On a side note, it's best to use a carrier such as an ergobaby. Prams and strollers are inconvenient in Japan, particularly on public transport.

Where are you travelling to? Baby shops are very good in Japan. There are ones like Akachan Honpo which are huge.
by Sal1980 rate this post as useful

Re: Traveling to Japan with baby 2016/9/18 22:42
Thank you! This is very useful.

We plan on bringing both a carrier and a small stroller as 22lbs is heavy to carry!

We bring our toddler everywhere when we're at home. I guess I was worried that it would be frowned upon in Japan if we brought her everywhere (except smoking restaurants).

We are going to Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto. I am looking for the Japanese version of Toys r us/ babies r us.
by Meowmeow (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Traveling to Japan with baby 2016/9/19 00:23
As suggested, Akachan Honpo.
Tokyo: http://www.akachan.jp/sys/store_searches/search_list/5
Osaka: http://www.akachan.jp/sys/store_searches/search_list/8
Click on each store name to go to their page and see a map.

You may find this website helpful too http://www.tokyourbanbaby.com
by Sal1980 rate this post as useful

Re: Traveling to Japan with baby 2016/9/19 11:44
- is there anything we should not do with baby in public? ie, for adults, I read that eating and walking is disrespectful.

I think shoes are one thing to keep in mind. In Japan, the only place that shoes are supposed to touch is the ground. So if your baby wants to stand on a bench, or wants to kneel on a seat to look out the window, you should take the baby's shoes off and place them on the ground or floor, so that your baby can freely do as (s)he wants.

- do parents ever change their kids diaper in public (i.e. On a bench in a park)

A lot of public restrooms (such as those inside shopping centers) have one of those fold-able diaper-changing beds. It's also common to change diapers on a park bench, as long as no one is eating nearby.

Either way, parents commonly put some kind of protection between the baby's bottom and the bed/bench underneath (such as the baby's clothes). You are also expected to throw away the old diaper in a designated waste bin. If there aren't any, please seal it in a bag and take it back to your hotel to throw away. Feces are expected to be dumped and flushed in a toilet before wrapping the old diaper.

By the way, a lot of lady's rooms are equipped with facilities related to babies, while I hear that many men's rooms are yet to have them.

Quite a few centers (even some supermarkets) have a big toilet room which sets its priorities for babies and the challenged. But be careful, because your walking baby can accidentally press the "open door" button from the inside while you do your business!

You can also ask for a space to breast-feed your baby (junyuu-shitsu). Even if they don't have any, they will often surrender a little room for you.

As it is in any country, some pools and public bath either prohibit babies needing diapers, or they have a special area just for them. A lot of rules concerning babies are written on the wall in Japanese, so if you're uncertain, you can ask the clerk in gestures.

- is it wrong to bring our baby to restaurants that are tiny? Will this be frowned upon?

It's not a matter of size or design. Many restaurants welcome babies while, although rarely, others may not. Simply confirm at the entrance by pointing at your baby and asking "Baby okay?" They will always reply with a smile, whether it's okay or not.

Typical questions you can expect are "Do you want a baby chair?" and "Do you want plastic plates for your baby?"

I hope all of you have great fun in Japan!
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Traveling to Japan with baby 2016/9/19 20:19
Thank you, Uco! Good point about shoes. I was aware of this for adults but hadn't thought about it for babies. I probably would've let my kid stand on the bench with shoes on. Will definitely remember this for our trip!
by Meowmeow (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Traveling to Japan with baby 2016/9/19 20:43
There are also quite a few threads on here in the past about travelling with babies which might be useful to you.
by Winter Visitor rate this post as useful

Re: Traveling to Japan with baby 2016/9/19 22:26
even if u go to babies r us it'll be just as japanese to u as the japanese baby shops. It isn't america.
by .. (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Traveling to Japan with baby 2016/9/20 11:09
Is it frowned upon if I use my hands to feed my toddler at restaurants? (Instead of chopsticks) as in if I pick up a piece of tempura or a spoon size of rice.
by Meowmeow (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Traveling to Japan with baby 2016/9/20 13:57
Take a spoon along and have your toddler feed themselves with their own hands. A 16 month old should be able to!
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Traveling to Japan with baby 2016/9/20 14:52
Is it frowned upon if I use my hands to feed my toddler at restaurants? (Instead of chopsticks) as in if I pick up a piece of tempura or a spoon size of rice.

Not really, but many foods just aren't designed to be eaten by hand/fingers. For example, if you pick rice with your hand, it will stick all over your fingers, as opposed to the more dry rice you see overseas.

It's much more common to ask for a spoon and feed your child using that spoon. (I think a lot of toddlers still have trouble eating by themselves.)

It would still be best to carry your own spoon though. Spoons designed for babies are best when trying to neatly pour the food into a baby's mouth. At least in Japan, parents tend to carry around the baby's favorite spoon, especially because some restaurants may not carry spoons that are tiny enough.

But if the parent's hand is something that the baby is most familiar to, then I suppose you can't help it. Carrying your own towel might help keep everything tidy.

Speaking of towels, when my child was little, I used to use a hand-made baby bib that helped prevent food from spilling on the floor. Cut out a round hole from one edge (A) of a face towel. Put your baby's head through the hole, so that the other long edge (B) will cover the baby's front. When eating, place the tip of edge B on the table and put the plate on it. Whatever food that is carried from the plate to the mouth will drop either inside the mouth or on the towel.
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Traveling to Japan with baby 2016/9/21 01:19
Thank you for the advice!

We will definitely bring baby spoons and forks and bibs. Baby can feed herself but not with utensils yet.
by Meowmeow (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Traveling to Japan with baby 2016/9/21 16:44
If you bring a stroller, please fold it when you ride the trains and subways and carry the baby in your arms. I see a lot of foreign tourists occupying a lot of space with their stroller in trains, it is not really respectful of other travellers. But maybe it is common in other countries (not in my country of origin) so I thought I'd mention it.
by krr (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Traveling to Japan with baby 2016/9/21 19:49
Thank you! Yes we will fold the stroller. But is it okay if we don't fold it when the train is not busy and baby is sleeping in the stroller?
by Meowmeow (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Traveling to Japan with baby 2016/9/21 20:20
If you bring a stroller, please fold it when you ride the trains and subways and carry the baby in your arms.

Actually, in most train/bus companies today, you are encouraged to keep your baby in the stroller unless you're sitting down with your baby.

Just until about a decade ago, you had to fold your stroller and carry your baby in most if not all public transportation. But debate led to the conclusion that it's more dangerous that way.

On buses today, the driver will often show you how to strap your stroller on a designated seat. On trains, there is often a space with no seats at all, where it would be ideal for strollers and wheelchairs. Either way, it's proper to keep the baby on the stroller, unless noted otherwise.

Also, look/ask for elevators, because there is usually one somewhere on the platform. Carrying your stroller up some stairs or escalator can be very dangerous too.

(simple translation)
数年前とはルールが変わり、ほとんどの交通機関では、ベビーカーに載せたままにしたほうが安全だという結論に達しています。昔のルールに慣れている私たちは、当初、戸惑いましたが、皆で協力し合って安全を実現できたらいいのではないかと思います。
by Uco rate this post as useful

Re: Traveling to Japan with baby 2016/9/22 09:16
Thank you again, Uco!! We were told elevators are rare so we were planning to mostly carry the stroller and have baby in the ergobaby when getting on and off trains.
by Meowmeow (guest) rate this post as useful

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