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Japan with 8 month old

(18 Posts)
glorious Sat 30-Mar-13 10:48:20

We're thinking of fulfilling a long held ambition and going to Japan in the autumn when DD will be 8 months or so. Would we be mad?!

Obviously we'd have a long flight and jet lag to contend with. Plus the language which neither of us speak. We did go to China independently recently (pre DD) so we're confident about getting by with a tricky language barrier in general but unsure about it with a baby. On the other hand we imagine it will only get harder!

Anything we should consider and any recommendations?

PeriPathetic Sat 30-Mar-13 11:15:27

Take a sling - the pavements are dreadful; woudn't fancy lugging a buggy everywhere! Let alone onto the Metro <shudder>
Other than that, no other issues I can think of. Autumn will be gorgeous there.

BabyRuSh Sat 30-Mar-13 11:31:21

We travelled lots when ds was little. It's so much easier before they hit toddlerhood! Go for it.

glorious Sat 30-Mar-13 11:36:06

That's encouraging, thanks both. And useful to know about the pavements peri. Any particular places you'd recommend visiting?

mamij Sat 30-Mar-13 11:36:15

I wouldn't bother with a buggy either. Either a sling, or a nice sturdy (comfy for the baby and you) backpack. She won't remember much, but will be easier now than when she's older.

Hopefully she'll sleep on the flight (night flights are best!).

PeriPathetic Sat 30-Mar-13 11:49:10

How long are you going for and where will you be based? Obviously Tokyo and Kyoto are the main visitor's haven.

glorious Sat 30-Mar-13 14:41:20

A couple of weeks and location entirely flexible though wouldn't want to miss Tokyo. We were thinking perhaps 3 or 4 places and would normally do something rural as well as cities but that might be logistically tricky. We're mostly interested in the food :-) We are in the really early stages of thinking about it, just wanted to see if it was remotely feasible as a first step.

PeriPathetic Mon 01-Apr-13 00:01:21

- Meiji shrine & Yoyogi Park. If you go on a Sunday afternoon you get to see all the cosplayers etc around Harajuku Station. And the rock 'n rollers dancing by the park.
- Asakusa - very busy but a nice place to visit. Bit of a cheesy market leading up to another important shrine.
- Shibuya crossing - must see: you get a good view from the Starbucks in HMV (if it's still there - Tokyo changes a LOT in a very short time)
Loads - I'll probably think of more later...

Hakone Mt Fuji, onsen and black eggs!
Or north to Yamanouchi the monkeys in the hot springs and lovely mountains

Kyoto - all of it! About 4 days there to cover everything.

Fabulous food everywhere, no problems there!

glorious Mon 01-Apr-13 10:22:03

Wow thanks, that sounds great thanks . We're getting all excited now! We'll do some research and get planningsmile

PeriPathetic Mon 01-Apr-13 14:34:27

Yay! How exciting!
I should have said- EITHER Hakone OR Yamanouchi as they are miles and miles apart.
Happy planning and happy holiday!

glorious Mon 01-Apr-13 20:32:54

Thanks for clarifying, I was thinking that anyway smile

Forester Mon 01-Apr-13 20:41:56

I've never been to Japan but did go to Oz with a seven month old. Ideal time in a lot of ways as it was before DD was crawling.The journey was ok - make sure you get a bassinet but don't expect to watch many films! We didn't have any problem with jet lag (we arrived mid afternoon) and she went down fine the first night - slept through (or as much as she ever did) and was then fine.

If you don't go this autumn I think it will be a good few years before you do!

glorious Mon 01-Apr-13 20:52:44

That's good to hear forester and I'm in awe of you for the Oz trip!

JetlagandMayhem Wed 03-Apr-13 00:06:33

I actually found Tokyo very stroller friendly - wide streets and flat pavements. As mentioned above, definitely supplement your stroller with a baby carrier, I highly recommend the Ergo. I've reviewed my Tokyo trip here (used to live in Japan) and there are some links:

EggsEggSplat Wed 03-Apr-13 00:29:28

I lived in Tokyo for years, had both DC there, and never had a problem using a buggy. Admittedly huge travel-system ones that don't fold up are not a good idea, but a standard Maclaren was perfect.

The Tokyo subway system has become much more accessible over the past decade - most stations now have lifts and/or escalators (it is common to use buggies on escalators in Japan, but if you don't want to, then take a folding buggy - I got a shoulder strap for mine- and a basic sling or hip carrier so you can carry baby and buggy at the same time. Obviously much easier if you have 2 adults).

Japan is generally very baby friendly, and people always coo over Western babies. Department stores have huge baby changing/feeding rooms, and even normal public loos in stations, hotels, restaurants etc often have fold-down changing tables. Even better, some of the cubicles in women's loos usually have little seats to put the baby in while you have a wee - they are brilliant, I don't know why no one has brought them on over here.

Food is easy, specially if you are doing BLW/finger foods - mine loved sushi rolls and onigiri (hand-sized rice-balls wrapped in seaweed and stuffed with things like cooked salmon - Japanese equivalent of sandwiches).

glorious Wed 03-Apr-13 12:30:24

thanks jet I'll take a look.

And that's great eggs, we were wondering about food and hoping those kind of things would work. Those seats sound fab! What are people like with breastfeeding in public, e.g. on trains or in restaurants?

To be honest we hardly use the pushchair in London so I can imagine not taking it. But guess she'll be heavier by then so we'll keep an open mind.

EggsEggSplat Thu 04-Apr-13 12:09:06

Re breast feeding - Japanese women tend to be fairly shy about feeding in public in adult surroundings, so while you might see someone feeding on a park bench next to a children's playground, it's less likely in a restaurant, I'd say. That's probably why all the big department stores have breast feeding rooms.

But having said that, the general attitude to BF is very positive, and I never had any negative reactions to BFing in public, including in restaurants & on trains. I don't think I ever tried feeding on the the Tokyo subway, though - far too much hustle and bustle, and you are rarely on board long enough to need to. Long distance trains are no problem.

I think by 8 months you will be very glad of a buggy (lightweight, umbrella-fold) particularly around Tokyo because as a tourist you are likely to be out, walking or on your feet all day, and they can get pretty heavy by then. It's nice to have somewhere to put them down for a nap, or just not to have the extra weight to carry all the time. Also, the one thing Japan doesn't do very well on is high chairs in restaurants. Most don't have any; some family-oriented restaurants have them, but they tend to be aimed at toddlers so don't have straps and are very easy for smaller babies to slip out of, so a buggy can also be useful to plonk them down in to eat. Best of all are the traditional restaurants with tatami floor mats - babies can just sit on a floor cushion and reach the table with everyone else.

A convertible sling you can also use on your back might be useful, though, eg for places like Kyoto where a lot of the interesting temples are up long flights of stairs.

glorious Thu 04-Apr-13 15:42:56

Thanks eggs that's really helpful. I was meaning the long distance trains rather than the subway, I can see that the latter might be a bit ambitious, I certainly wouldn't plan to feed on the tube here and I've heard it's even busier in Tokyo. I'm not too worried about feeding in public being unusual, just keen not to offend anyone or to do something that would be very odd for people. But I'll give the department stores a go, hopefully by then she'll be feeding rather less frequently anyway and we'll be able to plan around it a bit more (but who knows).

I'll definitely bear that in mind about the pushchair and in particular the lack of highchairs. What with her being DC1 I can't see that far ahead too easily! We do have a sling which can do back carries so that's definitely coming with us. We don't have an umbrella fold pushchair at the moment but could definitely get a cheap one for travelling if we don't use one by then anyway.

I'm so excited about this trip now!

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