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Travel to Japan

(20 Posts)
lydiangel83 Mon 10-Apr-17 02:14:53

Hi hubby and I are travelling to Japan in first two weeks of May and looking for any advice on health/ things to watch out for as a first time traveller there and first time pregnant!

Starting to worry about non-English speaking hospital staff and whether I need any vaccinations/ treatments for the remote Okinawa islands we are visiting (during rainy season!)

Any advice very welcome! :-)

Daisydots Mon 10-Apr-17 02:45:58

Can't help you with regards to medical advice but obviously be very careful about what you eat (I'm guessing you already know this)

Have a read on what fish/seafood in particular is ok for pregnancy and what to avoid.

Pop to or phone the GP and ask about vaccinations and maybe print out some personal medical information translated into Japanese to pop in your handbag, just in case

Daisydots Mon 10-Apr-17 02:48:07

Most of all, enjoy yourself! You'll be fine smile

lizzieoak Mon 10-Apr-17 03:03:04

My experience w Japanese people is that they often do not have much experience listening to and speaking English - but their written comprehension is quite good! So if speaking doesn't work they may well understand a written note. I've also installed a kanji and romanji keyboard on my phone so we "talk" via that.

numberseven Mon 10-Apr-17 05:23:32

I live in Japan and am also pregnant. Food is very safe here, I would say safer than in Europe. I haven't even been told to avoid sushi (except cautioned against eating too much large fish such as tuna and shark, because of mercury). There are drinks vending machines and clean toilets everywhere.

The only vaccination that differs from Europe is Japanese Encephalitis, but most tourists don't get that one. It is mostly an issue if you spend time in very rural areas.

TanteRose Mon 10-Apr-17 06:17:46

As numberseven says, there should be no problem with food/water. No extra vaccinations necessary - apart from Japanese encephalitis (which is rare and confined to rural areas) there are no endemic tropical diseases, like malaria.

For English info see the two links below (second for Okinawa)

You could also ask at your hotel.

By the way, the first week of May is the traditional Golden Week holidays, so prepare for tourist spots and trains to be very crowded.

Have fun!

DailyMailFuckRightOff Mon 10-Apr-17 06:23:51

Lots of ramen and hot pots?
I think Okinawa has a big US military population (but may be wrong) so you may be ok in terms of English speaking medical staff.

Department stores are lovely and comfortable places for lunch and toilet breaks. Public toilets are generally v clean smile
People are generally very polite and eager to assist. Take a 'point it' phrase book for fast wordless requests.

And enjoy - I wish I was going back!!!

lydiangel83 Mon 10-Apr-17 07:05:19

Thanks everyone for the helpful advice!

Any tourist recommendations welcome our trip is Tokyo - Kyoto either Hakone or Takayama then Tokyo and then Ishigaki (remote island off Okinawa)

Trying to decide between Hakone and Takayama and need to book asap as it is indeed Golden Week and so many places fully booked already!

I like the idea of translated medical advice (I already noted the Japanese word for pregnant!) and a point to it picture book!

I'm not sure whether Ishigaki counts as remote enough to warrant JE vaccine and not much specific advice online. I think in general is low risk so will just be careful!!

numberseven Mon 10-Apr-17 11:11:32

Oooh, Ishigaki is wonderful, you'll love it! Yaeyama Islands do have mosquitoes that carry JE but the risk is low. Maybe ask your GP if the vaccination is advised while pregnant?

If you go to Hakone, be aware that the Owakudani volcanic valley hike is not advised for pregnant women - lots of sulphur etc.

theclick Mon 10-Apr-17 13:18:19

How many weeks are you?

lydiangel83 Mon 10-Apr-17 13:52:29

Thanks @numberseven I can't get an appt with travel nurse until half way through our holiday - not helpful! May have to look in to private...

So excited for the islands but only concern is that it will be rainy season so we are chancing our luck hehe!!

Decided on Takayama over Hakone although may do a daytrip there if feel up to it.

@theclick only 7 wks so not showing (just overall putting on weight due to binging). I did download the Japanese symbol for pregnancy so will have that to hand if needed!

Thanks all for your advice!

AbbeyRoadCrossing Mon 10-Apr-17 13:58:34

You'll have a great time.
Just make sure you have travel insurance that covers your pregnancy. Health care there is expensive.
Okinawa is the US military Base as PP have said so there'll be lots of English speakers about. Also in the tourist areas elsewhere. People are really friendly and helpful.

theclick Mon 10-Apr-17 14:24:52

lydiaangel83 asking as I wanted to go this year but planned pregnancy happened a lot quicker than we thought. Wondered if you were quite late and therefore I would have cause to tell DH we could still go!

numberseven Mon 10-Apr-17 14:30:21

So excited for the islands but only concern is that it will be rainy season so we are chancing our luck hehe!!

The islands are better than mainland, it usually doesn't rain every day or all day. :-)

lydiangel83 Mon 10-Apr-17 14:46:47

@theclick we also conceived sooner than expected (for which I am very very grateful), so will be 9/10 wks when travelling. Have had morning sickness literally since conception so fingers crossed won't get any worse! We booked our flights days before I realised I was preggo!

I'll let you know how I get on smile

Early conception has caused an issue tho, in that my best friend is getting married in Sri Lanka in Jan (changed venue because I said I wouldn't go to Caribbean - zika risk) and now if all goes to plan our little one will be 7-8 wks old. Have already had lectures from my mum and MiL about how can't possibly leave baby or travel with baby at that age.

Would welcome any alternative thoughts / experiences. I think realistically we will have to wait to see how everything pans out and make a decision nearer the time...

AbbeyRoadCrossing Mon 10-Apr-17 21:08:20

Where in Sri Lanka?
You'd need good travel insurance for the baby. Also travel vaccinations - not sure if they can have them that young?
The driving over there is um interesting! You'd need to look into a good driver and proper car seat to get around.
Flight might also be a bit uncomfortable if you've had a c section and you'd probably get signed off 6 weeks post partum - again check with your insurer. Hospitals there are variable and for anything serious outside of the big cities might be tricky.
I know Sri Lanka well so if I've missed anything do ask.

AbbeyRoadCrossing Mon 10-Apr-17 21:12:49

Also you'd need to be super organised amd register the birth then get the passport application fast tracked and apply for a visa. You can get everything ready and fill in name, DOB and photo later but would be quite tight. I think you can pay for a rapid service though. I was nowhere near that organised in the newborn days but you might be!

lydiangel83 Tue 11-Apr-17 07:46:07

Thanks @AbbeyRoadCrossing for all the helpful advice and things to think about. I think everything you said is feasible my biggest worry would be if one of us were ill and had to rely on the care there.

We did actually go to Sri Lanka a few years ago and loved it. The wedding is near Galle and we visited there previously, would probably try and get the same driver if he is still around as he was great.

We shall see I guess, feels like a lot to happen between now and then!

beekeeper17 Tue 11-Apr-17 08:31:03

I don't want to put you off, but having just recently had my first baby, don't underestimate how rough those first 2 to 3 months are going to be. I know every baby is different and you may very well breeze through it, but at 8 weeks I was only getting a couple of hours unbroken sleep each night and some days it was an achievement just to get showered and dressed. If you go overdue your little one could be even younger when you travel.

I really don't want to put you off as it sounds amazing, but i had no idea how difficult and utterly exhausting those early weeks would be. Having been through it, I'm not sure that I'd be able to do a trip like that so quickly.

lydiangel83 Tue 11-Apr-17 12:43:24

Thanks @beekeeper17 I think you're probably right, that's basically what my mum was saying. I can't tell how I will be / baby will be until nearer the time so will have to be a last minute decision I think

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