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Traveling to Japan with Kiddos? Here's Your Survival Guide!

  • 4 min read

Traveling to Japan with Kiddos? Here's Your Survival Guide!

My name is Christian. You see, I'm the head honcho of a crazy little gang of four. My eldest - a rambunctious 6-year-old who's convinced he's a ninja turtle, and the younger one, who at 4, already has the sass of a teenager.

Now, like any self-respecting Aussie, we recently decided to pack our bags and head off to the land of sushi, samurais, and sumo - yep, Japan! But wait, before you roll your eyes and think, "Oh great, another one of those travel gurus," let me stop you right there. I'm just a regular bloke who learned a thing or two during our epic adventure.

So, here I am, about to spill the beans on some handy-dandy tips and tricks. I promise, there's no rocket science involved, just some good old practical knowledge, served with a generous side of humor!

1. Food Fun: Before you panic about your little ones surviving on raw fish, remember Japan is home to way more than sushi. Kids love bento boxes, with cute shapes and colorful foods. And for those picky eaters, there are always Western-style restaurants. Below is a picture of Pokemon Cafe food - pre-book the tickets early if you want to get in. I hate to say this, but the food quality is average just, although they look cute.

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2. Train Travel: The train system in Japan is more complicated than trying to explain the rules of cricket to a toddler. But fear not! Get a Japan Rail Pass for unlimited rides and keep an eye out for 'women and children only' cars during rush hours. Trust me, it's a life-saver. Now, another practical tips for Train Travelling. One of their train passes is called Suika. For those Apple users, get your Suica App and use your iPhone to pay for your train trips (or even as a way to pay for your snacks at 7 Eleven). It can be added to your Apple Wallet and directly linked to your Credit Card. You can add more balance from your credit card. Follow the guides from Apple website here. Sorry Android users, at the time of writing this email (April 2024) - Suica App is not available for Android phones that are bought outside Japan.

Pro tips: Open up a Wise Account. It's probably the best prepay credit card that can be used overseas. I have used it in a few countries - and I love how great they are in terms of great exchange rates, security and budgeting. Check their website here, I highly recommend them.

PS. You'll get a perk of free transfer fee up to $950 AUD if you sign up using this link.

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3. Kid-friendly Activities: Between Disneyland in Tokyo, Universal Studios in Osaka, and countless kid-friendly museums and parks, your little ones will be entertained for hours. Or, you know, at least five minutes.

4. Language Learning: While not everyone in Japan speaks English, pictures and gestures go a long way. Teach your kids a few basic phrases like "Hello" (Kon'nichiwa) and "Thank you" (Arigatou). It'll be as amusing as watching Skippy the Bush Kangaroo trying to play the didgeridoo. Get a printed PDF of 20 basic Japanese phrases here.

5. Safety Measures: Japan is safer than a koala in a eucalyptus tree, but it doesn't hurt to have a plan. Teach your little ones to recognize the 'Koban' (police boxes) and have your hotel's address written in Japanese. If you are a paranoid parent like me, you might consider getting Apple Airtag with a wristband so you can track your active kids. Japanese are heavy Apple users, so you can rely that Airtag will always sends you a tracking signal. I bought two Apple Airtag wristbands from Amazon- and it works like a charm!

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6. Etiquette Essentials: Japan has more rules than your average game of backyard cricket. Simple ones to remember: don't stick chopsticks upright in rice, it's rude. And always take off your shoes before entering someone's home. This could be a great way to finally get your kids to stop tracking mud through the house!

7. Cultural Conquests: Embrace the local culture. Try a traditional tea ceremony or visit a beautiful temple. It might not be as exciting as a kangaroo boxing match, but it'll provide some great photo ops.

8. Facebook Group: Internet is your source of information. But you can easily overwhelmed yourself with too much information. Join the Facebook Group called Japan Travel Planning with Kids to talk interactively with other parents. Dont be shy to ask your questions away and trust me, somewhere out there, other parents are happy to reply to your questions.

So, there you have it, mates. Japan may seem as foreign as a dingo in a snowstorm, but with these tips, you'll navigate it like a pro. Remember, the journey is all part of the adventure. Or at least, that's what we keep telling ourselves as we fish another toy out of the toilet.

Safe travels!



Kids Toys Warehouse (Super Parent Wannabe)

PS. If you click on my affiliates/advertisers links, I am going to receive a tiny commission. AND… Most of the time, you will receive an offer. Win/Win! The products that I advertise are the ones I believe in.