Japan is a family-friendly destination that is easy to explore with children. It is safe, clean and affordable for families with children of all ages to enjoy. Some planning ahead of time and awareness of rules and guidelines that pertain to children can make for a more pleasant experience. Here are some helpful tips for traveling in Japan with children.
Age Classification For Children in Japan
For families traveling in Japan with children, understanding the classification can be important for entrance fees, tickets, prices, meals, and permissions. In Japan, children are identified by their grade rather than their age. While it this is way in Japan, for international travelers most often children are classified by their age since school systems vary around the globe. A standard rule in Japan is children that are the age of twelve or older are considered adults. Children that are age eleven and under are more likely to be considered children in terms of discounts. Children that are under the age of six are the most discounted and sometimes may enjoy many things without any charge.
Hotels in Japan with Children
Depending on where in Japan and which type of hotel, the rules may vary for families traveling in Japan with children. Some western-style hotels offer family rooms or extra beds. Check out the best family hotels in Tokyo and best family hotels in Kyoto for ideas. Beyond this, some hotels will allow children to share the bed if they are under 12. As a general rule, the charge is applied to the room, not the number of guests inside however some hotels will charge a fee for a child in the room.
Additionally, some hotels offer cots, pull-out couches or extra beds for a small fee. There is no standard rule, however, so families should always check in advance for the child fees in hotels in Japan. In hotels where meals are included such as traditional Ryokans, sometimes children eat for free or a discounted rate. Additionally, Ryokan often offers traditional rooms with tatami floors that can accommodate more beds. Alternatively, staying in Airbnb in Japan is a good choice for families as well as there more sleeping accommodations, kitchens, laundry, and great locations.
Getting around Japan with children
One of the best ways to get around Japan with children is using the trains. One thing for parents to keep in mind when traveling on trains in Japan with children are the large crowds. During the morning commute and rush hours, train platforms and trains can be very busy and crowded. If possible, parents should avoid peak times or just prepare accordingly for crowds. When traveling with strollers or young children this is particularly important for safety. Additionally, while most train platforms offer elevators or escalators they are not always in the most convenient places which can add a few extra steps.
For children six to eleven, train prices are half price (this includes bullet trains) and children under the age of six can ride the trains free of charge. For those travelers who are using a rail pass, most offer a half-price discount for children between the ages of six and eleven.
Taxis in Japan do not offer child seats, however, for those who choose to use rental cars, there is most often an option to rent car seats. Car rentals can be a helpful and effective way for families for travel to more remote parts of Japan outside of the major cities.
Parents with young children requiring nursing and change Rooms
Most public bathrooms in Japan, at least in major cities offer changing stations in both male and female bathrooms and sometimes family bathrooms are offered as well as larger disabled bathrooms providing more space and changing tables. In Japan, public bathrooms can be found in most train stations, convenience stores, shopping malls, and department stores and do not charge a fee to use the bathroom.
In some department stores and malls, there are designated nursing rooms where mothers can breastfeed comfortably and privately. While breastfeeding is permitted publicly in Japan, it is best to always be respectful and travel with a cover for modesty. Bathroom signs will usually indicate where new mothers can find nursing rooms.