Traveling, hands down, is one of the most fun, memorable, life-changing, relaxing activity you will ever experience in your life. But add children to the equation and it’s a totally different story.
There’s you worrying if they’ll behave through out the flight, about them not having any pf that exotic foreign cuisine, not to mention the thought of your precious little ones getting lost or figuring in an accident. Oh the horror!
This is why it’s important to plan tour trip abroad, to do as much research as you can about the place, and to chose the place carefully. I mean every country has it’s quirks, but you’ll have to make sure to match said quirks with what your family can handle.
During our recent trip to Japan, we discovered how perfect the country is for traveling even with very small kids! We’ve done our own bit of traveling before getting married and we know for a fact that not all tourist spots are ideal for parents with small children. There’s the steep roads you’ll have to think of or even absence of roads in some cases.
Here are seven good reasons why we think Japan is perfect for parents who want to travel with small children
1. Efficient transport system
Japan has one of the most efficient transport systems in the world, so its easy to get around. They’re reliable, fast, and are on time. So it’s easy to plan your daily activities around the bus or train’s scheduled arrival or departure.
There are also designated bus stops that serve certain bus numbers. These bus number ply routes that cover most tourist spots directly. Those that don’t have stops a few meters away.
2. Roads are pedestrian and stroller friendly
As much as transport system is convenient, people do a lot of walking in Japan. Stations are located meters away from each other and there is no other option but to walk to your nearest station. If you’re not used to walking it’s best to get a hotel or accommodation near the station.
The good thing about it though is that the roads are made to be very pedestrian friendly. There are wide sidewalks allocated for people walking, using their bicycles, and *cue drum roll* parents pushing strollers. This is what we loved most about Japan.
Kids can walk freely on the sidewalk because there’s a designated pedestrian lane separated from the road. This way you don’t have to worry about your kid venturing out onto the cars’ way. The lanes are wide enough to fit a few people and some strollers too.
3. Escalators and elevators in stations
Almost all the stations there have escalators and most importantly elevators perfect for parents pushing strollers.
Now we say almost because there were times when we were in a hurry and couldn’t find the elevator so we had to fold the stroller to ride the escalator.
4. There’s really good food in the grocery
My kids loved the food in Japan. Even the ones with writing they couldn’t understand. There were times when my kids didn’t know what it was but they liked it.
They have scrumptious food stuff in the grocery that won’t break the bank and let’s not even get started with their pastries. We especially liked trying a different one everyday. They make really soft, chewy, and rich cheese breads in Japan which kids would love.
Mains are kid friendly too, they have soup, noodles, fish and fried chicken (karage) that would cater even to your kid’s picky palate.
5. It’s relatively safe
Now it depends on how you define safe. But if safe means you can walk downtown at 12 midnight (which we did) without fear of getting hurt then Japan is very very safe.
You’ll see people in suits coming home from work at 8 or 9 pm riding their bikes home without worry. Houses here don’t have grills for their windows and sliding doors. In some cities people don’t even lock their doors!
Streets are well lit, and although there aren’t alot of police around, you’ll know that it’s because they don’t really need them to be around all the time.
6. There are tons of attractions your kids will love
Japan is like a giant theme park for kids. There are so many things to do here for kids that a week or two isn’t really enough to tour all areas.
It’s a great place to raise children or to take children to travel. They have numerous beautiful parks with wide open spaces where kids can walk and run around. They have zoos in every city, dozens of museums catering to every child’s whim and interest. They have tons of specialty restaurants like the owl cafe in Nara or Pikachu restaurant in Tokyo.
They also have big aquariums with beautiful creatures of the deep, amazing theme parks like Universal in Osaka, Disney Sea in Tokyo, and Legoland in Nagoya.
There are so many places and spots in Japan that offer to create memorable experiences for families with small kids.
7. People love kids
One beautiful thing I noticed about the locals in Japan is that they love kids. And I don’t just say that because kids 5 and under travel in trains and buses for free but because throughout our visit we met so many people who were so nice to my children.
I have lost count of the grandmas who kept entertaining my kids in the bus, trying their best to converse in english so they can teach my kids about the tourist spots.
People were almost always smiling at my kids , saying “kawaii” (pretty) to my daughter. The women who dressed my kids in kimono enjoyed the kids’ company they put a big ribbon on top of my kid’s head, dressed her up nicely and carried her around like a doll.
They love love love kids in there. And I could feel that little children get special treatment in Japan. The country makes kids feel loved and appreciated. They are given opportunities to explore the world, they are fed scrumptious healthy food, and are treated nicely in Japan.
This is why I think it is one of the best places in the world to travel with small children.