So our first time in Japan has been amazing, to say the least. It truly is a beautiful place and the sights you see and the people you meet are just indescribable.
We certainly learned a lot on this trip and if I had my time again, these are some of the major things I wish I knew beforehand!!
Planning is a must!
I am a planner by nature. But Jezz isn’t and as he booked this trip we didn’t have much organised or planned ahead besides accommodation.
Mostly because of the language barrier, I think it’s important that you plan your trip as much as you can. Especially if you are travelling with young kids.
It’s really hard to just “wing”, as a lot of the best things to see and do are hidden little gems!
I couldn’t have survived without the help of Jo at the Tokyo Chapter. Literally, everything we saw, did and ate was something we read on her blog!
Even down to what days you do things like Disney and Universal, as weekends are WAY more packed.
I would sit down and write a list of what you want to do first, and THEN plan your days around that!
Stay close to train stations
For the love of God, make life easy on yourself.
Trains are everything in Japan. We caught a cab once, and Uber wasn’t really a thing and twice the price!
They seem scary at first but once you get the hang of it, they make complete sense! We loved catching the trains in the end, it was the best way to get around.
Just not overly pram friendly, which leads me to my next point!
It’s not always the most pram friendly
We were lucky we had a small and compact travel pram we could fold quickly when needed, and haul up and downstairs.
You wouldn’t want a big traditional pram, NO WAY!
There are lifts, but they are always far away or it takes 3 separate ones to get where you need.
And then sometimes you just cannot find one – lol. Or the line is 15 people deep.
My suggestion would be baby-wear for young kids and travel pram for older. Or no pram at all if you can do it – but if you’re doing theme parks, you need it!
Pick up WiFi at the airport
Boy, do I wish I knew this at the start of the trip.
We were using the data plan with Telstra which is $10 per 500mb, which we were using 5-6 times over in a day – yeh whoops!
We got the Japan Wireless while in Osaka and it’s unlimited!! (Thanks again, Jo)
It works wherever you are and so we could use wifi out and about and at home with multiple devices connected.
You can pick one up at the airport OR get it delivered straight to your hotel or Airbnb. Just pre-order via the website.
It gets really hot & humid
Umm, no one warned me! It’s worse than mid-Jan Cairns humid!!
Hot and sweaty, while hauling around kids needs some serious planning! Water, sunscreen, clothes…
On the hottest day, it was 36 in Osaka and we were ROASTING!!! Yet, somehow pools in hotels are closed? SAY WHAT???
Oh and my next point…
Pools close at hotels
Yup!! Booked a fancy hotel with epic outdoor pool andddddd it was closed!! Even though it’s so hot still.
Apparently, some pools are only open for June/July months, and closed the rest of the year? It’s a thing here!!
So make sure you check the pool open dates before you book based on that! Otherwise, your kids will be sure to let you know about it – lol!
Their parks and playgrounds are amazing though!
So the pools might be closed, but they make up for it with amazing parks and playgrounds. We must have visited 3-4 in just the Roppongi area and they were all so unique and cool.
I highly recommend checking out the robot park in Roppongi Hills!
You can find tonnes of suggestions via Jo’s blog also, The Tokyo Chapter!
The mosquitos are evil
Again, I had no idea haha – really should have done my research hey?
Ted is prone to flare up from bites, but never been this bad from a mozzie. Their mozzies must just be extra AF!?
They got so bad and kept biting her that she scratched and bled. And of course, parent of the year didn’t have anything on hand and it was wayyyyy too hard at the pharmacy to work out something to help 🙁
Bring tropical strength repellant!
Go hotels over AirBNB
So in Osaka, our Airbnb host required us to go into the City and pick up keys from a central location and sign in.
It was well out of the way of our place. And after 6 hours of travel from Tokyo, we were well and truly over it.
Apparently is some special zone, set by the council that requires you to do it?
The place was amazing and in a fab location. But from what I’ve read, they don’t have the best rap in Japan.
I hope these tips and hints have been helpful but as I said all along, we couldn’t have survived without reading The Tokyo Chapter – make sure you follow her here.