Tokyo in 5 days with a baby

Old Aug 12th, 2004, 08:04 AM
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Tokyo in 5 days with a baby

We will be traveling to Tokyo with our 15-month old baby next month - and I've heard that the place is not baby-friendly...looking for specific tips:

1. My current plan is to spend 3 nights in a Ryokan in Tokyo - is a Ryokan-stay advisable with a baby?

2. My flight reaches Tokyo at 9:30 in the night and we intend to go to Hakone next morning. Would it be advisable to spend the first night in a Hotel near the airport rather than going to the city? (given the travel time to the city from the airport and the hassle with the bags)

3. My current plan is to spend 4 nights in Tokyo (with 3 full days for sight-seeing) and 1 night in Hakone - any suggestions on must-dos/may-avoids?

4. How easy is it to travel in a Tokyo subway with a baby (and a stroller) - any particular tips?
1540 is offline  
Old Aug 12th, 2004, 02:09 PM
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We traveled in Tokyo two years ago. We didn't have a baby. I think you would find Tokyo with a baby to be no worse than Manhattan or Chicago or London or Paris with a baby (and no better!), for example the subway, taxis, sidewalks are all about the same. Tokyo does have some nice large parks, for example at the royal palace and in Ueno where there are good combinations of outdoor space and museums. I don't know about a ryokan with a baby. Two things to consider, even grownups sleep on mats on the floor and there are usually rice paper screens and other I suppose. We did see Japanese families with toddlers in our ryokans, just not in Tokyo. Enjoy your trip!
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Old Aug 12th, 2004, 09:48 PM
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I agree with the previous post...travelling with a baby in Tokyo will be no worse than travelling in any other major city. So if you're comfortable travelling with a baby, then it should be easy. I stay with family when visiting Tokyo, so I can't give you any tips on a ryokan or hotels.

Taking the subway or trains in Tokyo is pretty easy once you figure it out. And it shouldn't be difficult with a baby. I recommend buying the most recent guide book that has a current map of the Tokyo subway, mainly because it will be written in English. You can match the map you have in English with the one at the subway station to help you figure out which line you need to get on. That's what I did and it helped me a lot. Also, there's always at least one ticket machine in English at each station, so look for one if you can't read Japanese.
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Old Aug 13th, 2004, 12:30 AM
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Bonjour 1540,

You should be fine in a ryokan. The Japanese love small children ("kawaiiii" means "how cute", by the way). Since you need at least 2 hours to get downtown (1 hour immigration and customs, 1 hour train to either Tokyo or Ueno), it might actually be better to stay close to the airport for the 1st night.

Navigating the subway is really easy, and more and more stations are equiped with elevators. Ask for recent maps at the tourist information counters in Narita. On short distances, busses are often better than subway, between Ueno and Asakusa or Akihabara, for example. Look for the "non-step bus" ...
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Old Aug 13th, 2004, 02:39 AM
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Hello! Just visited Tokyo and Hakone a week ago and had a wonderful time.

Our biggest regret, actually, was that we did not have enough time in Hakone which we found to be beautiful with a lot to offer in the summer outside the "circle" tours (which was great). We left early in the morning from Shinjuku station in Tokyo and left Hakone early the next morning for Kyoto. The ryokan we stayed at in Hakone, ICHINOYU HONKAN, was convenient to Hakone Yamote station and there were a lot of children- in fact the couple sitting at the table next to us at dinner had an adorable baby who seemed to be happy! The room we had was very large with tatami mats on the floor for sleeping, plus a separate sitting area with chairs and a private hotspring (it was our biggest splurge).

As I'm not an expert in Japanese geography someone else should be able to give you a better idea of how to get there from the airport, but you can take a train either directly to Hakome Yomote train station from Shinjuku in the city or JR train to Odawara where you switch to a local train to Hakone Yomote (spelling?).

For Tokyo subways, we found them easy to navigate. However, there are often very long (and crowded) tunnels when changing trains so just be ready. There were always elevators and escalators in the stations though.

We stayed at the Keio Plaza in Tokyo and loved it. We got a great rate with breakfast included and found the service to be first rate.
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Old Aug 13th, 2004, 06:25 AM
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On my first visit to Tokyo I thought the subway was bewildering, I wasn't quite prepared for it (as Gekko was) but I did manage.

You might search this forum for "stroller" because the subject has been discussed here, I think, by people who actually took babies to Japan.

Considering your arrival time, it does seem that staying at the airport is a good idea, but you might just consider taking a hotel bus.

On arrival, you could get your bags and then catch a shuttle bus to your airport hotel. Next morning, grab your bags, take the shuttle back to the airport, I guess, and then take a bus or train into the city and go to your Tokyo hotel.

That is one way, but if you stay at a Tokyo hotel that is served by the airport buses, then here is a different scenario:

On arrival, you catch a bus to your Tokyo hotel. Next morning you are at your Tokyo hotel.
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