Tips for Visiting Tokyo with Your Family
Tips for Visiting Tokyo with Your Family
CareFinder previously shared important points to keep in mind during a summer visit to Tokyo. From the weather forecast, to what to wear and what to eat, you can find a host of helpful insights in that article here.
In addition to our previous tips, we want to share some additional considerations for a trip to Tokyo this year.
Fortunately, we appear to be beyond the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Japan lifted many restrictions as of earlier this year; there is no vaccination requirement to enter the country and masks are not required by the government. However, some businesses may still ask that patrons be masked and it has long been common practice in Japan to wear a mask if you are not feeling well, so you can expect to see many people still wearing theirs.
As with any travel abroad — pandemic or not — it's always a good idea to be prepared in case you fall ill. Be aware, though, that there are some common Western medications that are not allowed in Japan, even if you have a prescription for them. If you will need to bring medicine with you on your trip, your best bet is to consult this page from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare and to reach out to the appropriate contact with any questions.
Paying for Things
Cash is king. Japan may seem like the robot-city of your futuristic dreams, but you'd be surprised at how many situations you'll find yourself in that require cash payment. Fortunately, it's rarely ever more than a few blocks' walk to the nearest 7-11 for an ATM. Plan ahead to save yourself those pricey cash-withdrawal fees from a foreign bank.
You should also invest in transit cards. Whether you choose Suica or Pasmo — they both work in the same way — it will be much easier to hop on the next train or stock up on the amazing novelty snacks at the conbini with one of these cards. On most trains, including those on JR Rail outside of the city, children under six ride for free.
Mind Your Manners
Speaking of trains, it is considered impolite to hold conversations on them. Unlike the loud hustle and bustle of the subway in places like New York City or London, Tokyo's metros are eerily quiet — even when revelers make their way home after an evening of highballs. Young children and foreigners may get a pass for not knowing the rule, but it's always best to observe local customs whenever possible! Practice the "Quiet Game" with your children ahead of your trip.
Surprisingly, escalators are also an area with a prescribed set of rules. In Tokyo, you should stand to the left side, leaving space on your right for anyone rushing to catch their next train or who's otherwise impatient. In Osaka and Kyoto, stand on the right side. This may become one of your favorite Japanese customs; escalators elsewhere will seem chaotic and inefficient in comparison!
There are also very few public trashcans in the city. You can usually find one (that's probably close to overflowing) next to vending machines, but otherwise, be prepared to carry with you any trash you accumulate while touring around Tokyo. You'll find that despite the lack of bins, the city is very clean; this is likely because it is also not common to eat or drink while walking. Consume your sustenance where you purchase it to save yourself from carrying the kids' discarded Hi-Chew wrappers on your journey.
Sightseeing Sans Children
Tokyo is an incredible city to visit with your family and is in many ways a very kid-friendly destination. But, just like at home, where you may find yourself in need of a helping hand or an adults-only evening, Tokyo also offers plenty of things to do that may not be of interest to your little ones. Whether it's late-night karaoke or a swanky meal at one of the city's world-renowned restaurants, you can take advantage of CareFinder's 30-day pass to easily find a qualified, high-quality babysitter. Learn more about membership to the CareFinder community during your trip here.