Things To Do In Japan With Kids: Use Public Transportation

1 May

I am sure many parents of little boys will agree: Boys LOVE vehicles of all kinds. My daughter thinks they are fun too, but my toddler son gets SUPER excited about anything with wheels that goes “vroom vroom!”. So as you can imagine, a trip to Japan made his eyes sparkle! We rode airplanes, lots of trains, shinkansen (bullet train), taxis, buses, a ferry, and some vehicles made just for kids at amusement parks.

Here’s my kids seeing a Japanese train for the first time:

And here’s their reaction every time a train whizzed by:

Their reaction is completely priceless (to me), and just seeing them enjoy the trains alone made the whole trip worth the effort.

We even braved the train during rush hour one day on the way to Disneyland. We were all squished up against one another and could barely breathe, which made for a memorable experience! (Note: strollers are not fun to have during rush hour!)

We really enjoyed riding the Shinkansen (thank you, JR Pass!). Unlike on an airplane, you are free to move around whenever you want, there’s lots of areas to explore, and there are yummy bento boxes for sale. And I can’t forget to mention that the scenery outside is fun to look at too! How awesome would it be to have Shinkansen’s in America! It would surely make traveling to see relatives or going on vacation a lot of more fun for kids.

My son loved the trains so much we made sure to buy him some goodies from the Sanrio Shinkansen line, including a bento box and accessories. We also got him a diecast shinkansen, which he loves to play with! (Click here for some free printable shinkansen papercrafts from Sanrio, and click here for a shinkansen coloring page perfect for Children’s Day!)


In case you missed it, I am giving away a hiragana chart this week! Go to the post below for details 🙂

6 Responses to “Things To Do In Japan With Kids: Use Public Transportation”

  1. Asianmommy May 1, 2012 at 3:35 PM #

    How funny–they are so cute!

  2. Sasha May 3, 2012 at 8:43 AM #

    Thx for sharing!
    As about the stroller, I’ve been using a hand made “scarf” (dunno what its called in english, there’s a pic at the end of my post) since my baby girl was born. I’m still using it when she’s tired of walking. It’s really convenient and the baby/toddler doesn’t seem to weigh even half its weight!

    Anyway, the reason I’m posting that is that I thought it was a traditional way of carrying babies in Japan (or so Japanese friends told me… but maybe I misunderstood) and they thought I had learnt it in Japan. I was very much surprised, and now that you’re talking about your stroller issues, I’m wondering.

    • Hiragana Mama May 3, 2012 at 11:53 AM #

      I saw a lot of moms in Japan using baby carriers/slings/wraps to tote their babies/young toddlers around. That is definitely the way to go. My toddler is definitely too big and heavy for a sling! I used a sling when he was a baby though.

  3. AdelaideBen (@Adelaide_Ben) May 7, 2012 at 9:09 PM #

    It’s always an amazing thing seeing public transport in Tokyo in peak-hour… but then again, it’s not something I enjoyed with our son. I still remember we got caught out last year (during some of the big aftershocks) in Tokyo and having to catch trains after they had been shut down for about 20mins… with the crowds just piling up higher and higher. Was one of the scariest moments of my life trying to stop our son getting squashed (seriously scary – for me and him).

    The other thing about the shinkansen is that they’re almost a door to door service… I love the fact that you can board in the centre of the cities without having to go through the hassle of traveling to airports (a hassle in Japan IMO). It’s also quite an experience to travel that fast that close to the ground. My wife was a little freaked by it.

    • Hiragana Mama May 8, 2012 at 7:13 AM #

      It’s definitely an adrenaline rush (using the train at rush hour)– exciting and scary at the same time!

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