When Sukhjeet Batth—a doctor based out of California—and his wife were considering where to travel for their first big trip as a family of three with their 16-month-old son, they wanted to go somewhere modern, clean, and kid-friendly. Japan ticked all the boxes, but what truly sealed the deal for them was the experience that their friends had had in the country. “It was just a unanimous thing where every single person that went loved it,” Batth told us, “so it’s always been on our list.”
We caught up with Batth after he returned home to hear more about his experience traveling with a baby in Japan—including the game-changing recommendations he’d give to future family travelers.
What was your favorite thing about traveling to Japan?
Definitely the people. Everyone warned us before the trip to be careful in restaurants because society is generally more rule-following and people aren’t as loud, but everyone was just so accommodating and understanding. Part of that was our Journy trip designer who set everything up and made it so that we didn’t end up in places where we’d be uncomfortable with a baby, but another part of it was just the people and how friendly they were. That was definitely our favorite thing about Japan. It was really sweet, in Kyoto, they even had a little kimono for him. One for mom and dad, and one for the baby!
On a practical level, what were some of the most kid-friendly things about Japan?
Well there are these family rooms everywhere–they’re special little restrooms for parents and their kids, and they’re so nice. They’ve got big changing table areas, diaper disposals, and even these little seats to put the kids inside if mom or dad need to use the restroom. And then of course, in every hotel room there was a crib.
Anything that wasn’t as kid-friendly?
While there were elevators in Tokyo, there were fewer in Kyoto, so it was a little harder. I definitely learned how to use a stroller on the escalator, which you’re technically not supposed to do, but it worked totally fine.
READ MORE: A Guide To Tokyo With Kids
What was it like working with Misako, your trip designer, to build the itinerary?
We’d used Journy before for little, 2-3-day trips here and there, but this was a bigger trip with a lot more things we wanted to fit in and see and do—and it was so easy. We’re usually really proactive, detail-oriented trip planners on our own, but it takes countless hours of our time, and then we are less excited about going on vacation because there’s all this trip planning we have to do.
All we had to do was tell Misako the kind of things we like to do, and then obviously some limitations with the baby. And the other thing that was nice—I have a friend who’s from Japan who had sent us some information, and I was able to pass that on to our trip designer. She looked at it and factored it in, so it just saved us tons and time and was very easy.
What was it like dining in Japan with a baby?
We definitely love food—it was one of the major reasons we wanted to go to Japan, but we knew there would be some limitations. Misako made sure all our restaurants were kid-friendly, and for the one fine dining experience we wanted to have, our trip designer suggested we stay in a hotel that has a nice restaurant and arrange a nanny through the hotel itself, which we never really would have thought of or done on our own. And so on one night we were able to do that, and it was so easy. We were calm because we knew we were just an elevator away from being back in the room if he wasn’t doing well with the nanny, but it worked out perfectly.
Traveling to Japan with a baby?
Leave the planning to Journy. When you travel with us, you'll get paired 1-on-1 with an expert Japan trip designer to custom-build an itinerary from scratch just for you. So if you need to plan around 3pm nap time, or only go to museums that have room for a stroller, or restaurants that have high chars...well, we've got you covered.