One of my greatest concerns for the trip was accommodation. She would be 10 months old by the time we travel and she will be crawling around! Hotels aren’t my best options. There wouldn’t be much space in the room and I am not sure if the floors/carpets are really clean. After researching a bit more, I figured that tatami style accommodation is best suited for us.
So for this trip to Japan, we booked all tatami style apartments via airbnb, which I have used for my past holidays. We selected tatami style apartments for a few reasons. We don’t have to worry about our little friend falling off the bed or requesting for extra cot/bed (no surcharge though).
We also wanted to make sure that she is not confined to the bed or cot, and has ample space to move around. Tatami style is a major plus point!
It is also extremely useful to book an apartment instead of a hotel room because there will be facilities to prepare her meals and to do laundry. Another bonus point!
These are the specific links to where we stayed:
Keihoku: Keihoku is such a hidden gem but a 1hr20mins bus ride away from Kyoto. The hosts (Kei and Midorie) are very warm and welcoming, who tailor-made a tour of the region according to our interest. They made us feel like family, made sure we felt at home and the programme/places to eat are all baby-friendly. Midorie whipped up a sumptuous home-cooked meal for us on our first night, and invited us to join a gathering of their on our second. We had a jolly good time interacting with the locals. At the end of 2 fabulous days and nights, we only wished that we could have stayed longer!
Kyoto:Maki is an excellent host, always ensuring that we are comfortable and have everything we need. She brought us out to town on our first night for dinner and showed us the way around Kyoto. She also recommended us to take the 1-day pass for city buses for 500yen/pax, which saves us a lot of money. The city buses go to all the attractions within Kyoto and even to Arashiyama. It is also the most value for money as you will need to take bus to return to her place, unless you are cycling: one bus out and one bus back. She provided us with maps and all the information we need, and recommended some of the local favourites. Though her place is located on a uphill, it was a good exercise after eating so much in Kyoto! With that, it might not be too suitable for the elderly and or if you are traveling with young children. Ginkaku and The Philosopher’s Walk are within walking distance from her place, which is perfect to fit them into our itinerary as we arrive after lunch.
Osaka: It is a small but cosy and very clean apartment, which had everything we needed The location is great: a bakery downstairs and a supermarket opposite. There were also lots of food options at Teradocho, the nearest station (about 5 minutes walk) to the apartment. It was a pity we did not get to meet her, but she was very prompt in reply messages whenever we needed help and recommendations. She also provided very detailed directions of the way to get to her place.
On meals and food
While there is an option to buy the ingredients from the local supermarket and cook, we decided to prepare her favourite foods at home, freeze and bring them over. We considered jarred/instant baby food but C didn’t fancy them. So homemade it is. The frozen foods are transported over in a cooler bag (my unimom cooler bag), small enough so that all the packets are tightly packed together. Since they are all frozen, they keep each other cool in their frozen state.
I store her food in breastmilk bags, 2 portions (lunch and dinner) in each bag. They are a selection of her favourites: azuki with mixed fruits, japanese sweet potato apple cinnamon, salmon belly porridge, pumpkin azuki porridge etc. Before we leave for the day’s activities each day, we heat up her food and store it in the thermal flask. We scoop up a portion during lunch and keep the rest for dinner.
In the morning, C will have a milk feed before we leave and a morning snack along the way when we are traveling. We brought along some baby biscuits from home, and bought some bread and dorayaki (pancake sandwiched with red bean paste – we gave mostly the pancake bit). C seems to enjoy anything made from flour so she likes all the Japanese bread and pancakes. Not to mention that the Japanese bread and pancakes are sooooo good!
Between lunch and dinner, she has milk and some snacks too. I am so thankful that I am still breastfeeding her which makes her milk feed so much easier. All I need is somewhere to sit, nursing cover and myself. It’s extremely convenient, lesser things to bring out and wash!
Now about the adults. Some of you may ask if we visit baby friendly restaurants in Japan. We didn’t. The only thing we make sure was that the restaurant is a non-smoking one. We ate at wherever we want: some counter top eateries, a yakitori bar, some tatami style restaurants provided a little more space for the baby to move about. There was one meal when I breastfeed her throughout while we are at a conveyor belt sushi place. The husband and I took turns to entertain and feed her during meal times.
Now that we have settled the planning of itinerary, accommodation and food, I will be sharing our flight experiences and preparation.
Disclaimer: We are not sponsored by airbnb and I am solely sharing based on our experiences.
Traveling with a 10-Month-Old Baby:
Before You Travel with Your Baby and Itinerary