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July 2022

Cultural Article

Traveling with My Baby in Japan

by Tomomi Dodd

Recently I had a chance to travel to Japan with my husband and 4-month-old baby, and I would like to write about my experience of what it was like traveling there with an infant. Since I am working for a research institute dealing with transportation, I would like to focus on those parts of the trip.


Our first and biggest challenge was a flight to Tokyo from Washington, D.C. (which took about 13 hours!). Of course, we were very nervous about flying with a 4 month old baby…..! We immediately reserved a bassinet through the ANA customer center after we booked the flights. On the day of, as having a baby allowed us prior boarding, we were better able to relax and prepare for seating. Upon boarding, ANA flight attendants gave us warm smiles, saying, “Is there anything we can do to help? Please let us know any time.” They attached a bassinet to the wall in front of us soon after the flight departed. Some bathrooms on the plane had a changing station for babies. Though the space was small like on any other airline, we had no problem working with what was provided. Despite of all of our anxieties, our baby was happy in general and slept well in the bassinet. The return flight was somewhat the same experience as well, and we did not have any major problems, luckily!

A bassinet on the plane

Though my family lives near Tokyo, we made an excursion to Kagoshima, Kyushu to see our college friend. On the way to Kagoshima from Haneda, I used Jetstar. On the way back, I used Skymark. Both of them are LCC. After experiencing a 13-hour flight, a 2-hour flight felt so easy! Baby slept for basically the whole time. I once asked the flight attendant for hot water to make a bottle for him, and they immediately worked on my request. 


Throughout my trip, I was amazed to see all the bathrooms and nursing rooms designed for parents and babies. There was a special chair designed to seat infants where you can safely place your baby while you use the bathroom. Airports and many shopping malls have large nursing rooms with good privacy, changing stations, and they are very clean. 

Changing stations

From Left to Right: Nursing room, Microwave and hot water machine located in a nursing room, A chair to put an infant in a bathroom stall

Traveling by train with a baby can be also very fun (except when it’s rush hour and the trains are full of people)! Some train cars have designated space for baby strollers. Almost every station has an elevator and escalator. And as you know, Japanese trains are very punctual. You can look for routes online in advance to minimize hassle!

Assigned space for baby strollers and wheel chairs (left) and Escalator at a train station (right)

Overall, I had a great time traveling with a baby in Japan. This may be because I am Japanese and do not have any language problems there. However, even a little hassle with the language could be a fun memory for traveling, don’t you think? I hope you will have opportunities to travel to Japan and have a great time, with or without babies!

Baby slept well at a hot spring hotel after he enjoyed a bath

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