[Travel with Baby] Experience Kansai, Japan
When we decided there's no way we can travel freely leaving our 6-month-old baby boy behind, we actually felt much relieved. The rest we needed to do was to plan our trip carefully, taking every possible aspect into consideration. While we were concerned that things might go a little uncontrolled with a baby tagging along, we didn't regret our decision. We returned from the trip, thinking it was one of the most marvellous trips we've ever been on. If you're thinking about it, are ambivalent about it, why don't just give yourself and your baby a go, perhaps you will end up loving the experience like we do.
📍 Destination: Kansai region in Japan (Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe)
📆 Date: 3 November 2019 - 10 November 2019
📖 Duration: 1 week
🌡 Av. Temperature: Autumn 🍂 , around 15°C during day time, slightly lower after sunsets.
✈️ Flight details: AirAsia X
🛫 D7 1 KUL ➡️ KIX 🛬 D7 2 KIX ➡️ KUL
This post shares our experience on:
➡️ Preparation before departure
➡️ The Itinerary
➡️ Accommodation throughout the trip
➡️ Overall Expenses
➡️ Additional Tips
PREPARATION BEFORE DEPARTURE
1. Passport Application for Infant
The procedure of infant passport application is very straightforward, much similar to the passport application of adult citizens. To apply for your baby's international passport, do bring along:
1. MyKid - original and copy
2. Birth certificate - original and copy
3. One of the parents' Identification Card - original and copy
The parent who provides item (3) above, should present with the infant during application. Infants below age of 2 may enjoy the privilege of priority lane, making the whole process much convenient and hassle-free.
2. Packing for Baby
As much as we wish to travel light, there are some essentials which we think shouldn't be missed out. We agree that some baby supplies can be easily sourced in Japan but some will create a nightmare should the supply run out mid of trip. Hence, we have carefully listed down things to be packed in our baby's luggage, because it's better safe than sorry.
Here's the reference:
Do you need a simple traveling kit for your baby? Check out The Family Book's Baby Travel Kit.
Depending on your intended destinations, certain vaccinations are required prior to departure. Remember to consult a paediatrician. As some vaccinations take time to take effect, it is always advisable to plan ahead.
- Day 0 - From Kuala Lumpur to Osaka
We arrived in Osaka Kansai Airport (KIX) at around 10PM. We took a ride on : Airport Express and headed for the : Station in city centre. The journey took around 50 minutes. It was a long, tiring day onboard a flight so after the late check-in, we called it a day.
(Read more about railway map from Kansai Airport here.)
- Day 1 - Kuromon Market - Osaka Castle - Shinsaibashi - Dotonbori
Kuromon Market: This is a real foodie's paradise. Although there are merchants selling a wide variety of everything, most visitors come here for food. From freshest sashimi to grilled premium Kobe beef, there wasn't a nook which left us bored. We had great time exploring Japanese eating culture here. (Learn more)
Osaka Castle: Undoubtedly, Osaka Castle is the most well-known landmark in Osaka. It is said that it played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century. While the castle itself is a sight to behold, the public urban park surrounding it shouldn't be ignored too. It is a great place to spend time with family and friends while embracing the nature. (Learn more)
Shinsaibashi: The main shopping district in the city. Here you can find international brands as well as local boutiques.
Dotonbori: Another vibrant street adjoining Shinsaibashi. We were astounded by the many striking billboards along the street. Many people come to Dotonbori to witness the most iconic giant billboard, the Glico sign.
- Day 2 - Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan - Tsutenkaku/ Shinsekai
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan: Kaiyukan is one of Japan’s most spectacular aquariums, housing 30,000 creatures encompassing 620 species.
Tsutenkaku: This is the iconic landmark near Shinsekai. On the 5th floor, there is an observatory with a view of Osaka, and statue of Biriken, a god that is said to bring good luck to those who stroke the bottom of its feet.
Shinsekai: There are many interesting eateries in this neighbourhood. However, do take note that there is a sizeable homeless population around Shinsekai, hence it is one of Japan's more seedy and dangerous neighbourhoods.
- Day 3 - Kyoto - Higashiyama District & Gion District
Train to Kyoto: The train ride from Osaka to Kyoto takes around 1 hour 15 minutes.
Higashiyama & Gion Districts: Kyoto's best historic districts, the Higashiyama District and the Gion District. This is definitely the most attractive part of Kyoto, it gives the visitors a nostalgic mood of olden Kyoto. If time permits, don't forget to include a visit to Kiyomizudera Temple.
- Day 4 - Arashiyama Bamboo Grove - Togetsukyo - Commercial District of Shijo-dori
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove: This is one of the Kyoto's top sights. The forest consists of several pathways for tourists and visitors. It is amazing to stand amidst of soaring bamboo stalks.
Togetsukyo: This pedestrian bridge offers picturesque view across the Katsura River. Apart from being on the bridge, visitors should also grab the opportunity to stroll along the riverbank walkway.
Shijo-dori: Undoubtedly, Shijo-dori (or the Fourth Avenue) is a bustling shopping area, especially the intersection with Kawaramachi Street. The area is dense with international luxury brand outlets, as well as Japan homegrown brands. If you're here, we do recommend Katsukura, a popular tonkatsu restaurant.
- Day 5 - Nishiki Market - Wan Zhu Ji Dan Dan Noodles - Daimaru Kyoto - Kobe
Nishiki Market: Visitors should not leave Kyoto before visiting Nishiki Market. Known as "Kyoto's Kitchen", Nishiki Market has a pleasant but busy atmosphere that is inviting to those who want to explore the variety of culinary delights that Kyoto is famous for.
Wan Zhu Ji Dan Dan Noodles: After Nishiki Market, you probably are half full (if not completely full). Don't leave the area without trying Wan Zhu Ji Dan Dan Noodles. It offers a great variety of dishes and noodles. Sit at the bar where you can see the chefs making the food in front of you. Click here for its location.
Daimaru Kyoto: This department store is just a few doors away from Wan Zhu Ji. Visitors will be amazed by the "Feast Paradise" located here on B1F/B2F floor. There are many food stalls vending a wide range of food products. Not only does it open visitors' eyes to the culinary scene of Japan, but also acts as a delicatessen where visitors can try out authentic Japanese food. Click here for its location.
Train to Kobe: The train ride from Kyoto to Kobe takes around 1 hour 15 minutes.
- Day 6 - Gourmet City - Kobe Harborland
Gourmet City: This is an ideal supermarket to visit if you wish to buy local food products as souvenir. Or just to simply buy some takeaway food for picnic. Click here for its location.
Kobe Harborland: Kobe Harborland is a modern entertainment and shopping district. It has become one of Kobe’s major tourist attractions and is home to some of the city’s best waterfront sights during a night out. The Kobe Tower is located here too.
- Day 7 - Kobe Chinatown (Nankinmachi) - Kuala Lumpur
Kobe Chinatown (Nankinmachi): This neighbourhood is located in the central of Kobe and it is a center of the Chinese community in the Kansai region. There are many interesting eateries in this area offering different Chinese cuisine.
[Osaka] Hotel WBF Namba BUNRAKU
ADDRESS: 〒542-0072 Kozu 2-chome 4-10, Chuo-ku, Osaka PHONE:＋81(0)6-6213-4690 FAX:＋81(0)6-6213-4810
[Kyoto] Rinn Nijo Castle
ADDRESS: 604-8324 Kyoto, Kyoto, Nakagyo-ku Aneinokumacho 322, Japan
[Kobe] Hotel Wing International Kobe - Shinnagata Ekimae
ADDRESS: 653-0038 Hyogo, Kobe, Nagata-ku Wakamatsu-cho 5-1-1, Japan
PHONE: +81 78-611-7270
✈️ Flight tickets (Round trip): RM3065 (RM2670 air fare + RM308 Bassinet seat + RM88 seat selection)
🏨 Accommodation (Osaka / 3 nights): RM771
🏨 Accommodation (Kyoto / 2 nights): RM760
🏨 Accommodation (Kobe / 2 nights): RM588
🎫 Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan: RM99 X 2 = RM198 (Inclusive of tickets and one-day unlimited rides on metro, bus, trains etc)
🎫 Tsutenkaku: RM30 X 2 = RM60
🚄 Public transportation: RM225 X 2 = RM450
🍜 Other expenses (Meals, shopping etc) : RM3500
💰 TOTAL: RM9392 (for 2 adults and 1 infant)
The air in Japan in the month of November could be quite dry. Apply lotion and moisturisers regularly. Be mindful about skin exposed to air, especially lips.
Public transportation network and system can be confusing for first-timers. You will find how handy a map is in this case.
For more convenience, it is advisable to purchase ICOCA card. It is like multifunctional all-purpose prepaid card. You can use it to pay transportation fares, pay at many check out counters etc. Other rechargeable contactless smart cards such as SUICA, PASMO are acceptable and are as good as ICOCA in this region.
Japan is a baby-friendly country. Throughout our trip, we're delighted to find that many public areas and tourists' attractions are equipped with baby-friendly facilities, making almost everywhere accessible. Besides, the friendly locals are always ready to offer help. This has undoubtedly contributed in perfecting our trip. As we travelled with a baby, we had to adjust our pace and some pre-planned itinerary has to be given up. Nevertheless, it's an awesome trip!