How to Enjoy Hong Kong Disneyland with a One-year Old Baby

Instead of throwing a party, we celebrated our baby’s first birthday on April 25, 2019 in Hong Kong Disneyland, and we had a blast! Despite the summer heat and Hong Kong’s 98% humidity level on the day of Thomas’s birthday, he got to eat his cake, meet Mickey and watch The Lion King live!

Sure, we had to change diapers in the middle of the park because the nearest changing station was two blocks away from where we were, we had to stop periodically for feeding, and we had to buy a smaller cake when I accidentally dropped the bigger one and stepped on it, among many other pauses. 😂 Truly, traveling with a baby is never without a memorable mishap. But, at the end of the day, our hearts were full and we were very happy. When we saw how his eyes sparkled in awe with each character encounter, how he enjoyed the lights and songs, and how his face lit up inside the gift shops, we knew that taking him to Disneyland was a great decision .From the rides, to the shows, to the merchandise, truly, there is magic for everybody.

So, if you’re planning to bring your baby to this place, go for it! Don’t listen to naysayers telling you that your baby is too young to enjoy the attractions. In the happiest place place on earth, no one is too young nor too old to have fun. Disneyland is a baby-friendly place and you’d be surprised to see many babies and toddlers being lugged around from morning ’til night.

Here are 10 tips to enjoy Disneyland with your baby:

Bring that stroller!

We brought our trusty Joie Baby Pact along with our Ergo Baby Hip Seat Carrier. The stroller made going around so much easier, and allowed us to rest from carrying our bags and other stuff. The carrier was used every time our baby was on full koala mode. Otherwise, he was pretty relaxed in his pushchair. If you opt not to bring a stroller, you may rent one for HKD 140 at Main Street, USA. Stroller parking is available, just make sure to attach the stroller parking tag for safety.

They may not be used aboard Main Street vehicles and trains. Strollers rented in the park may not be taken outside of the park. Rain covers come with strollers during forecasted rainy days.

The maximum weight for a child seated in a stroller is 27 kg (60 lbs).

A refundable deposit of HKD100 per day is required. Reservation is not allowed.

Bring snacks and a water bottle

Guests are allowed to bring outside food and beverage items into the Park to drink and eat. For as long as they do not require heating, reheating, processing, refrigeration or temperature control and do not have pungent odors, you are free to enjoy your packed food. Forget about durian and instant cup noodles. You won’t be able to enjoy them anyway.

Bring your own water bottle and don’t be like us. We spent almost 300HKD on water alone. It was towards the end of our trip that we discovered the drinking fountains conveniently located outside restrooms and other public areas.

Here’s a list of complimentary drinking fountain locations across the park.

Drinking Cups

You may also request disposable cups to use at drinking fountains from the nearest restaurant or refreshment facility—at no extra charge.

Get familiar with the map

Although Hong Kong Disneyland is not too complicated to navigate, it is best to get familiar with the park prior to your trip, especially if you are traveling with a baby or a toddler. Take into consideration all the breaks you have take within the day and plot the areas where you want to do it to save time. For example, you know that baby takes a nap at 2 pm, so make sure you have already had your photos taken with Mickey at the gazebo before lunch, to make time for diaper change, feeding and other tasks before nap time. If you don’t plan your trip well, you’ll most probably spend more time looking for a certain attraction or facility than enjoying your stay. Make your life easier by downloading the Hong Kong Disneyland mobile app.

Experience the small joys that you can find in the park (especially if you are on a birthday trip)

Get a birthday badge at the guest services – if you’re going on your child’s birthday (or yours), it would be fun to get a badge as a souvenir. It’s free anyway. 🙂

Buy a mini Mickey cake at Starbucks (Main Street Bakery) – If you just want a simple cake that’s cute for photos, yummy and tiny enough to devour in 2 minutes because you seriously can’t savor a cake with a baby in tow, then go to Starbucks and get a small, round cheesecake. The cost is a fraction of the price of a regular celebration cake sold in Disneyland Hotel.

Buy a cap, an umbrella, a hand-held fan, and a bubble -maker – Trust us. These will save your lives. The fan calms baby down especially when it gets too humid; The bubble-maker is self-explanatory.

Don’t miss “It’s a Small World” – you and your baby will definitely enjoy this attraction. The colors, the music and the whimsical animated figures make it a truly awesome experience. And, since it’s a boat- ride in a cool, indoor place, you can take that time to rest your tired feet and reset for the day.

Watch the Lion King LIVE

The Festival of The Lion King is a 30-minute musical show that features Simba, Nala, Timon and Pumbaa, portrayed by amazing stage actors. You and your family will surely be impressed by the acrobats and fire dancers as they move to the beat of The Lion King songs we all love. TIP: Don’t sit too close to the stage so baby won’t get overwhelmed; check the schedule and make sure to be at the theater early because the line could get really long.

Plan your meals

Knowing where to take your meals could save you a lot of time and energy. Check this link for the types of cuisine and dining experience available .

We had our snacks and meals in Main Street Bakery, Royal Banquet Hall, Explorer Club Restaurant and Hollywood and Dine.

Take mini breaks

Traveling with a baby, especially during summer require a lot of mini rests in between. Hong Kong Disneyland is equipped with the necessary facilities and amenities for people with babies. Seating areas, drinking water stations and baby care center are easily accessible. Our favorite? 1. The park’s spacious and air conditioned restrooms 2. The air conditioned gift shops.

Take photos with characters

Need we say more? Just make sure you check the schedule of each meet and greet so you don’t end up standing in line just to be told that Mickey has to go because his time is up.

Stay until evening

The park transforms into an entirely different magical place at night when light shows happen, rides are illuminated and Mickey performs on Main Street.

Get a professional to take your photos

Immortalize your family trip by hiring a professional photographer. Sure, taking photos from your phone or camera is easy but precious moments are best captured by someone else especially if these are candid moments. It’s worth it.

We booked a session from Sweet Escape. This app is easy to use and they have really good customer service. We made the booking a month prior to our trip. We communicated with the assigned photographer through the app to plan our photo-shoot . It was a smooth session and we were happy with Buddy Sit , the local professional photographer who took our photos. It took us 2 hours to shoot, No payment was collected on site, but we had to purchase the photographer’s admission ticket.

*On January 26, 2020, Hong Kong Disneyland announced its temporary closure due to the Corona Virus outbreak. As of writing, the park remains closed. Check out their website for details and updates.

EDIT:

  • Hong Kong Disneyland Park officially reopened on Jun 18 with reduced capacity, enhanced health and safety procedures and a new reservation system for all guests. All guests entering the park will be required to undergo temperature screening and wear face masks. Learn more.
  • Magic Access members may make a reservation beginning 8 days prior to their visit. General guests may make a reservation beginning 7 days prior to their visit. Learn more
  • The park has implemented social distancing in queues, restaurants, attraction vehicles and other facilities. Character experiences requiring close interaction and close-up photos will be temporarily suspended. Learn more.
  • Extensions will be provided for unused park tickets, Magic Access memberships and other date-specific products. Learn more.
  • Free cancellations for park tickets and hotel room bookings within the specified period are available. Learn more.

5 Things to do in Kobe with a Baby

Kobe is the capital of Hyogo Prefecture, and is among Japan’s large cities. It was one of the first ports in Japan to open to foreign trade in the 19th century, with Hakodate, Yokohama, Nigiita and Nagasaki, being the other important ports. Having had a traumatic earthquake experience in 1995, Kobe now has fully recovered and is considered as one of Japan’s most vibrant cities.

What we love about Kobe is that although it is a bustling city with establishments similar to what you see in major metropoleis, it is a lot less crowded. In addition, it has the best of both coastal and mountain views that would make you feel like you’re far away from the city, even if you’re just five minutes away from the central business district. While Kobe is famous for its beef and high quality cheese, there is more to this sunny city than just steak and cheesecake. From a simple stroll in the park to climbing up the mountains, you will be up for a day of endless discoveries. So, whether you are planning to stay in Kobe with very young kids for several days or even for just one day, you will definitely find something fun to do. Below are our top 5 recommendations:

ROKKO CABLE CAR

RIDE THE CABLE CAR AND ENJOY THE BREATHTAKING VIEWS OF NATURE AND THE CITY

Mount Rokko is close to the cities of Osaka and Kobe and to the hot springs of Arima Onsen. From the top of Mt. Rokko one has a panoramic view of Osaka Bay or the wonderful night view over the city of Kobe. In every season, Mt. Rokko offers a spectacle of nature, along with places for dining and shopping. (www.rokkosan.com)

There are eight attractions in Mount Rokko: Rokko Garden Terrace, Rokko-Shidare Observatory, Music Box Museum, Alpine Botanical Garden, Country House, Snow Park and Tenran Observatory. To get to Mount Rokko Mountaintop Tourism Area, you could take the Cable Car. If you are just in it for a day- trip, the Cable Car is already an attraction in itself. So, if you want to travel slow and not go any farther, just taking a ride to the top and back is already a great experience.

The Rokko cable car has a long history that dates back to 1932 and features a two-car system rarely seen in the world. The observation car (open windows) is recommended. The view during early December is amazing with autumn colors still present and winter breeze cooling the air.

Observation Car (photo from https://www.rokkosan.com/en/cable/)

CABLE CAR HOURS AND TICKETS

Open for businessAll year round
Fare (one-way)Adult (12 and over) JPY 590 , Child (6-11) JPY 300
Ride timeAbout 10 minutes
Operating HoursFirst departure 7:10 / Last departure 21:10
※at about 20 min. intervals.

TIP: To get to the car, passengers must take a long flight of stairs. This could be tiring for some people especially for those carrying a baby, a bag and a stroller. It is recommended that those who have difficulty in walking must board the front part of the cable car. Also, try your best to travel light.

HOW TO GET THERE

If you’re coming from central Kobe: Go to Sannomiya Station, take the Hankyu Kobe Line to Rokko Station (7 minutes, around JPY 200), from where it is a ten minute bus ride on bus number 16 to the base station of the Rokko Cablecar. Note that the same bus can also be boarded at JR Rokkomichi Station (15 minutes) or Hanshin Mikage Station (25 minutes) and costs around JPY 200 from any of the three stations.

JR Rokkomichi Station:
Bus stop for Kobe City Bus Route 16 & 106 at JR Rokkomichi Station

TENRAN OBSERVATORY

LOOK AT THE VIEW OF HASHIN THROUGH A COIN-OPERATED TELESCOPE

One of the most panoramic spots in Japan. Enjoy the breathtaking views of Hanshin.

100 JPY for 100 seconds of viewing
TENRAN cafe stands on the observation deck (\”tenran-dai\” in Japanese) at Mt. Rokko. Take the Rokko Cable Car and arrive at Rokko-Sanjo Station. Climb up a long flight of stairs to reach the top. The cafe menu features well-selected local ingredients, such as \”Kobe Water\” drip brewing coffee and Kobe Cheesecake.

MERIKEN PARK

SPEND THE AFTERNOON AT THE PARK

Meriken Park is a massive, open-space waterfront leisure spot in Kobe Port. It is home to the city’s most notable contemporary architecture and historical sites such as Kobe Port TowerKobe Maritime Museum, Kawasaki World and a memorial to the victims of the 1995 Great Hanshin Earthquake, which severely damaged the park. Although much of it has been rebuilt, some parts of the wharf were left unrestored to serve as a remembrance of the extent of trauma the earthquake has caused the city. At present, modern art installations, fountains the BE KOBE photo spot, and the wide, grass-covered lawn make Meriken Park a family-friendly destination in Kobe.

TIP: Nakatottei Cruise Terminal is also located at the southern tip of Meriken Park and provides sightseeing cruises around Kobe Harbor. This is best done at night.

PARK HOURS AND TICKETS

Kobe Port Tower

Hours – 9:00 to 21:00 (December to February until 19:00)
Admission ends 30 minutes before closing

*No closing days

Admission: JPY 700 (tower only)
JPY 1000 (tower, Maritime Museum and Kawasaki Museum)

Kobe Maritime Museum and Kawasaki Good Times World

Hours – 10:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)

*Closed on: Mondays (or following day if Monday is a national holiday), December 29 to January 3

Admission : JPY 600 (both museums)
JPY 1000 (both museums and Port Tower)

HOW TO GET THERE

Meriken Park is located close to Minato-motomachi Station on the Kobe subway Kaigan Line from where it is a 5-minute walk.

Alternatively, Meriken Park is a 20-minute walk from Kencho-mae Station on the Seishin-Yamate Line or 15 minutes on foot from Hankyu Hanakuma and JR/Hanshin Motomachi Station.

KOBE HARBORLAND

WATCH THE SUNSET AT HARBORLAND AND ENJOY THE CITY LIGHTS AT NIGHT

After spending some time in Meriken Park, head to the mall nearby to cool down. Kobe Harborland is a popular shopping and entertainment district nestled between Kobe Port and JR Kobe Station. It is divided into three areas: Mosaic, South Mall and North Mall. Head to Mosaic if you want to enjoy a nice dinner with a view of the harbor lights and do some open-air shopping. Go farther south and you’ll find the giant Ferris Wheel and Anpanman Children’s Museum and Mall.

Dinner with a view

HOW TO GET THERE

Kobe Harborland starts just outside of JR Kobe Station and the Harborland Subway Station. Alternatively, you can take a five-minute walk from Meriken Park to get there.

KOBE NANKIMACHI (CHINA TOWN)

TAKE A TRIP TO CHINA TOWN FOR A CHANGE OF FLAVORS AND FEELS

Nankinmachi (南京町) is a compact Chinatown in central Kobe and a center of the Chinese community in the Kansai Region. The area was developed by Chinese merchants who settled near Kobe Port after the port was opened to foreign trade in 1868. As the Chinatown developed, it became known as Nankinmachi after Nanjing, the former Chinese capital. (https://www.japan-guide.com/)

Treat your family to a Chinese street food and shopping experience in this little spot in Kobe. Most shops open from 10:00 – 19:00, while most restaurants typically open from 11:30 to 21:00. Some close between 15:00 and 17:00.

TIP: Vegetable rolls are available for babies. English is not widely spoken in the area, so, it would help if you could say some key Japanese words such as “yasai” for vegetable and “akachan” for baby. You may also say “ebi ga arimasen” for no shrimp or “kani ga arimasen” for no crab and “niku ga arimasen for no meat. {please correct me if I’m wrong 🙂 but these phrases worked for me.}

HOW TO GET THERE

Nankinmachi is a five – minute walk from the south of Motomachi Station, a ten – minute walk from southwest of Sannomiya Station or a five – minute walk from the north part of Meriken Park.

OTHER TIPS

When you are out street shopping and you need to use the baby room, head to Daimaru for convenience. Their baby area is on the 5th floor. It comes with diaper changing beds and baby food booths. There is a nursing room which is spacious enough to hold strollers.

When you can, take the shinkansen if you are coming from Osaka and just want to be there for a day. Otherwise, stick to JR Line to avoid getting lost or getting off the wrong platform, as some of the train stations in Kobe are not so baby-friendly.

That’s it for this post! Enjoy your trip to Kobe and take lots of pictures to support your memory bank savings account! If you think there’s something we missed, let us know in the comments section or chat with us on Instagram @wandermommyblog.

Love and light, Samantha

TRAVELING TO OSAKA WITH YOUR BABY? HERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH YOUR LITTLE ONE:

>>>>10 THINGS TO DO IN OSAKA WITH A BABY

>>>A QUICK GUIDE TO UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN WITH A BABY

>>>WINTER TRAVEL TO OSAKA WITH A BABY

A Quick Guide to Universal Studios Japan with a Baby

Your Osaka trip won’t be complete without going to Universal Studios Japan. Prepare to spend a day or two here if you want to fully enjoy this experience. If you are traveling with a baby or very young kids, USJ is equipped with the necessary facilities and amenities to assure you of a fun-filled family holiday. Read our quick guide below.

Park Hours and Tickets

TIP: We recommend NOT visiting the park on weekends and school holidays as the waiting time for attractions will be longer and the restaurants could get really crowded.

Park operating hours change from time to time, so it’s best to check the schedule on the dates of your visit, here. There are days when it opens at 8:30, some days at 9:00 and on rare occasions such as on January 1, at 2:00. Closing time varies from 19:00 – 22:00. Check your schedule accordingly.

1Day Studio Pass / 2Day Studio Pass

The admission ticket includes park entrance and use of all attractions in the park.

TypeAdults[Aged 12 or over]Children[Ages 4 to 11]Seniors[Aged 65 or over]
1 DAY
Studio Pass
from ¥7,091
(¥7,800 with tax) –
from ¥4,910
(¥5,400 with tax) –
from ¥6,455
(¥7,100 with tax) –
2 DAY
Studio Pass
from ¥14,000
(¥15,400 with tax)
from ¥9,546
(¥10,500 with tax)
Prices differ depending on the date. Check with your travel agency or ticket provider for the updated list.

TIP: BUY YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE. We saved a lot of time and gained peace of mind by getting our tickets way ahead of our arrival. We secured our tickets from KLOOK, but you may also check out :

How to get there: The easiest way to get to Universal Studios Japan is by train. The park is just a five- minute walk from Universal City Station on the JR Sakurajima Line.

Upon getting off the train and before reaching the park gates, you will be welcomed by a wide-array of shops, restaurants and hotels. This is Universal Citywalk Osaka.

FAMILY – FRIENDLY FACILITIES

BABY FEEDING – Facilities for breastfeeding, baby feeding are available at the Family Services. It is also equipped with hot water dispensers and microwaves for preparing baby formula or baby food. Located next to Guest Services and inside Universal Wonderland.

DIAPER CHANGING TABLES – A total of 37 units are installed in the park. Disposable diapers can be disposed of here. (remember to bring your own diaper bags for disposal) One unit installed in each of the 16 men’s / ladies’ restrooms inside the park (except in the restaurant restrooms).

BABY FOOD – Food for babies 7 to 12 months old is available in Snoopy’s™ Backlot Café and Studio Stars Restaurant.

MISSING CHILDREN CENTER – Meeting point for lost children (under 12 years) and their parents or guardians. Located at the Guest Services counter.

STROLLER RENTAL – Rental strollers are for children up to three years old. Children above the age of 4 are not allowed to use the rental strollers. FEE: ¥1,100 each (single seater, tax included). You may rent one at the counter to the right of the entrance.

For guests using baby strollers or buggies: Identification tags are given out to allow baby strollers or buggies to be handled in the same way as wheelchairs are, at viewing areas for attractions and shows. Don’t forget to secure your tags!

CHILD SWITCH – The Child Switch system enables guests with children/companions who do not meet an attraction’s height or other requirements to take turns and enjoy the attraction without waiting in line again. For details, please ask a crew member at the attraction.

FIRST AID – A medical center is located on the right as you enter the park.

WIFI – The FREE wifi “USJ_Free_Wifi” is available under the canopy. 15 minutes per period of use, up to three periods of use per day.

COIN LOCKERS – Large and extra-large lockers are only available outside the park. You may store large items in these lockers before you enter the park.

* Some lockers may be unavailable. Please ask a nearby crew member for details.
Items stored after park hours will be removed and kept with park personnel.Removed items can be recovered at Guest Services the next day.(note that a fee is incurred for after-hours storage and lost keys. )

  • S: Small (width 357mm x depth 453mm x height 398mm) ¥400
  • M: Medium (width 357mm x depth 453mm x height 533mm) ¥600
  • L: Large (width 357mm x depth 453mm x height 802mm) ¥1,000
  • XL: Extra Large (width 536mm x depth 617mm x height 926mm) ¥1,500
  • Multiple Time Use (width 360mm x depth 425mm x height 300mm) ¥400

* Multiple Time Use lockers charge ¥500 but return ¥100 after use.

BABY – FRIENDLY ATTRACTIONS

UNIVERSAL WONDERLAND

The ultimate fun place for the whole family, UNIVERSAL WONDERLAND features attractions and rides , especially for kids under 10 years old. My baby really enjoyed meeting his favorite characters (he memorizes all Sesame Street muppets and he knows Snoopy!), riding the carousel and chasing the bubbles in the air. Here, you will enjoy Sesame Street Fun World, Snoopy Studios and Hello Kitty Fashion Avenue and more! Below are the list of rides available for very young kids. The ones in BOLD are good for babies and toddlers.

AREARIDETYPEREQUIREMENTS
Sesame Street Fun WorldElmo’s Go-Go SkateboardA ride that swings forward and backAccompanied by a supervising companion: 92 cm or taller
Sesame Street Fun WorldMoppy’s Balloon TripMerry-go-round in the skyAccompanied by a supervising companion: 92 cm or taller
Sesame Street Fun WorldAbby’s Magical TreePlaygroundBabies and toddlers must be accompanied by adults at all times.
Sesame Street Fun WorldAbby’s Magical PartyBig stars and balls
Playground
Babies and toddlers must be accompanied by adults at all times.
Sesame Street Fun WorldCookie Monster SlidePlaygroundBabies and toddlers must be accompanied by adults at all times.
Sesame Street Fun WorldElmo’s Bubble BubbleBoat RideAccompanied by a supervising companion: 92 cm or taller
Sesame Street Fun WorldMoppy’s Lucky Dance PartyShowBabies and toddlers must be accompanied by adults at all times.
Sesame Street Fun WorldSesame’s Big DriveCar rideBetween 6 and 12 years old
(no adults permitted) ; Capacity 1 per car
※You must be able to control the steering, acceleration, and braking by yourself.
※Follow traffic rules, such as stopping at stop signs and keeping to the right, and drive carefully so as not to bump into other cars or the curb.
Sesame Street Fun WorldElmo’s Little DriveCar rideBetween 3 and 5 years old
(including 6 years old pre-school child. No adults permitted) ; Capacity 1 per car
※You must be able to control the steering and acceleration by yourself.
※Drive carefully so as not to bump into other cars or the curb.
Sesame Street Fun WorldBert and Ernie’s Wonder-the seaBall poolBabies and toddlers must be accompanied by adults at all times.
Sesame Street Fun WorldAbby’s Magical PartyShowBabies and toddlers must be accompanied by adults at all times.
Sesame Street Fun WorldBig Bird’s Big Top CircusCarouselAccompanied by a supervising companion: no limitation
Sesame Street Fun WorldBig Bird’s NestJungle GymBabies and toddlers must be accompanied by adults at all times.
Sesame Street Fun WorldGrover’s Construction CompanyBig Blocks PlaygroundBabies and toddlers must be accompanied by adults at all times.
Hello Kitty Fashion AvenueHello Kitty’s Cupcake DreamRotating CupsAccompanied by a supervising companion: any height, 5 per cup
Snoopy Studios

The Flying SnoopyMerry-go-round in the skyAccompanied by a supervising companion: 92 cm or taller
Snoopy’s Fun AdventureSnoopy’s Great RaceRoller CoasterAccompanied by a supervising companion: 92 cm or taller
Unaccompanied: 122 cm or taller
Snoopy’s Fun AdventureSnoopy Sound Stage AdventureIndoor PlaygroundBabies and toddlers must be accompanied by adults at all times.

We had so much fun at the Snoopy Studios
For adults with babies, it is recommended to use the carousel seats instead of the animal rides.
Fun land for Hello Kitty fans!
The Flying Snoopy
The Sesame Street Christmas Presentation
Pretty mommies queuing up with their tots for the carousel ride
Babies love bubbles!!
Elmo’s Little Drive.
at Bert and Ernie’s Ball Pool
Character meet and greet
My favorite part of this trip

We also enjoyed JAWS, JURASSIC PARK AND THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER with our 20-month old. But the BEST PART was the character meet and greet!

Our son loves dinosaurs so much! This was an ultimate treat for him!
Butterbeer while the babe is asleep!

OTHER TIPS

RESTAURANT PRIORITY SEATING SERVICE – Shorten your waiting time at these restaurants: PARK SIDE GRILLE, SAIDO and FINNEGAN’S BAR AND GRILLE by having your name listed in advance at the restaurant entrance. Do note that this is only a waiting list, not a reservation, so you would still have to wait long especially when the restaurants are super crowded.

image from : https://www.usj.co.jp/

SOUVENIR SHOPPING DELIVERY SERVICE: Love shopping but hate the thought of lugging your bags around? You can shop for souvenirs before leaving the park and have them sent to your home address in a pretty themed box! To avail of this service, go to Studio Gifts East (on the right before exiting the park). Items can be sent overseas via Express Mail Service. Eligible countries are: South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, China, Malaysia, Singapore and certain regions of the Philippines.

DO NOT BRING FOOD AND DRINKS INSIDE THE PARK. If you are spotted consuming items not from the park, you will be requested to move to the Picnic Area a.k.a, outside the park premises. Do bring your own water container and fill it up in the provided water stations inside.

HAVE EXTRA FUN! Win toys by playing games at the park; wear character head pieces and apparel; have your photos taken at special photo spots and get your printed photos for a fee.

After riding the JAWS boat with our baby, we had our photo taken at this photo spot. We waited for about 20 minutes for our turn and paid around JPY 1,500 for the print. Worth it!
Play this game
Win a Christmas Cookie!

STAY UNTIL NIGHT TIME. The park looks amazing at night with all the lights! Especially during Christmas time when the winter illumination show is on!

AND LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST, DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF! 🙂 Traveling with a baby is never without a little mishap. So, plan ahead, organize your day, leave some room for stops and detours and enjoy making memories with your family!

Do you have other ideas for a fun day at the park with the little ones? Let us know in the comments below or we can chat on Instagram @wandermommyblog. Thank you!

Traveling to Hong Kong Disneyland with your tiny tot, soon? Check out our post on our son’s first birthday trip here.

>>>HOW TO ENJOY HONG KONG DISNEYLAND WITH A ONE YEAR OLD BABY

10 Things to do in Osaka with a Baby

being the second biggest metropolitan area next to Tokyo, Osaka has a lot to offer to tourists traveling with babies and very young kids. With all their family-friendly facilities in place, you are sure to enjoy your stay in Osaka. From free public areas to paid play places, there is something for you and your traveling tot. Here are our recommendations:

1. KIDS PLAZA OSAKA

Kids Plaza Osaka is the first museum in Japan dedicated to child education. Founded in July 1997, the basic philosophy of this mega play place is learning through play. It is a massive 5-storey plaza filled with educational activities for kids of all ages. Each level offers a different experience for kids so be prepared to spend at least half of your day here. We explored all activities, and our 20-month old baby enjoyed every bit of it, especially the cultural center on the 5th floor, where he played with musical instruments and spun some wooden tops. If you are traveling with a kids 3 years old and above, they will surely enjoy all areas in the plaza. But, if you have a toddler and or a crawling baby, the best place to be in is PEEK-A-BOO on the 4th floor. Peek-A-Boo is a play room for babies and toddlers, with soft mats, Montessori toys and comfortable seating areas for parents and babies. There is also a nursing area here for the convenience of moms.

Opening hours and Admission Fee

Open daily from 9:30 to 17:00

Adult1,400yen
Elementary and junior high school students800yen
Pre-schoolers (3 years or older)500yen
(Babies enter for free)
Seniors (65 years old or above)700yen
* Senior discount is applicable to visitors aged 65 or more (verification may be requested during the admission).

How to get there: The facility is located right next to the exit #2 of Ogimachi station on the Osaka Metro Sakaisuji line. Alternatively, it is in a three minute walk distance from the Temma station on the JR loop line.
Both Ogimachi subway station and JR Temma station are equipped with elevators.

Look for the bird.
They are open daily from 9:30 to 17:00
Multipurpose room on the 4th floor can be used for meals and drinks.  There are no restaurants available inside the building, but you are welcome to bring your own food into the Multipurpose room. Vending machines serving beverages are available inside the facility.
We love how they employ senior citizens as attendants. Thomas really enjoyed interacting with them.
All levels of multi-purpose restrooms. This one is on the 5th floor
At the Science Section on the 5th Floor
Playroom for babies

2. OSAKA AQUARIUM – KAIYUKAN

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is located in Tempozan Harbor Village, by Osaka Bay. Kaiyukan is one of Japan’s most spectacular aquariums, world-renowned for its innovative presentation. Kaiyukan shows the aquatic animals of the Pacific Rim at their most vibrant and dynamic, by recreating the natural environment of their habitats. ( https://www.kaiyukan.com/ ) To fully enjoy the two and a-half-hour – aquarium exploration, begin at the 8th floor and spiral your way down through the ramp to the 4th floor to see the marine animals from different perspectives. If you are traveling with a baby, here are some tips:

  • Strollers are not allowed on escalators, so make sure you take the elevators if you really need to bring one inside. Otherwise, there is a room at the lobby where you can leave your stroller and other belongings. The aquarium highly discourages strollers inside.
  • Audio guides are available for rent at JPY 500. We rented 2 units but ended up not using it as the volume is too low and it was more of a distraction than a helpful tool, with everything that’s happening inside. Plus, the baby kept on getting it from me so I had to keep it away from him.
  • There is a changing table inside the restroom, but since it was packed, we changed in the stroller, by the restroom instead.
  • Make sure to bring some snacks. Eat well before you enter.

Aquarium Hours and Admission Fee

Open daily from 10:00 to 20:00

Children 3 and below : FREE

4 years old to 6 Years old : 600 JPY

7 years old to 15 years old: 1,200 JPY

16 years old and up: 2,300 JPY

60 years old and up: 2,000 JPY

How to get there: Osaka Aquarium is located at Osaka Station on the Chuo subway line. From Osaka Station you can take the Osaka Loop Line to Bentencho Station and then transfer to the Chuo Subway Line. The total fare will be 400 yen and it will take you just 17 minutes.

If you did not secure your tickets online, you may get them at the ticket station located beside the entrance gate.
Always use the elevators as strollers are not allowed on escalators
At the service center, you may rent an audio guide and leave your stroller for convenience.
Coin lockers are installed in the aquarium, the Entrance Building and at the Tempozan Marketplace . Rental fee starts at 200 JPY
Nursing rooms for babies and mothers are located on the 6F of the aquarium and the 2F of the Entrance Building. Baby beds for changing diapers are installed in all restrooms.
My husband enjoyed the audio guide more than I did 🙂
It helped a lot that we taught Thomas all the basic animals and their sounds before taking this trip as he really enjoyed seeing the animals in real life.

3. TEMPOZAN GIANT FERRIS WHEEL

A 5-minute walk from the Osakako subway station, and steps away from the Kaiyukan aquarium, the Tempozan Ferris Wheel soars 112.5 meters into the air and has a diameter of 100 meters, making it one of the world’s largest Ferris wheels. On sunny days, a ride is a roughly 15-minute-long journey through the sky, offering views of Mount Ikoma to the east, the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge to the west, Kansai International Airport to the south, and the Rokko mountains to the north. Three of its 60 cabins are wheelchair accessible. Additionally, in-cabin announcements are made in both Japanese and English. Colorful light displays and weather forecasts for the following day are also popular features. The vibrant lights of Osaka Bay have undeniably become one of Osaka’s defining tourist attractions. ( https://osaka-info.jp/en/page/tempozan-ferris-wheel )

Operating Hours and Admission Fee

General admission ¥800 (age 3 and up)

Open daily from 10:00 – 22:00 (varies seasonally; closed for severe weather); final boarding 21:30

After purchasing your tickets on the ground floor, head to the gondola platform on the 3rd floor. You may queue on the general gondola lane or the see-through lane, for the- same price.
Strollers are allowed inside the gondola. We took the general type.
Christmas songs were being played in the background! We enjoyed the view of the surrounding areas for 15 minutes. Truly unforgettable!

4. TEMPOZAN HARBOUR VILLAGE

Located about 20 minutes from Osaka Station, Tempozan Harbor Village is a bay area leisure destination centered around Kaiyukan. Tempozan marketplace’s restaurants, shopping, entertainment offerings, and Osaka sightseeing cruise ships, such as the Santa Maria, are guaranteed to keep you entertained all day. Tempozan Harbor Village also hosts a variety of events throughout the year. ( https://osaka-info.jp/en/page/tempozan-harbor-village )

This tall LEGO giraffe was the first to greet us on our arrival. Make sure to visit Legoland inside the mall if you have kids 3 years old and up.
This massive cruise ship from Princess Cruises was docked that day too.
Since we visited in December, we were able to have our photo taken at this cute photo spot by the food court.
This fire dancer attracted an audience at the free area.
There are food options inside where you can satisfy your hungry bellies after a 2-hour excursion inside the Kaiyukan.

5. LEGOLAND DISCOVERY CENTER

The ultimate indoor LEGO playground, this wonderland is located inside Tempozan Marketplace. With its 4D Cinema, 8 Lego Build and Play Zones, 2 rides and a shop full of lego merchandise for all ages, you and your kids are sure to have a blast! book your tickets online here.

LEGOLAND® Discovery Center is designed specifically for children aged 3-10 years to enjoy – everything is kid-sizedAdults(16 and up) must be accompanied by a child.

6. TEN- SHIBA (Tennoji Park Entrance Area)

Located next to Tennoji Station, the southern gateway to Osaka, Tennoji Park is an urban oasis like New York’s Central Park or Hyde Park in London. It was first opened in 1909 and has one of the most colorful histories of Osaka’s parks. In 2015, it reopened with a wide open space with grass, futsal court, playland, restaurants and shops. It’s also home to the Tennoji Zoological Gardens and the Osaka Municipal Museum of Art. ( https://osaka-info.jp/ )

Opening hours: 7:00 – 22:00 (some facilities 24 hours)
Shops and restaurants surround this big open space, where kids can run around freely
really tasty Karuizawa Flatbreads at this shop
vending machines for drinks are available by the futsal field
Play place for kids 6 years old and below
Thomas and his new- found friends at the park

7. TENNOJI ZOO

The Tennoji Zoo opened in January 1915 as the third zoo in Japan. The zoo’s approximately 11 hectares house 1,000 animals of 200 different types, including everything from lions, and chimpanzees, to the always-popular koalas, New Zealand kiwis (which can only be viewed at the Tennoji zoo), and distinctive, black-headed drills. In addition to attempting to reproduce the animals’ natural habitats as closely as possible, the Tennoji Zoo also serves as a kind of ecological exhibition, introducing the public to the way these animals live. The reptile house, Ifar, for example, was meticulously designed to resemble real animal habitats. The hippo enclosure is Japan’s first transparent pool enclosure. The rhino enclosure mimics the African savanna. ( https://osaka-info.jp/ )

Park hours and Fees

9:30 – 17:00
[Zoo Opening Hours Extended]
9:30 – 18:00
*Weekends and holidays in May and September only ; Mondays (closed the following weekday when holidays fall on Monday), New Year holidays (12/29 – 1/1)

Adults 500 yen

Elementary/junior high school students 200 yen

*Free for children younger than first-grade ages;

How to get there: Ten-Shiba is a 5-minute walk away from Dobutsuen-mae Station on the Osaka Metro Sakaisuji and Midosuji Lines
5-minute walk from Ebisucho Station on the Osaka Metro Sakaisuji Line
10-minute walk from Tennoji Station on the Osaka Metro Midosuji and Tanimachi Lines and JR Line.

Zoos make me sad so I told my son that this is not really a happy place for animals.
Stroller Rental – 500 JPY , Elephant Buggy Rental – 700 JPY / Luggage Storage – 600 JPY per luggage
Strollers for rent

8. KUROMON MARKET

Kuromon Market (黒門市場, Kuromon Ichiba) is a covered public market that stretches around 600 meters parallel to Sakaisujidori Street in the Minami area of Osaka. The market has about 150 shops that predominantly sell fish, meat and produce, with other shops also purveying traditional sweets and low priced clothes and homeware. The market dates back to the Edo Period, and today makes for an atmospheric place to stroll around, shop and eat a variety of different street foods. ( https://www.japan-guide.com/ )

How to get there: Kuromon Market is a few steps from Nipponbashi Station on the Sennichimae and Sakaisuji subway lines. Alternatively, it is a ten minute walk from Namba Station.

Tips to enjoy Kuromon Market with a baby or very young kids:

  • If your baby is already eating solids, fresh juices and smoothies are available around the area; grilled vegetables and fruits are also good options.
  • Eat inside mini food courts with tables and chairs. Avoid standing in the alley way to eat or drink as it could get really crowded at times.
  • Park your stroller properly and don’t get in the way of other customers and vendors. Don’t block the entry ways of shops.
  • Throw your garbage in trash cans of the vendor where you bought your food from. This way, you would not be called out and inconvenienced as you enjoy your time with your family.
Really good grilled sweet potatoes and grilled pineapples
Thomas had fresh strawberry skewers. So sweet and soft!

Okinawa Kokutou. Melted lumps of kuro sato or brown sugar, mixed with lime – a staple in every Okinawan house. This is my new favourite ice cream flavor. ❤️ Thomas loves it too.

9. SHINSAIBASHI-SUJI

With over two million visitors going to Osaka every month, shopping could be horrific on weekends and the holidays. Especially during New Year’s Day , where people rush to the malls for Fukubukuro , shopping with your baby could be a challenging experience. So, to fully enjoy this activity with your family, we recommend that you do it on weekdays.

A commercial avenue stretching north and south for about 580 meters from the south of Nagahori-dori to Soemoncho-dori. Visitors to this street number about 60,000 on weekdays and about 120,000 on weekends and holidays. ( https://osaka-info.jp/ )

Shops of all kinds and for all ages line the street, this is a roofed arcade that is 600 meters long.  H&M, UNIQLO, GU, GAP, DISNEY STORE and ZARA are among the popular stores in the area where you can buy baby clothes.

DAIMARU

Should you need to use the restroom or the baby lounge, head to this department store for convenience.

Baby Lounge – This is located on the seventh floor of the main building. There is hot water supply device for milk, exclusive use of the beds for diaper change and a nursing room.

Stroller Rental – you can rent at the first floor of the main building information desk ●NPC Nishishinsaibashi first parking ●NPC Nishi Shinsaibashi 2 Parking. Children three years or younger can use the strollers.

enjoying my matcha soft serve outside Daimaru


10. UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

Your Osaka trip won’t be complete without going to Universal Studios Japan. Prepare to spend a day or two here if you want to fully enjoy this experience. For kids of all ages, including babies, there is something for everyone. Read our Universal Studios with a Baby guide here.

TIP: We recommend not visiting the park on weekends and school holidays as the waiting time for attractions will be longer and the restaurants could get really crowded.

Park Hours and Tickets

Park operating hours change from time to time, so it’s best to check the schedule on the dates of your visit, here.

Tickets –

1Day Studio Pass / 2Day Studio Pass

The admission ticket includes park entrance and use of all attractions in the park.
TypeAdults[Aged 12 or over]Children[Ages 4 to 11]Seniors[Aged 65 or over]
1 DAY
Studio Pass
from ¥7,091
(¥7,800 with tax) –
from ¥4,910
(¥5,400 with tax) –
from ¥6,455
(¥7,100 with tax) –
2 DAY
Studio Pass
from ¥14,000
(¥15,400 with tax)
from ¥9,546
(¥10,500 with tax)
Prices differ depending on the date. Check with your travel agency or ticket provider for the updated list.

Advance Tickets

Do not require exchange for a Studio Pass at Ticket Booths and allow direct entry to the park. We got our tickets from KLOOK.
  • KLOOK
  • KKDAY
  • VOYAGIN
  • TRIP ADVISOR
  • TRAVELOKA

How to get there: The easiest way to get to USJ is by train. The park is just a five minute walk from Universal City Station on the JR Sakurajima Line.

FAMILY – FRIENDLY FACILITIES

BABY FEEDING – Facilities for breastfeeding, baby feeding and diaper changing are available. Also equipped with hot water dispensers and microwaves for preparing baby formula or baby food. Located next to Guest Services/Inside Universal Wonderland.

DIAPER CHANGING TABLES – A total of 37 units are installed in the park. Disposable diapers can be disposed of here. One unit installed in each of 16 men’s / ladies’ restrooms inside the park (except in the restaurant restrooms).

BABY FOOD – Baby food for babies aged between 7 and 12 months old is available in Snoopy’s™ Backlot Café and Studio Stars Restaurant.

MISSING CHILDREN CENTER – Meeting point for lost children (under 12 years) and their parents or guardians. Located at the Guest Services counter.

STROLLER RENTAL – Rental strollers are for children up to three years old (under four years old). Children above the age of 4 are not allowed to use the rental strollers. FEE: ¥1,100 each (single seater, tax included). You may rent one at the counter to the right of the entrance.

CHILD SWITCHThe Child Switch system enables guests with children/companions who do not meet an attraction’s height or other requirements to take turns and enjoy the attraction without waiting in line again. For details, please ask a crew member at the attraction.

BABY – FRIENDLY ATTRACTIONS

UNIVERSAL WONDERLAND

The ultimate fun place for the whole family, UNIVERSAL WONDERLAND features attractions and rides , especially for kids under 10 years old. My baby really enjoyed meeting his favorite characters (he memorizes all Sesame Street muppets and he knows Snoopy!), riding the carousel and chasing the bubbles in the air. Here, you will enjoy Sesame Street Fun World, Snoopy Studios and Hello Kitty Fashion Avenue.

We also enjoyed JAWS, JURASSIC PARK AND THE WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER with our 20-month old.

That mandatory photo by the globe
Big BIrd’s Top Circus
Character Meet and Greet
Bubbles for babies!

So, that’s it for this post! Please let me know in the comments section if you think I missed some details! We could also chat on Instagram @wandermommyblog.

MORE ON OUR OSAKA TRIP HERE:

>>>>>>>> WINTER TRAVEL TO OSAKA WITH A BABY

>>>>>>>>>> HOW TO ENJOY UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN WITH A BABY

>>>>>>>>>> NARA DEER PARK WITH A BABY, IS IT WORTH THE TRIP?

>>>>>>>>>> EXPLORING KOBE WITH A BABY

TRAVELING TO HOKKAIDO THIS WINTER SEASON? CLICK HERE FOR SOME TIPS.

Winter Travel to Osaka with a Baby

Unlike our winter travel to Hokkaido last year, our trip to Osaka was not as cold and freezing. The average temperature in Osaka in December (up to February) ranges from 5 degrees Celsius to 15 degrees Celsius. This means, less layers and more time outdoors! Nevertheless, it is very important to keep track of baby’s body temperature at all times and to check baby’s comfort first before putting on or taking off some layers. Some babies, like ours, get uncomfortable with a hat and mittens on, even at the lowest temperature, while others love to be thoroughly covered and bundled up in blankets, at the highest temperature. So, like any parenting rule, when in doubt, follow the baby. 🙂

Aside from the pleasant weather, here are some things we want to share with you, if you are traveling to Osaka with a baby on a winter.

CLOTHES

Our 20-month-old baby wore 3 layers on most days, except when it became too chilly on some evenings and we were still out and about. During those times, we put a fleece blanket over his padded jacket to keep him warm. It also helped that he was in the carrier for most of the trip. My body served as an extra source of warmth . Should you need a guide on how to dress your baby, below are some tips.

  1. Base LayerUNIQLO Baby HEATTECH. If you don’t have enough pairs, don’t fret! You can always find a UNIQLO store almost anywhere in Osaka, with UNIQLO-OSAKA being the biggest in Kansai, the best one in Osaka, and the world’s best UNIQLO store. UNIQLO Baby HEATTECH sizes range from 50 to 110 and prices start at JPY 490 or a little over USD 4.
  2. Second Layer – Fleece coveralls or separates ; Fleece-lined cotton top and bottom. We bought all his fleece clothes at Carter’s, but you may also get from UNIQLO, GU, GAP or H&M in Osaka at cheaper prices.
  3. Third Layer – UNIQLO Ultra Lightweight Jacket with detachable hoodie.
  4. Extras – Fleece blanket from UNIQLO, hats and mittens from H&M, HEATTECH knee-high SOCKS from UNIQLO, regular baby sneakers from Reebok.

FOOD

At 20 months, my son is already eating solids, supplemented with formula. Fortunately, he is not a picky eater , so, we were able to get him something from the menu. Mostly though, he was happy with Family Mart’s Onigiri. Below are some of the places in Osaka that serve baby-friendly food:

  1. Family Mart – Thomas enjoyed the following food choices: onigiri, egg sandwich, soft bread, low-sodium snacks, pudding, soft cookies. Price starts at JPY 100
  2. Suki-ya – Small Gyudon (JPY290) ; Miso Soup, Tofu and Apple Value Set (JPY190). They even have special giveaways for kids. 🙂
  3. Yoshinoya-Pokimori Kids – starts at JPY 320
  4. Matsuya -Mini Gyumeshi (beef on rice) Bowl is priced at JPY 280
  5. Ippudo – Shiromaru Classic (Ramen)- JPY 790
  6. Gram Cafe and Pancakes – They have soups, salads and toasts but their Premium Smile Pancake is a must-try! Priced starts at JPY 1,350

For those of you with babies who are not taking solid food (mostly mashed or pureed) yet, or who are sensitive to a lot of ingredients, it is always best to bring your own food (best to book AirBNB if you have a baby-led -weaning-baby to properly prepare his or her meals). Meat and produce may be bought from supermarkets; Ready- to- eat puree and other baby food from the brands Glico, Wakodo, Kewpie and Pigeon may be found in drugstores; If your baby is formula-fed, make sure you bring ample supply of milk as it is unlikely that you will be able to find your brand in Osaka. Only Japanese brands are sold in major drugstores. In our case, we ran out, but fortunately, Thomas loved the Meiji Follow-up Milk.

Do note that not all restaurants have high-chairs, some have baby chairs without safety straps and not all have enough space for strollers that you may have to park yours outside. For cutlery and water container, we recommend that you bring your own.

Yoshinoya Pokimori Kids Beef Don Set (JPY 490)
Onigiri for lunch! We brought this very handy, food-grade, stick-on place mat. Click here to buy.
Thomas loves this cube-type, no-spoon needed, travel- friendly formula milk! JPY 1,980
Baby food options in Matsumoto Kiyoshi
Soft snack options at Family Mart

DIAPERS AND OTHER BABY ESSENTIALS

Most baby essentials such as diapers, wipes, dental care, bath soap and creams are available in major drugstores in Osaka. Save some luggage space and just bring enough diapers until your arrival, and just buy your baby’s essentials in the city. Just make sure to ask if the store carries baby products or if they just offee pure cosmetics before rummaging through the aisles and getting stressed out. Not all drugstores sell baby essentials.

During our Sapporo trip, we tried the brand Moony, and we loved it! But, since we could not find it in Osaka, we opted for Merries, instead. It was okay. Soft, breathable but not as absorbent as Moony. Still, it was a good buy.
Baby bottles, powder, water, nappy cream and just about anything you need for your baby is available in major drugstores. If you can’t read Japanese, make sure you download a translator app as almost all products are labeled in Japanese.

STROLLER OR CARRIER?

It rarely snows in Osaka during winter, and when it does, the snow does not really stick to the ground for long. With this, pushing a stroller is very easy and walking while baby-wearing is not difficult, without icy roads to tread. So, depending on your baby’s comfort, and your itinerary, using a stroller, a carrier, or both, is a-okay when traveling to Osaka on a winter.

For this trip, we used our trusty Ergo Baby Hip Seat Carrier and Joie Pact Pushchair. We were mostly baby-wearing, and the stroller was mostly used as a cart for bags and other things. 🙂

As Japan is generally a baby-friendly country, pushing a stroller in public areas is quite easy. Most establishments and stations have elevators designed to accommodate strollers; trains and buses have spaces specifically for strollers and parents with babies.

Pretty, baby-wearing, traveling moms!
Cozy babies in strollers!
Strollers for rent in Tennoji Zoo
Just make sure to park your strollers properly inside the train, so as not to bother other passengers.
a compact stroller that folds flat like our Joie Pact comes in really handy especially during rush hour and the trains are packed. Avoid taking the train during rush hour (7am to 9am and 5pm to 7pm) as the baby could get uncomfortable with the cramped space. Also, if you are lugging around a lot of things, we recommend that you take a taxi if you must be on the road at these times.
In some places, like the Osaka Aquarium, strollers are not allowed on escalators.

If you need to use a stroller but hate the thought of bringing one on flight, you may rent from LILEO. Stroller rentals start at JPY 1,500 per day. They also have baby supplies that you can order ahead of time and they can deliver it to your hotel on the day you arrive. So convenient!

ADDITIONAL TIPS

Breastfeeding – Osaka has really clean breastfeeding and changing facilities. Especially in large establishments such as department stores, museums and play places, you could comfortably feed your baby. I have not really seen anyone breastfeed in public, but if you must, I guess it is okay as long as you use a nursing cover. If you don’t have one, you may buy in Toys R Us or in Akachan Honpo stores.  In Japanese, nursing covers are called bonyuu keepu ( 母乳ケープ ).

Breastfeeding, pregnancy, and other similar aids at Matsumoto Kiyoshi

Diaper Change – There were a couple incidents where we had to change diapers in the stroller, in public, because the situation called for it. It could happen to you too, so don’t sweat, when it does . But, still, when you can, try your best to look for a changing station as it is available in most public spaces in Osaka. Major stations, museums, department stores, play places and the airport have the biggest ones.

Accommodation – Most traveling families recommend Airbnb because of the convenience it offers such as a kitchen sink, washing machine, dryer and a bigger space. For this trip, we initially planned to use Airbnb, but we ended up staying in a hostel instead. We chose THE STAY OSAKA SHINSAIBASHI. It is a newly opened hostel with family-friendly facilities and is very close to to train stations and the city center. What we like about this place is the common area where you can wash baby bottles, heat water for baby and heat, eat and keep meals. They have a laundry room too. The rooms are very clean and the bed is big and comfortable.

Pocket Wifi – Although free wifi is available in most public areas in Osaka, it is more convenient to bring your own pocket wifi. Aside from helping you navigate efficiently, it keeps you connected to your companions, for safety purposes. We highly recommend getting one from Pocket Wifi Japan. It’s cheap, easy to book and convenient to return. We booked it 1 day before our trip and it was delivered to our hotel on the day we arrived. It comes with a power bank too. On our departure date, we put it in the return packet provided and dropped it off at the airport post box. We spent JPY 5,660 for a week’s worth of wifi. It could have been cheaper had we booked 3 or more days ahead.

Drinking Water – In all our trips, bottled water expense is always the biggest. So, for this trip, we decided to bring our own containers and filled it up with tap water. Tap water in Japan is POTABLE. It is SAFE to drink without issues. In other places like Tokyo and Sapporo, tap water is even bottled and sold for JPY 100. While most really don’t see the need to boil it, we did so for the sake of our baby. Japan’s water is soft, so if you require hard water, there is always Evian and the like, in convenience stores.

Like I always say in my posts, Japan is a baby-friendly country with clean, modern facilities for traveling families. Osaka, being the second biggest metropolitan area next to Tokyo, has a lot to offer to tourists traveling with babies. From public facilities to large attractions, you are assured of efficiency and convenience. Some more tips before you go:

1. Make sure your basic needs like medicines, passports, insurance and special food are packed well before your flight.

2. Travel light when you can if you plan to take public transport. Yes, carrying a baby, a luggage and a stroller is not for the weak but save your strength for the fun part.

3. Avail of convenience services such as luggage transport service, stroller rental, baby essentials shopping delivery, pocket WiFi rental with delivery, and luggage locker service if you want a more hassle- free travel experience.

4. Travel slow – traveling with a baby could really slow you down with all the diaper changes, feeding and fussing. So, mentally prepare yourself by creating a 1 to 2 activities per day so you could fully enjoy each experience. If you are traveling with friends or extended family, let them know so they could make other plans and enjoy too.

We hope you learned a lot from our experience! Have fun! 🙂

Is there something I missed? Please let me know in the comments section or hit me up on Instagram @wandermommyblog.

Love and light, Sam

MORE ON OUR OSAKA TRIP HERE

>>>>>>>> 10 THINGS TO DO IN OSAKA WITH A BABY

>>>>>>>>>> HOW TO ENJOY UNIVERSAL STUDIOS JAPAN WITH A BABY

>>>>>>>>>> NARA DEER PARK WITH A BABY, IS IT WORTH THE TRIP?

>>>>>>>>>> EXPLORING KOBE WITH A BABY

50 Non-Toy Gift Ideas for Kids 2019

This list is intended for : 1. Non-parents who are looking for alternative gift ideas for a child 2. Non-parents who are told by parents to stop buying toys for their children, and are now panicking because Christmas rush has begun! 3. Parents who are tired of putting away hundreds of toys and trinkets scattered around the house, everyday, and are looking for other ways to entertain their kids.

If you are one of the above, you’re welcome. Don’t get me wrong, we are not anti-toys. In fact, we love toys! We believe that toys are essential to the development of a child and that playing is the best way to learn concepts. However, we also believe that the best way for a child to learn is through imaginative play. Therefore, we are quite selective in the toys we give our child. As much as possible, we get toys that are open-ended, of good quality, and should match his development stage. This way, he does not get overwhelmed, and we don’t get stressed out from too much clutter. So, with this, we totally understand parents when they say, “Please, don’t give my child a toy for Christmas, your presence and genuine concern is more than enough”. This is probably their way of saying, “We have too many toys already”, or “We know what toy suits him best at this stage, so, just get him anything but a toy” or “My child won’t play with that because she likes non-toys like tissue paper and boxes.”

So, if you are currently dealing with this holiday dilemma, here are some ideas to guide you in your gift -giving, if you want to be more creative than just giving cash.

BOOKS

Handmade Busy Books

( Bright Little Minds ) Price starts at P1,700

2. Board Books

(The Kiddie Korner by Miko and Marco) P125 (free gift wrapping service!)

3. Bible Stories

( The Kiddie Korner by Miko and Marco) P325

4. Activity Books

( The Kiddie Korner by Miko and Marco) P570

5. Sticker Books

( National Bookstore) Starts at P200

Experiences

Tickets to Manila Ocean Park

Price Starts at P595 / head

Tickets to The Mind Museum

On Sale now at P675 on Klook!

Kidzania Manila Passes

Get it from Klook for P900 ( Special Offer for Philippine users: Get PHP150 off with a min. purchase of PHP2,000 using promo code TRIPNATIN valid until 31 Dec 2019 )

Kidzoona Passes

Price starts at P200

Active Fun Passes

Price starts at P200

Dream Play Tickets

Price starts at P680 ( children below 80cm enter for free!)

Tickets to The Dessert Museum

Price starts at 699

Tickets to Art in Island Museum

On sale now at Klook for only P430

Tickets to Upside Down Museum

Price starts at P450 (Children 3yo and below enter for free)

Admission Tickets to Lakbay Museo

P599 at Klook!

Lessons

Swimming Lessons (Bert Lozada)

Price starts at P5,000

Music Lessons (School of Rock)

Fee starts at around P5,000

Soccer Training (Manila Soccer Academy)

for kids 3-17 years old – Fee starts at P6,000

Art Classes (KIT101 Art)

for kids 4 years old and up – Trial class starts at P888

Cooking Classes (CCA Manila – Young Chefs Bootcamp)

contact CCA for details.

Clothes

Uniqlo Airism Mesh Top

starts at P590

Uniqlo Basic Cotton Shirt

P390

H&M 5-pack Basics

P999

Zara Kids Basics

P645 (you may shop online at Zara Philippines!)

Little Luli Genderless Jumpsuits

P950

Arts and Crafts

Palm Grip Crayons – Starts at P500 in Shoppee

Washable Crayons – P130 in Shoppee

Washable Markers – P240 in Shoppee

Crayola Silly Scents Mini Art Case – P1,699.75 in Lazada

Washable Kids’ Paint – P350 in Lazada

Water Color Set – P399 in Lazada

Play-doh Set – P750 in Lazada

Slime Kit – P260 in Lazada

Bruin My Play Table for Kids – P2,499.75 in Lazada

Coloring Book – starts at P200 in National Bookstore

Bed, bath, and other essentials

Kiddie Sit and Sleep

Starts at 1,499.75 in Uratex

Travel Blanket

Starts at P550 from Ash and Muff

Bath Towel

P600 from Ash and Muff

Drawstring Backpack

P400 from Ash and Muff

Toddler Bag

P595 from Something Personal PH

Bean Bag

Starts at P1,595 from Fun Nest PH

Healthy Snacks

Starts at P365 from The Wander Mommy Shop

Bean Bag Chair

P2,495 from Fun Nest PH

Kid Kanteen Water Bottle

P1,395 from The Wander Mommy Shop

Tiger Soup Cup

P1,750 from Milk and Honey PH

Big- Ticket Gifts

Family Vacation

If you are planning a trip to Hokkaido for Christmas, check this post out for some tips. CLICK HERE

Savings Account

Here’s a guide to the best savings accounts for kids in the Philippines. Thanks, Moneymax.ph!

Age limit: 0 to 12 years old
Initial deposit requirement: PHP 100
Minimum maintaining balance: PHP 100
Maintaining balance to earn interest: PHP 2,000 (0.25% interest rate)

Why it’s great for children:

  • Comes with a passbook
  • Children between 7 to 12 years old may request for a personalized BDO EMV Debit Card upon reaching a deposit balance of PHP 2,000
  • Existing BDO accounts can transfer money to a BDO Junior Savers Account through online banking. A unique perk as compared to other savings accounts for kids in the Philippines.

Learn more about BDO Junior Savers Account here.

Life Insurance Policy (Education Plan)

Check out: Philam Life , AXA , Prulife UK, FWD, Sunlife and Manulife.

photo from Sunlife Financial Philippines

Apple Watch Series 5

P23,990 at Apple

Nikon Coolpix W100

P11,000 in Lazada

We hope this helped you organize your shopping list. Keep in mind that by giving the gift of experience and essentials, you are bringing more joyful memories and less stress in a family home- and that is something no amount of money can buy. Happy Holidays!

Family Travel Tips Series: Entrepreneurs On-the-Go

Being an Entrepreneur is not easy. Working round-the-clock, finding time to travel could be pretty challenging. But, with today’s technology, working remotely while on a holiday has already been made possible, and these two hands-on dads couldn’t agree more.

We asked businessmen Mike Nocom and Ivan Calatrava to share why they travel with their brood and the lessons they learned from their years of seeing the world with their families, amid their busy schedules.

Mike and his wife, Aileen spend most of their time honing the skills of their high-achiever son, Axel, who just won the recently concluded Petron Karting Academy Championship. When they are not busy running their businesses, they are either out Kart Racing or traveling. To know more about Karting for Kids, visit their page, Axel Motorsports.

Ivan and Polly are Iloilo -based entrepreneurs who seem to frequent the beach on a whim. Having worked as flight attendants, they have an innate love for travel which they continue to nurture to this day, with their daughter, Aga, in tow.

Mike and Aileen / Ivan and Polly

Children:

Mike : 7 year-old son. We traveled with him to Hong Kong Disneyland after his third birthday.

Ivan: 8 year-old daughter. The first time my daughter rode a plane was when she was 3 months old. We flew from Manila to Davao to spend the holidays home.

What is the biggest challenge for you when traveling with kids? Any unforgettable experience you want to share? 

Mike: The biggest challenge is feeding [my son] because [he] is a picky eater. Also, [dealing with] sickness . Luckily, he never got sick during the actual travel, but, twice, he got sick before the trip so [we had to cancel the flight].

Ivan: The biggest challenge for us when traveling with our daughter is waking her up early when we have scheduled tours. When she was younger, we would bathe and dress her up even if she was still half asleep.

What is your favorite product (what brand) to pack when traveling with a baby /toddler/ kid? 

Mike: Lactacyd Toddler, Aquafresh Toothpaste and EQ Dry

Ivan: My wife always makes sure my daughter has her own water bottle in her backpack to keep her hydrated throughout the day. This also saves us a few bucks as we can easily refill it with water when we’re at a restaurant. We love the brand Takeya as it keeps the water cold for at least 8 hours. It comes in 14,18,24,32 and 40 oz.

What’s your favourite family trip so far? Why?

Mike: Singapore trip was the best, except [that we did not like] the weather [then].We watched an F1 race and went to 2 theme parks and a night safari.

Ivan: For abroad, our most memorable trip was seeing the Swiss Alps. It was our daughter’s first time to play, see, touch and taste snow. She loved Switzerland so much because of how clean their lakes and rivers are and because they have a lot of swans.
Here in the Philippines, our most memorable trip was snorkeling in Apo Reef which is located in Mindoro. It was her first time to see and swim with a baby white tip shark, stingray and hawksbill turtle-all living in the wild. She saw how majestic Philippine islands and beaches are.

Can you share 1 or 2 travel hacks that other parents could use when traveling with kids?

Mike: 1. I have a micro scooter luggage that my son can ride so that we don’t have to bring a stroller. 2. wear Skechers Go Walk.

Ivan: Pack activity books, pens and crayons, and pieces of paper in your child’s backpack. This will help minimize their gadget use during long haul travels. Bring a light jacket for your little one even if your destination is somewhere tropical. Kids usually get cold inside airports and airplanes.

What message can you impart to first time parents who are currently planning their first family trip and are very anxious about it?

Mike: Go to a country you have [already] been to if you are bringing your child for the 1st time.  Preferably, not a developing country.

Ivan : Traveling with a child is not easy. There will always be whining and tantrums and bathroom emergencies which will test your patience…when that happens, just keep in mind-you are on VACATION. Don’t sweat the small stuff. What’s important is the happiness you see in your child’s eyes.

Traveling with family is important because it teaches you to be grateful. You appreciate new places together while enjoying each others company. You get to realize that we live in a beautiful world and how blessed we are to experience this together. – Ivan and Polly

Family Travel Tips Series: Hangry By Nature

While most people consider traveling with the whole family as an ultimate holiday experience, happening once or twice a year, Tina, Andy and their two boys do this as regularly as the sun sets. From Australia to wherever their itchy feet take them, this travel savvy bunch is our ultimate source of smart family travel tips and hacks. One morning, when we were preparing for our Osaka trip, we stumbled upon their YouTube channel, and we’re hooked! So, when we came up with the Family Travel Tips Series , Hangry by Nature was at the top of our list! They are funny, informative and inspiring! Read on to learn how they do what they do so well. (We just had to share their answers verbatim, because it’s like we can actually hear them talk!)

Tina and Andy

Children: 2 kids plus a man-child (and myself [Tina] cos I’m really just a 12-year old trapped in an overgrown body). – [LOL!] Boys are aged 2 and 4.

Current occupation: content creators.

How young were your children when you first traveled with them and where to?

Our eldest was 14 months when we went to Europe and after that, we had our second and his first overseas trip was to Thailand and Vietnam at 6 weeks old.

What is the biggest challenge for you when traveling with kids? Any unforgettable experience you want to share? 

Keeping our 2-year old occupied whilst on daytime flights and adjusting to jetlag in the initial days is killaaaah. It’s pretty dandy after that!


What is your favorite product (what brand) to pack when traveling with a baby /toddler/ kid? 

Our trusty Google Chromecast! We never travel without it, as it allows us to chuck on Netflix or YouTube for the boys and allows for Andy and I to get work done or just have some downtime.

What’s your favourite family trip so far? Why? 

Japan. Hands down. Self-explanatory

Can you share 1 or 2 travel hacks that other parents could use when traveling with kids?

Book night time flights. Get a Chromecast. Download Netflix movies before travelling. Always book an Airbnb with a washing machine because kids are grotty AF.

What message can you impart to first time parents who are currently planning their first family trip and are very anxious about it?

Try to relax and go with the flow. People are more understanding than we think and most of the time will accommodate when you’re travelling with kids. Don’t be afraid to ask for an extra seat if available at check-in so your kids can have more space to sleep (it worked a lot for us). You’ll always have bad experiences but the good far outweigh the stresses of travelling with kids. Lastly, travel often. Kids adapt so quick and become amazing little travellers.

Why You Should Let Your Kids Be Barefoot Outside

When Thomas was 14 months old, we brought him to his paternal grandparents’ home in Maloma, Zambales, for the first time. It was a weekend of many firsts for him: first time to see chickens, first time to go to the beach and first time to walk on sand and  grass, barefoot. The highlight of this trip was his going about the property sans shoes because it was something I wanted him to experience as a baby.

The reasons I allowed this were 1. We were in a safe place 2. I believe in the benefits of this ancient activity – what others refer to as Earthing and what I like to call, Grounding.

Grounding has many benefits to everyone in the family. But to babies experiencing this for the first time, the effects are magical. Experts suggest that connecting to the earth has physiological boosts, and to babies, this could help in their overall development.

According to the US National Center for Biotechnology Information, in their Environmental Medicine Research,

the Earth’s surface possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons. The surface of the planet is electrically conductive (except in limited ultradry areas such as deserts), and its negative potential is maintained (i.e., its electron supply replenished) by the global atmospheric electrical circuit [12].

Mounting evidence suggests that the Earth’s negative potential can create a stable internal bioelectrical environment for the normal functioning of all body systems. Moreover, oscillations of the intensity of the Earth’s potential may be important for setting the biological clocks regulating diurnal body rhythms, such as cortisol secretion [3].

It is also well established that electrons from antioxidant molecules neutralize reactive oxygen species (ROS, or in popular terms, free radicals) involved in the body’s immune and inflammatory responses. The National Library of Medicine’s online resource PubMed lists 7021 studies and 522 review articles from a search of “antioxidant + electron + free radical” [3]. It is assumed that the influx of free electrons absorbed into the body through direct contact with the Earth likely neutralize ROS and thereby reduce acute and chronic inflammation [4].

Throughout history, humans mostly walked barefoot or with footwear made of animal skins. They slept on the ground or on skins. Through direct contact or through perspiration-moistened animal skins used as footwear or sleeping mats, the ground’s abundant free electrons were able to enter the body, which is electrically conductive [5]. Through this mechanism, every part of the body could equilibrate with the electrical potential of the Earth, thereby stabilizing the electrical environment of all organs, tissues, and cells.

Modern lifestyle has minimized our exposure to nature and thus increasingly taking us away the Earth’s natural flow of electrons. The influx of rubber and plastic footwear has limited us even more from our connection with the Earth.

However, with modern technology, indoor grounding has become an option to those who could barely have access to nature. Grounding socks, mattresses, patches and water bottles, among others, are now easily accessible. Read more here.

As a child, I had the luxury of grounding because of the the environment I grew up in. Nowadays, due to the lack of clear and safe spaces, parents who practice this exercise opt for indoor earthing activities. But for those who, like me, yearn for outdoor play, we highly recommend taking your kids somewhere “dirty” like the beach, a garden, a produce farm or an eco park.

Here are  the benefits of grounding, as written by @ecoexplorers

Top 5 reasons for casting aside your shoes and going barefoot – whatever the weather or season.

1. Earthing: Tapping into the Earth’s natural energy

When we practice Earthing – connecting our skin directly with the Earth’s natural surfaces – negative electrons from the Earth are absorbed into our bodies. This offsets the mass of positive electrons we absorb every day from simply living in a world surrounded by electrical devices, wi-fi and mobile phones. Earthing allows us to help restore our natural balance.

2. Neutralise free radicals…and sleep better!

Pain, fatigue, poor sleep, auto-immune disorders and chronic disease are all thought to be related to inflammation caused by free radicals. Boosting the number of negative electrons in our bodies is crucial to keeping free radicals under control, and the simplest way to do this is by Earthing. Walking barefoot for a half hour on the Earth’s natural surfaces gives our bodies time to absorb those necessary negative electrons – encouraging children to do this with you may just improve everyone’s quality of sleep!

3. Stimulate pressure points & the nervous system

When children wear shoes, they are missing out on the most basic sensory experience of them all – the feeling of dirt, rocks, leaves and twigs beneath their feet. Our feet are hard-wired with multiple pressure points and nerve endings to convey messages to other parts of our bodies. Wearing shoes dulls the effectiveness of these nerve endings, while going barefoot stimulates them and, in turn, our entire nervous system. It’s perhaps the easiest and most cost-effective form of sensory play!

4.Strengthen their joints & muscles

Walking barefoot strengthens the muscles in children’s feet and ankles, improving balance and posture. It engages the feet’s arches, strengthening them, and improves the alignment of muscles throughout the legs. This, in turn, helps prevent stability problems in joints such as the hips, knees and ankles, reducing the risks of injury later in life.

5. Foster a connection with nature

Removing their shoes immediately requires children to become more aware of their surroundings – how does the ground feel? Is there a sharp rock ahead? What was that rustle in the bushes? Their senses are heightened – they’re paying attention. From that attention comes an appreciation of the natural world they are walking through. They feel the papery leaves crunching underfoot. The softness of the grass. The sharpness of prickles.

When all five senses are fully engaged, they completely connect with nature and, after all, what better time than childhood to develop a love of being in the natural world?

So, go and let the children play outside, barefoot!

As, the @ecoexplorer mama put it, children are 100% washable! Guaranteed!

Thomas meets the beach for the first time

10 Things to Bring When Traveling with a Baby

For some reason, Thomas asks for milk everytime we are in a cold place, and walking. In this picture, we’re inside an MTR station in Hong Kong.

Traveling with a baby can be so much fun, especially when inconveniences such as dirty surfaces, carrying around dirty diapers, washing dishes in hotel sinks, among others, are kept out of the way by genius products made for parents-on-the-go. Aside from the common essentials such as a complete diaper bag, blanket, and disposable milk bags, here is a list of things we find very useful and deem fit to be added to our usual travel checklist.

1. Non – Contact Thermometer that Can Measure Body, Room and Bottle Temperature

Image result for drkea thermometer mom reviews
Perfect for active toddlers like Thomas!

When traveling with a baby, especially an infant, it is very important to keep an eye on baby’s temperature regularly to ensure that he or she is comfortable and well. During the cold months, most especially, when baby has layers of clothes on, it is essential to check not just his or her body temperature, but the room temperature as well.

Parents nowadays are so fortunate because the best thermometers in the market at present have great features and are user-friendly. One of the highly recommended brands is Drkea +. Their Ear and Forehead Thermometer is voted number 1 by Parenting Pick and it received a high rating not only from Best Reviews Guide but from other mom blogs as well. Unlike other non-contact thermometers that will only keep beeping with fever indication, this one shows color indication for fever warning. Accurate, reliable and easy to use, this thermometer from DrKea+ can measure body, room and even baby bottle temperature! Worth it! SHOP HERE.

2. Compact, Lightweight, Folds Flat and One-hand Maneuver Pushchair with Rain Cover and Travel Bag

We love our Joie Baby Pact ! This pushchair is suitable from birth, with flat, reclining seat. We paired this with the Joie infant carrier to form a travel system . What we love about this is it is lightweight, very easy to fold (even with just one hand!) and it packs flat into a compact fold. It comes with a carry bag and rain cover which is perfect for travel! The shopping basket below the seat is surprisingly full-size – we can put the baby bag and our Ergo Baby carrier with ease! The best part is, it costs only around 250 USD!

3. Hip- Seat Carrier

Image result for ergo baby hip seat carrier

The baby carrier we used during our winter holiday when Thomas was still 8-months old, was the Ergo Baby Adapt Carrier. While we liked how easy and comfortable it is to use, we thought of switching to the one with a hip seat when Thomas turned 10 months. This was when he started to walk, grew taller, gained a lot of weight and loves to face front when being carried! This carrier made our travel to Disneyland so much easier as he did not have to turn his head to see the attractions. I found this also easier to use on the plane and when in the train. The hip seat is detachable – perfect for parents with toddlers who want to go up and down and up again! Best 200 USD purchase!

4. Disposable Diaper Sacks

Image result for sassy diaper bags

One of our dear friends gave us a bag of diaper sacks during the baby shower, and we could never be more grateful! This product is a life-saver for new moms like me. When Thomas was born, we lived in a condo, which means, we had to take the elevator to dispose of our trash everyday. The powdery scent of the bag controls the odor, so, we are spared of embarrassment every single time. This is also very handy during our travels especially when we had to change diapers and there is no trash can nearby. It seals tightly and neatly so you would not have to worry about spills. This is totally a must-have at home and on-the-go!

5. Disposable Stick-on Placemats

Image result for sesame street table topper disposable stick-on placemats

I think this is necessary when eating out during travels because this provides a sanitary eating surface especially for babies or toddlers who spread food around the table and love to touch the surface. But even when yours is the behaved type, this product would give you peace of mind, knowing that your baby is protected from the myriad of germs present in public spaces and restaurants! It is disposable so no need to wash or wipe after meals. Choose a mat that has a colorful design to keep baby entertained!

6. Baby Snacks

Image result for happy baby puffs

Thank God for healthy baby snacks! These are your life-savers during long lines, heavy traffic, delayed flights and places with no baby-friendly food options. We prefer Happy Baby Puffs, Sproutz and Gerber Organic.

7. No Vacuum Needed Space Saver Bags

Image result for acrodo space saver travel bags for clothes

Increase storage space by 300% and make space for other important things in your luggage ! We use Acrodo Space Saver Bags because aside from space, it saves us time as we don’t have to use a pump anymore to compress the clothes. This is really helpful because Thomas and I share one luggage every time we travel.

8. First aid and medicine kit for baby

Image result for first aid kit for baby

In my post about our winter holiday in Japan, I included this in my checklist. This is very important and must be thoroughly prepared with your pediatrician’s guidance.

Two weeks before our winter trip, we visited our pediatrician to ask for prescription medicines in case of emergency. It is best to see your doctor to ensure the correct dosage. Below is the list of medicines our doctor recommended we bring.

  1. Antihistamine
  2. Antibiotics (Suspension)
  3. Paracetamol Drops
  4. Nasal Decongestant Drops( for colds)
  5. Cough Medicine

and here are the things I included in our first -aid kit:

  1. Non-contact thermometer – this was in my pocket the whole time! I used this to check his temperature ( must not go below 36.5 C or above 37 C) and the room temperature ( between 68 and 72 degrees F is a good range in winter). When the room is too hot, research has shown that it can increase your baby’s risk of SIDS; when it’s too cold, baby can easily become uncomfortably chilly and wake up unnecessarily. Again, it is best to discuss this with your doctor to be guided accordingly.
  2. Saline solution – baby’s nose could get clogged due to the cold weather so this is quite handy.
  3. Chest rub – I brought Mustela Soothing Chest Rub for his chest and Vicks Baby Rub for his feet 
  4. Aveeno Eczema Lotion – for his atopic skin
  5. Mustela Cleansing Water – very handy during nappy changes in public spaces.
  6. Mustela Cold Cream Stick – to keep his cheeks and lips moisturized.
  7. Scissors
  8. Band aid strips

9. Portable Collapsible Basin

Image result for collapsible basin

This is very useful. Before I discovered this, I used to wash my baby’s bottles and cutlery in hotel sinks which I find really stressful. This portable and collapsible basin gives me the peace of mind I need when traveling with my toddler and it also saves space in my luggage.

10. Portable Bottle brush and Drying Rack

Image result for boon trip travel drying rack

This portable drying rack and brush set is amazing. During travel, it stresses me out to have to just put Thomas’s bottles and cutlery on a paper towel to dry. I feel that it is still not clean even after sterilizing each item. Also, even after leaving them to dry overnight, the bottles would still have moisture the next day. I am so happy I discovered this product. The way this is designed allows the air to flow through and dry the items effectively. I love that it includes a large and smaller bottle brush. Definitely useful for moms who have to wash and dry breast pump parts. SHOP HERE.

That’s it for this post. If you have other items that you think should be in the list, let me know in the comments section below.

Happy trip!

Edit: Most of the things listed here may be purchased here. Shop now! (for Philippine residents only)

Christmas in Hokkaido

Christmas 2018 was very memorable for me and my family for the following reasons : 1. It was Thomas’s first Christmas 2. We celebrated it in another country for the first time 3. The trip was a gift from Thomas’s grandparents. We couldn’t be any happier and more grateful! This was a long -anticipated David family holiday, with some bumps along the wait including my baby bump, but it was worth all the intense preparation because it is the best yuletide celebration we have had to date. (well, for me, at least. Because hello? Snow!)

We celebrated Christmas eve with my parents and siblings in Aruga by Rockwell (will write about this awesome staycation on a separate post) and left at around 9:00 pm to catch our red-eye flight. Needless to say, Justin, Thomas and I were at the airport when the clock struck twelve. Together with us in the flight was Justin’s brother, Martin.

We took the Eva Air Hello Kitty Jet which means, we had to stop over Taipei and wait for a few hours before we get to Sapporo. So basically, the four of us spent Christmas day in transit with luggage and a baby in tow. Not to mention our minute-to-win-it like experience of having to change not just wet but soiled diapers five minutes before boarding! So memorable, indeed!

We reached Sapporo at around 9:00 pm and had onigiri for Christmas dinner. The best! All of us were billeted at Ibis Styles, Sapporo which served as our home for three days before we traveled to Hoshino Resorts, Tomamu to bask in the snow for a few more days and then headed back to Sapporo again to celebrate the New Year.

I would probably run out of headspace (right state of mind) if I write about every little detail of our trip so I will just do a run down of what I think are the highlights of our winter holiday.

OTARU

This deserves a solo post. But, for the sake of this list, i’ll encapsulate my experience in three words: Magical but expensive. Magical because of the snow-covered Otaru Canal and the charming, European feel of the city; expensive because it just is. Most claim it to be a tourist trap because of the scores of souvenir shops selling pricey mementos around town. Nevertheless, I would say it is worth the experience. There are a lot of reasons to go to Otaru but below are my top three.

  1. Otaru Canal – The best spot for a family photoshoot, this attraction has a certain charm that takes you back in time and makes you feel like a character in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Thomas and his Daddy
Thomas and the guys
Thomas with his grandparents
Thomas and Mama

2. Naruto Honten – Really good fried chicken! For about JPY1200, you could stuff yourself with their large spring chicken combo meal with rice and miso soup. It was so good I forgot to document my food! But what makes it even better is it was a treat by Justin’s brother, Paolo. So grateful!

Going there is a bit tricky if you are planning to meet up with friends or family for a meal. There are two branches of this restaurant in Otaru and if you are unaware of this fact, you could end up waiting in the wrong restaurant like what happened to us. 😂 One branch is located near the station, called Naruto Denuki Kouji which is a smaller and newer shop.  While the main branch, Wakadori Jidori Naruto Honten is about a 15 -minute walk from the canal area. We went to the latter.

This spring chicken meal set is around JPY 1,200

3. Le TAO Honten – The name of the store “LeTAO”, is an acronym for the French phrase “La Tour Amitie Otarumeaning “Beloved Otaru Tower.” As its name suggests, LeTAO became the sweet shop loved by the people of Otaru, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018.

As Honten means headquarters, main branch or flagship store, Le TAO Otaru boasts of three levels of cheesecake goodness, with the shop on the first level, cafe on the second and observatory deck on the third. Although we were only able to admire it from the outside due to the massive crowd present at the time, we were able to try their famous Double Fromage Cheesecake at the New Chitose Airport.

Otaru is a very romantic place, indeed.

SAPPORO WHITE ILLUMINATION

Although most of the magnificent light shows ended on the day we arrived, we were still able to catch some illumination shows. My favorite was the one at the Sapporo Station south exit station square . A huge Christmas tree was brightly lit and flashing lights with music reflected on the walls of Daimaru’s exterior. It is a great experience especially for little kids. Here are some of the shows we missed:

1.Odori Park
2.Sapporo Ekimae-dori
3. Minami 1jo-dori
4. Sapporo Kita 3-Jo Plaza “AKAPLA”

While winter illumination events are now held all over Japan, it was in Sapporo that the tradition originated in 1981.

Sapporo Station South Exit Station Square

THOMAS STATION

Located at the 9th floor of ESTA in JR Sapporo Station, this is a happy place for kids under 6 years old. From the train ride, bouncy house and ball pool, the railway toys and the overwhelming Thomas and Friends merchandise, you could easily spend at least 2 hours of fun and maybe a (couple or more) thousand JPY worth of goods. 😉

Thomas at Thomas Station

PECHE GRAND

is a little patisserie, café and wine bar located on the Red Brick Plaza – a beautiful tree lined road that leads to the Old Hokkaido Government Building. The pretty interiors match the fancy and quality French desserts to complement their fresh brews. There is nothing like sipping hot coffee and savoring a slice of that soft and luxurious strawberry gateau while watching the fluffy snow fall on the fairy dust-covered roads.

I ordered this cake set for JPY 1,100 ( 2 cakes and 1 drink)

FUKUBUKURO

This Japanese New Year custom epitomizes the real meaning of the phrase “shop ’til you drop”. We went to the mall at 9:00 am with high spirits and left at 8:00 pm with aching bodies.

A combination of two Japanese words, fuku, which means ‘good luck’ and bukuro, which means ‘bag’, Fukuburo is a lucky mystery bag filled with random stuff, sold by retailers on January 1 at lower prices. Malls could get crazy packed on this day. I highly recommend leaving your babies or young kids in the hotel if you want to keep your sanity. For more information on this event, read my dedicated post here.

Crazy queue! But, since this is Japan, everything was efficient.
Worth the wait! This little bakery too was cramped! but we were happy we waited as this boulangerie and cafe serves really good breads and pastries for affordable prices!

HOSHINO RESORTS TOMAMU

A ski resort located at Naka-Tomamu Shimukappu Yufutsu Hokkaido, this is a 2-hour train ride or 1. 5- hour private ride (add 1 hour if the roads are heavily covered in snow) from Sapporo. We hired a bus for the entire family to comfortably get there. We had so much fun despite the freezing temperature. Even if you don’t or can’t ski, there are many activities for everyone, including babies. More on this fun trip here.

On the way to the Unkai Gondola Ride

NEW YEAR’S DAY LUNCH AT MERCURE SAPPORO

On New Year’s day, we all gathered at Bordeaux Restaurant for thanksgiving lunch. This is Mercure Sapporo’s French buffet restaurant. This is a really special family lunch because it culminated our Christmas vacation , that which is a gift to all of us from mom and dad, and, it served as a prelude to mom’s 70th birthday on January 3rd.

Everything on the buffet spread was delicious. From the starters to the desserts, I enjoyed every bit. Indeed, it was a celebration meal.

Some of the places we went to but not featured here are: Sapporo Beer Museum, Nishiki Market, Ishiya Chocolate Factory and New Chitose Airport. I will write about these spots separately.

Two days after celebrating the new year, we flew back home with cold hands, warm hearts, full bellies and even fuller smiles as we once again filled our memory banks to the brim.

ありがとうございました !
(arigatou gozaimashita!)

Traveling with a Baby on a Winter to Japan

When Thomas was 8-months old, we flew out of the country with him for the first time. It was almost a year’s worth of planning because we booked the trip when I was still a few months into my pregnancy. But seriously, coming from a tropical country, I felt that I still was not prepared enough to bring an infant to the -20 C winter wonderland that is Hokkaido. I was anxious for months about how to keep him warm, how to feed him, what medicines to bring, etc. I did an extensive research by talking to his doctor, to other parents and by reading other blogs. Thankfully, I was able to come up with a plan that fortunately worked. The key is ORGANIZATION. So to cut the story short, I packed his clothes and essentials two months before the trip and made sure to be as organized as I can be as he and I shared one 20kg luggage for the entire 10-day trip. Below are some tips that you might find useful if you are traveling soon with a baby during the cold months.

CLOTHES

Shop for clothes and shoes at least two months before the trip to ensure the correct size .(babies grow so fast it hurts!) I highly recommend buying bigger sizes to allow room for layers. Proper layering is so important because babies could easily freeze or overheat if not done correctly. A good rule of thumb is that a baby, especially an infant, needs one more layer of clothing than you do. If you are baby-wearing, you (your body) count as another layer so be mindful of that as well. Remember to remove hats, mittens and sometimes footwear and jackets when indoors as it could get really warm inside trains, taxis, malls, etc. There were times when Thomas was just in his base layer sans shoes and socks because it was too hot inside the mall. They said that an ideal room temperature for a baby is 16 to 20 degrees Celsius so keep that in mind too. Here is a list of his winter clothes and where we got them.

  1. Base layer – Heat Tech leggings and long-sleeved top (Uniqlo)- must be snug fit to allow the technology to work.
  2. Second layer – fleece onesie footie pajamas (Carter’s) OR non-fleece (Mother care) OR fleece or wool separates / cotton separates if wearing fleece as third layer. (H&M)
  3. Third layer – cable knit sweater (H&M) , pants (H&M)
  4. Fourth layer – Ultra light-weight jacket (Uniqlo)
  5. Fifth layer – heat tech socks (Uniqlo) , Hats (H&M and Uniqlo), Mittens (H&M)
  6. Extras -Shoes (H&M), Fleece blanket that I clipped on the carrier (Uniqlo), Fleece-lined water repellent, wind-proof jacket (Carter’s)

Remember to check the temperature and weather first before layering your baby. We were only able to use all the layers above in Tomamu where it was – 20 C. In Sapporo, where it was averaging from 0 C to 7 C, Thomas was mostly wearing four layers with socks and shoes. He seemed to enjoy the cold as he didn’t like to wear a hat and mittens most of the time. So, always remember to check the baby’s comfort first before piling on those clothes.

I packed my baby’s outfits by creating a daily ensemble, neatly placing them in ziplock bags and labeling each bag with dates and expected temperature for each date. So, that was a total of 10 sets with 1 bag each for the extras – socks, mittens, base layers, hats. (always bring extra mittens in case your baby is a finger biter. ) This way, I was able to save a lot of space in my luggage!

FOOD

Thomas was formula- fed at 8 months. Here are the essentials we brought and some tips to make formula feeding easier. In our hand- carry, we brought eight Pigeon bottles filled with water and 8 packs of milk stored in a disposable formula bag. The rest of the milk ( 4x 1.8kg) were in the checked- in luggage. Don’t worry about airport security issues on water allowance. Just firmly say that it is for the baby and you will be allowed to go through.

  1. Mother -K Powdered Milk Storage Bags ( Baby Company) – this is so convenient as it lessens the bulk in the baby bag.
  2. Milton Sterilizing Tablets
  3. Pigeon Baby Water ( Available in most drugstores in Japan). Although their tap water is generally safe – just make sure to boil it.
  4. Solid Food – we brought rice crackers and puffs but we also bought in the supermarket in Sapporo. The restaurants are generally baby-friendly with options in the menu and cutlery fit for babies.

For breastfeeding moms, most changing rooms are equipped with chairs, albeit narrow if you want privacy. Breastfeeding in public is okay, I think as long as you’re wearing a nursing cover. Breastfeeding in trains is not a practice. I saw moms step out of the trains and fed their babies in the station. Their malls have nursing stations with comfortable chairs and baby caddies in case you need to pee and there’s no one to hold the baby for you. So convenient!

STROLLER OR CARRIER?

Since we went to a ski resort (Hoshino Resorts, Tomamu), we thought it best to use the carrier. Aside from the fact that it is hard to push a stroller on ice and snow, it is easier to keep track of baby’s temperature when he or she is just a sniff away. We used Ergo Baby Adapt on this trip.

MEDICINE BAG

Two weeks before our trip, we visited our pediatrician to ask for prescription medicines in case of emergency. It is best to see your doctor to ensure the correct dosage. Below is the list of medicines our pedia recommended we bring.

  1. Antihistamine
  2. Antibiotics (Suspension)
  3. Paracetamol Drops
  4. Nasal Decongestant Drops( for colds)
  5. Cough Medicine

and here are the things I included in our first -aid kit:

  1. Fora non-contact thermometer – this was in my pocket the whole time! I used this to check his temperature ( must not go below 36.5 C or above 37 C) and the room temperature ( between 68 and 72 degrees F is a good range in winter). When the room is too hot, research has shown that it can increase your baby’s risk of SIDS; when it’s too cold, baby can easily become uncomfortably chilly and wake up unnecessarily. Again, it is best to discuss this with your doctor to be guided accordingly.
  2. Saline solution – baby’s nose could get clogged due to the cold weather so this is quite handy.
  3. Chest rub – I brought Mustela Soothing Chest Rub for his chest and Vicks Baby Rub for his feet 🙂
  4. Aveeno Eczema Lotion – for his atopic skin
  5. Mustela Cleansing Water
  6. Mustela Cold Cream Stick – for his cheeks and lips
  7. Betadine ( the yellow one)
  8. Band-Aid strips

ADDITIONAL TIPS

During the flight, Thomas was just in his heat tech base layer. His second layer, jacket, hat, mittens and socks were in the hand-carry. Upon arrival at the airport, we changed him into full winter clothes . Changing rooms are available in most (or probably all?) airports in Japan.


Strollers are available in most malls and department stores, to be used inside for free.

Japan is generally a baby- friendly country with clean baby- changing facilities available in almost all public areas. But unlike the Philippines, or other countries (we have been to), baby essentials like formula milk, sterilizing tablets, diapers and baby water are mostly found in drugstores and rarely in groceries or convenience stores.

When traveling to a ski resort, make sure you’re all- packed for the trip as baby products are rarely available (in Tomamu – NONE AT ALL) in these places.

Bring a foldable umbrella or buy in convenience stores in case of heavy snowfall.

Don’t bring too many diapers! Save luggage space and just pack enough until you can go to a drugstore and buy more. We bought the brand Moony. It was a tad more expensive than our usual brand but it was super absorbent that we did not change as often as we normally would. It was worth it.

So, that’s about it for this post. If you think I missed an important detail or if you have other travel-with-a-baby concerns you wish to discuss, let me know in the comments section! Enjoy your trip and learn as much as you can along the way!

To read about our Christmas experience in Hokkaido, click here.

Sending you good energy,

Samantha