Destination: Kyoto and OsakaKyoto

Know before you go

  • Don’t forget deodorant – it gets hot and it is hard to find in stores
  • ATMs- Most ATMs, except those at the Post Office and 7-11 do not accept international ATM cards. Machines at 7-11 do not always have English translations either, so when you find an ATM that works with your card, stock up on cash.
  • Post Offices are not marked well on the tourist map you will receive at Kyoto Station. Keep an eye out for a red box in front of a building. These are usually post office boxes.
  • Credit Cards are not accepted everywhere, even grocery stores. Make sure you have Yen on hand.
  • An easy way to figure out the exchange rate is to just divide everything by 100. This is in no way exact, but it will help you get past paying 1,020 yen for something.
  • Bring a light stroller, umbrella stroller preferably. There are a lot of steps at many of the major sights. Be prepared to carry baby and any gear.
  • Bring an umbrella- it can rain without notice and it can also provide some relief from the hot sun.
  • In general, food courts or casual dining are on the bottom floor of large shopping centers and the slightly nicer, but still kid-friendly sit-down restaurants are on the upper floors.

While there

Osaka
  • The subway is your best friend. Do not be afraid to use it. Rides will cost from 200-370 Yen, depending on where you want to go.
Kyoto
  • You can rent bikes by the week on Kawabata-dori (two places) on the east bank of the Kamo River and just north of Sanjo Bridge
  • Bus- the bus system is wonderful. Rides cost 220 yen. You enter the bus from the back, and exit from the front. Pay as you leave.
  • PDF of walking tours and attraction costs

Lodging

Food

  • Kid-friendly eating in Japan
  • There are a multitude of bakeries in Kyoto and Osaka. These are great, quick breakfast stops for families.
  • Conveyor belt sushi is a cheap way to grab a bit
  • Okonomiyaki is mana from heaven and kids will love it
  • Food courts below large department stores are a treasure trove of treats in a variety of price ranges. Sit down dining options on the top floors are also great places to grab a meal. Many have plastic food to help you order and the prices can be quite reasonable.
  • The Lipton Tea House has delicious desserts and so-so entrees if you need a quiet bite after a long day. Very kid-friendly.

Helpful Phrases

  • Hello- Konichiwa
  • Thank you- Arigato gozaimasu
  • Excuse Me/ I’m sorry – sumimasen
  • I understand- Watashi wa wakarimasu (silent u at the end) 
  • I do not understand – Watashi wa wakarimasen (make note of the 2 slightly different endings)

Attractions

Osaka
Kyoto