What jet-lagged people do the first day of a trip (Travel to Japan with kids)


September 29, 2013 by Terumi

riding the nex in tokyo

I’ve read everywhere that once you land in another time zone you just have to embrace it. We arrived in Tokyo around 6 pm and we were all exhausted so we grabbed a light dinner and put the kids to bed around their regular time.

And then they woke up around 3 am.

We were actually totally excited because we thought this would mean we get to see the Tsukiji market at opening.  But lovely friends traveling to Japan with kids take note: on Sundays, the Tsukiji market is CLOSED!  So what I thought was a fool-proof plan was foiled.
Somehow we managed to keep the kids bed-bound for a few more hours. We tried some tv and let them play quietly with the toys we packed.

Then the hubby realized our Japanese bathroom could be a contained water-park.
By the time this game was over we could head to the streets for breakfast.


We found a Mr. Donut in the neighborhood.  Another great place to search for food is in the underground train stations; a lot of places in the train stations are open early so that was another plus to our JR pass.

After breakfast and a long walk we went back to our hotel because we were hit with monsoon-ish rains and in Ginza on a Sunday, NOTHING is open until at least 10am.


But at 10am we made it for the opening of one of my favorite stores in the world: Muji.

muji store marinouchi


The one we visited (I think this one was in Marinouchi, I found it through this blog) had a great cafe and was attached to another of our favorite Japanese stores called Loft.
Muji has so many cool things.  I love the customizable notebook section.  You buy your notebook then can stamp and make it your own.

There was another section for making your own packaging and stamping your own cloth bags.  The kids liked the small play area and I really enjoyed the food in the cafe.


muji store marniouchi

And we also found another cool place for kids in the Ginza area, the Hahuginkan Toy Park. 


Now normally, all these things would require maps and prior notes and planning when we’re in another city without a dataplan but my incredibly smart hubby found a portable WIFI rental so we could use our smartphones EVERYWHERE in Japan for less than about $8USD per day.  So, we had no problem ever finding anything at anytime and it made traveling on the fly so easy which is a definite plus when traveling with kids.  He had it delivered to our hotel when we arrived and we just sent it off in the mail at the airport (the post box is right before you go through security)

This adventure saved our morning and we returned to our hotel for luggage so we could head to the train for our next adventure to Okayama, a three hour ride away.
If you’re curious about our itinerary, we had a tight 7-day schedule for this leg of our trip to Japan.  Our goal was to visit family in an area called Kochi on Shikoku Japan which seems far, but it’s such a beautiful place to visit.  We could have flown by air but I had a romantic idea that train travel would be fun. I was even tempted to use the overnight train the hubby and I took ages ago, but vetoed that one last minute, thankfully.  Two hyper 5-year olds on a sleeping train is a bad idea but we will definitely try this next time we visit!
So Day 1: land in Narita take NEX train to Tokyo Station.
Day 2: sight-see in morning. take train to Okayama
Day 3:take train to Kochi early morning
Day 4:visit with relatives
Day 5:trains from Kochi to Kyoto
Day 6: kyoto to Yokohama see Hikawamaru
Day 7: Yokohama to Narita to catch flight to Singapore

This itinerary ended up working very well.  With the JR pass we always pre-booked our travel the night before.  We often timed our 2-3 hour train rides around 12-3 pm so we could lunch on the train and arrive at our next destination in time for a little sight-seeing before dinner.  I’ll let you know more about the trip in the next post.  For now, I’m making pancakes and it’s around 3 in the morning in Seattle.  Yes, jet-lag upon re-entry is something we’re working on right now.


  1. Alison says:

    I love Muji too!
    Smart idea with getting affordable daily wifi.

  2. […] a beautiful forest area which spilled us out into some neighborhood near train tracks.  (Remember, we had our portable wifi, so we could always google or bing our way back if we got […]

  3. […] we were pretty exhausted and decided I’d save those for another time.  (Okayama is the 2nd stop in our Japan itinerary.  It’s a perfect stop in between Tokyo and Kochi if you’re heading that way-and you […]

  4. […] if things will be super-crowded when you get there. But we didn’t and this wasn’t our first time making this kind of mistake. I was too excited about the little bakeries, the Northern Lights and catching up on fairy tales […]

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