It’s such a privilege to have holidays with family especially if members live in different cities or far-flung parts of the world.
What are the benefits?
Bonding and quality time! In June this year, grandbaby Felix (and his parents) visited the UK where his paternal grandparents live.
The red carpet, rather a red welcome chair, was rolled out for him by Granny. Photos show the absolute delight on his and his several young cousins faces when they met and bonded. Little Rosie thinks Felix is her special baby!
Last month, Felix and his parents holidayed with his maternal grandparents (we’re called po po and goong goong) in Japan. At 10 months, Felix will not have any memories of sumo, sake, or sashimi but the adults will!
Felix met lots of new friends and random strangers would call out “kawai” cute and grab him for a cuddle!
September being the month for typhoons, we were blessed to have windows of good weather for most of our hikes. We took in the Nakasendo trail, an ancient route between Kyoto and Edo/Tokyo for samurai. This was goong goong’s request for his 70th birthday. Celebrating special birthdays this way is a great alternative to big parties.
Any travel tips for holidaying grandparents?
My top five recommendations for multigenerational travel in Japan are –
(1) Visit the countryside. It’s beautiful, the pace is slower and there’s so much to experience. Grandpa and grand baby will both be more relaxed. We have no Japanese skills but managed well. Photo at left shows Magome, a stop along the Nakasendo trail.
(2) Buy a Japan Rail pass. If your budget allows, buy a Green pass which allows for more leg room and reserved seats. I thought it would be an extravagance, and also bothersome to make reservations, but the JR officers are super efficient and speak English. Make your reservations 2 stops at a time, and activate your JR pass only when you leave your main port of embarkation. In our case we stayed in Tokyo for 5 days and activated our 14-day pass when leaving for Kanazawa. You may have to change trains and I saw travellers being very frazzled because of an 8-minute change. We were also stressed out by an 11-minute change, but soon realized that we could actually plan on 20-minute changes with appropriate train schedules.
(3) Consider renting a machiya, Japanese-style house. We had beautiful houses in Kyoto and in Takayama, which allowed us to cook a few meals and spend more time together than in hotel rooms. Even if you’ve only ever slept in Western style beds, the futon sleeping arrangements on the floor are really quite comfortable.
(4) In urban areas, it’s not much more expensive than bus or rail to take a taxi if there are 4 adults. Babies don’t need special seats and it’s quite safe.
(5) Pack a baby sling and buy a small fold-up stroller (we bought a Babyzen Yoyo) instead of bringing the regular large pram. You’ll be very thankful for the versatility as it may be difficult to find elevators and escalators in many places in Japan including train stations. Sure, a stroller is an expensive item, but there are also cheaper on-line versions of the fancy brands, and you may want to pick one up in Japan. I checked out a popular version in Toys- r-us in Aeon Mall, Kyoto, right near the train station and it was priced much cheaper than Australia.
Happy to give more travel tips on Japan…
sweet dreams grandbaby.