Tips for Shinkansen with kids
Traveling in Japan with a baby

3 Tips for catching the shinkansen in Japan with young kids

I recently went to Kyoto with my kids and I must say, every time is slightly different!

I am not sure if it is because they are getting older, but every time requires a bit of flexibility and to go with the flow in terms of their needs.

This time, I booked non-reserved tickets for the bullet train, which was lucky because it allowed me and the kids to take our time and simply hop on the first shinkansen that came by. When we arrived at the station, my kids suddenly wanted to go to the toilet……3 times! After alot of back and forth, we were finally ready to board the shinkansen. Of course I could have taken the kids to the toilet once we were on the shinkansen, but there was a risk that they couldn’t hold it in for long enough. There are no toilets on the shinkansen platform, so you either have to go back to the station toilets or wait until you’re inside the shinkansen. Compared to catching a plane, the shinkansen is extremely convenient as you don’t have to check-in early or get to the airport hours before your flight, but I can still see the merit of arriving a little earlier (for example 30min before you plan to board the shinkansen) to allow any emergency toilet trips or anything else that your kids require to make them comfortable and ensure you enjoy the trip:)

So my big 3 tips this time were:

  1. Arrive early (about 30min early is fine) to allow you time to buy snacks, buy shinkansen toys, and go to the toilet!
  2. Buy shinkansen toys – these are so much fun and will keep your kids entertained on board the shinkansen
  3. Buy snacks – if you don’t have time to get snacks before you board, don’t worry! You can buy snacks from the trolley cart that comes along the train.

For my earlier videos about catching a shinkansen with a baby, make sure you check this blog post!

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2 thoughts on “3 Tips for catching the shinkansen in Japan with young kids

  1. Carey says:

    We are visiting Japan right now and have ridden 2 Shinkansen trains with our 2-year-old. Good experiences both times. We did not reserve seats and the first time was okay because that is where the train started. The second time it was more crowded. Yes on arriving early and yes on bringing toys! Eating is acceptable on these trains… thank goodness! We brought our “big” American stroller and suitcase and although luggage space is limited, it was fine too. Yay for a great time!

    1. Kate says:

      Hooray! Thank you Carey! I am so glad you had a great time! x Kate

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