Are you considering traveling to Japan pregnant? In this guide we will round up everything you need to know about visiting Japan when pregnant, from where to stay, best time to visit and tips such as what you can and can’t eat in Japan when pregnant so you can have a safe and enjoyable babymoon in Japan.
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Traveling to Japan Pregnant Tips and tricks
Speak to your doctor before you travel
Whenever and wherever you are traveling when pregnant you should always consult with your doctor first to get the ok and to get information and advice.
Prepare for a long flight
Unless you are based in Asia, you are facing a pretty long flight to get to Japan. The best thing to do when flying when pregnant is to prepare for your flight.
For instance we always recommend wearing compression socks and booking an aisle seat so you can get out easily for regular walks and to get to the bathroom.
Also we recommend bringing some food on the flight with you, especially if you are flying with morning sickness.
Prepare for Jet Lag
Now if you are coming from Europe or North America for your Japan vacation then it is best to be prepared for jet lag. Our biggest tip is to make sure you have plenty of snacks with you, keep to the correct meal time at the correct time and most of all make sure you get outside and into the sunshine to help reset your body clock.
Move Around but not too much
Japan has an amazing rail system and we recommend using it to get around and see more of this amazing country. However we recommend not moving around too much.
It can be tiring when traveling pregnant, therefore we recommend picking two places in Japan and sticking to staying to accommodation in these places and do day trips out if you want to see another city.
Avoid Rush Hour if you can
Although the Japanese rail system is amazing, the subway can get extremely busy at peak times. Although people will give us seats for a pregnant lady it can be hard to see and get near seats. Therefore my advice is try and avoid the Tokyo rush hour on the subway if you can.
Does Japan have Zika
When we were looking at where to do our babymoons we wanted to do a zika free babymoon. At time of writing the CDC classifies Japan as having no zika risk. However we always recommend checking up to date information on the CDC website to make sure you have the most up to date info.
Can you use an Onsen when pregnant?
Onsens are a very popular pastime in Japan and again are something that a lot of people want to do in Japan. Hakone, is a a day trip from Tokyo and is very popular amongst people who want to have a true and authentic onsen experience.
Onsens are natural hot spring baths but the problem with these when pregnant is the temperature of the water. As any pregnant lady will tell you you are not supposed to have hot baths so hot onsens are a big no no.
There are some onsens that are cooler however these are hard to come by and temperatures can fluctuate therefore we would advise skipping the onsen when pregnant.
There are some foot onsens in Japan also, which providing your doctor is happy with you could use to say you have had at least some form of onsen experience.
Best Time to Visit Japan when Pregnant
When considering the best time to do a visit Japan pregnant or to do an Japan Babymoon there are actually two timeframes you need to consider:
- the trimester you wish to travel and best time in pregnancy to travel for a babymoon,
- the best time to visit Japan in terms of crowds and weather.
So firstly let us consider the best time to travel to Japan while pregnant.
The second trimester is often considered the golden month to travel to pregnant. That is because:
- during the first trimester you are more prone to morning sickness (unless you are like me and are unlucky enough to suffer throughout your pregnancy).
- you tend to, though not guaranteed, have more energy during your second trimester
- you aren’t as big as you will be in your third trimester when you might be more uncomfortable traveling.
Note: Obviously you should always check with your doctor before travel wherever you are going, and follow all their advice about pregnancy travel.
Personally I think the most important consideration for traveling when pregnant is the trimester but given the climate of Japan in the different areas it is worth considering how the time of year can affect your trip.
Japan in summer is very hot. In particular if you are visiting the Southern parts of Honshu island i.e. Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo, you will find that it is very hot and humid in the summer.
The Northern Island of Hokkaido is much cooler in Summer but few people tend to venture North especially when pregnant. Conversely, in the Winter Hokkaido gets extremely cold and snowy so you will need to pack lots of layers if you are visiting at this time.
Therefore we recommend trying to visit Japan in the shoulder seasons of Spring or Fall. The climate is much more pleasant and will be easier to travel Japan when pregnant at this time.
What to Pack Traveling Japan Pregnant
Firstly the most important things to take whenever you travel pregnant are medication and ointments that you require such as:
- Medicines, Folic Acid and PreNatal Vitamins that you take – no one wants to have to dash to a pharmacy to stock up on essentials
- Medical Notes and Documents – no one wants to need these when traveling but it is always worth carrying them with you.
- bio oil / Coconut Butter – or any ointments or lotions you use on your tummy to try and prevent stretch marks
- sunscreen – you skin is more sensitive when pregnant so be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen with a high SPF factor.
- Anti-Chafe Balm – for your thighs in the heat
- Panty Liners for sweat
If you forget anything from the above list, your best chance of finding them in Japan is at a pharmacy.
We also recommend packing a reusable water bottle if you are visiting Italy at any time of year.
So now you know what you should pack, what should you wear to Japan pregnant?
At a minimum we recommend:
- Comfy shoes – for walking
- Maternity Swimwear – if your Japanese accommodation has a pool or you are heading to a beach in somewhere like Okinawa then you will want swimwear with you. Also many people have visiting a Japanese onsen on their Japan bucket list, however this might not be practical when pregnant – more on this later.
- Maternity dress – for cute pictures and also if you plan to eat out at some of the high end eateries in Japan.
- compression socks – to help deal with that long flight to Japan.
Also please remember if you want to visit an Italian church that there is a conservative dress code that applies even to pregnant travelers.
For more information for what to pack when traveling pregnant check out this post.
Eating in Japan while Pregnant
Can you eat Sushi in Japan while pregnant?
You will often hear that Japanese women will eat sushi while pregnant, but it is important to stress that is is not recommend for pregnant woman to eat raw or smoked seafood. Therefore we recommend choosing your sushi options in Japan very carefully.
If you do want to eat Sushi in Japan while pregnant then you should stick to vegetarian and vegan options and stick to low mercury fish that have been fully cooked.
Personally I avoided all sushi while pregnant, even vegetarian sushi but I did not feel like I missed out as there are so many other amazing types of Japanese foods such as tempura, udon, katsu curries and more.
Where to stay in Japan when pregnant
Capsule Hotels when pregnant
One of the types of hotels that Japan is famous for is capsule hotels but we recommend avoiding these when traveling to Japan when pregnant.
They are very compact, so it can be uncomfortable to stay in a capsule hotel while pregnant.
Staying in a Ryokan when pregnant
Ryokans are another Japanese must do but should you stay in a Ryokan when pregnant? Ryokans are traditional Japanese accommodation and while a really special place to stay they might not be the best accommodation option when pregnant.
The reason for this is that the bed you get in a Ryokan is a futon that is laid directly onto the floor. Depending on how big you are, how mobile you are and how you are finding sleeping this may not be the best place for you to get a good night sleep but it really is a personal thing.
Also Ryokans usually come with delicious meals but the tables and seats here are likely to be low so you may want to consider if this will be comfortable for you in your stage of pregnancy.
Best things to do in Japan when pregnant
Japan is a country that is packed full of amazing things to do. Even our Japan 2 week itinerary only begins to scratch the surface of some of the amazing things that are on offer. In this section of the guide we will tell you some of our favorite cities in Japan to visit while pregnant and some of the best things to do in each one.
No Japan itinerary is complete without visiting Tokyo. Tokyo is the capital of Japan and the busiest place we went during our trip but not to be missed out.
It is also the most likely place you will fly into if visiting from Europe or North America and even Australia so is a great choice for when traveling to Japan when pregnant.
Some of our favorite things to do in Tokyo when pregant are Borderless Teamlab digital art museum, visiting the gardens and parks and of course visiting the famous Shibuya Crossing.
Like Tokyo, no Japan itinerary is complete without a visit to Kyoto.
Kyoto is the historic capital of Japan and the cultural heartland. I would personally that you should allocate a minimum of 4 days in Kyoto to make sure you cover all of the main cultural attractions. Some of our favorite things to do include Fushimi Inari Shrine, the Golden Pavillon, the Nijo Castle and the Gion District to name but a few..
It is also a great place to do day trips from as you can easily get to Osaka, Nara and the Bamboo forest from Kyoto.
Note: if you do go to Nara we would recommend not buying food to get and feed the wild deers. These deers can be quite fierce and it is not worth adding this risk into your itinerary esepcially when pregnant.
If you want a more relaxing babymoon then you might want to consider spending time in Okinawa for your babymoon.
Okinawa has some of the best beaches and resorts in Japan so if you want to truly want to relax on your Japan babymoon then Okinawa has to be on your list.
If you want to escape the summer heat in Japan or want to experience a lot of snow then you should consider heading to Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan.
I wouldn’t advise going to Hokkaido on your first visit to Japan especially if you are short on time but if you are a repeat visitor or like us are in the country for an extended amount of time it is definitely worthwhile. Check out our guides on the best time to visit Hokkaido and our Hokkaido itinerary for more information.
Have you traveled to Japan pregnant? We would love to hear what you did and how you found it in the comments