Baby and Kids

Useful tips to eating out in Japan with a baby

Eating out can be a real hassle with a baby. It’s the same for Japanese moms!

Here are some useful tips for eating out with your baby in Japan.

Useful tips for eating out with your baby in Japan

Try to choose baby/kids friendly restaurants

Many restaurants today have official websites, SNS site, or a page listed under online reviewing sites. You can probable tell if that restaurant is baby/kids friendly or not. If it is, it is likely that they will have high chairs or kids menu or kids plates.

Try avoiding quiet type bars or calm, luxury restaurants.

Ask for high-chairs/kids menu/kids plates

Many baby-friendly places will ask you if you need a high chair. If they don’t, don’t hesitate to ask. Here are some useful Japanese phrases:

– Do you have a high chair? (子供用のイスはありますか? Kodomo-youno isuwa arimasuka?)

– Do you have a kids menu? (子供用のメニューはありますか? Kodomo-youno menyu wa arimasuka?

– Do you have a plate/spoon/fork for kids? (子供用のお皿/スプーン/フォークはありますか? Kodomo-youno osara/supoon/foh-ku wa arimasuka?

Take a time out if the baby starts crying

Unfortunately, Japanese people do not like babies crying in restaurants. If your baby starts crying or screaming, take a moment to time out and go outside. If your baby starts a flip out and won’t stop crying, take turns eating with your mates so that one can stay outside with your baby. If you have to leave, that’s fine. Simply tell the server and they will understand. If your food has already arrived, ask if they can pack it.

Clean up after your mess

Babies make mess during meals. Of course. Everybody knows that. But make sure you clean up after your mess. If your baby drops food on the floor, pick it up. If your baby makes a huge mess on the table, wipe it before you leave.

Check for smoking/non-smoking spaces

Many Japanese restaurants allow smoking. If you do not wish to stay in a smoky place, avoid such restaurant, or ask if they have non-smoking spaces.

Useful Japanese phrases:

– Are there non-smoking seats available? (禁煙席はありますか? Kin-en-seki wa arimasuka?

– Is this restaurant non-smoking only? (ここは禁煙ですか? Koko wa kin-en desuka?

Check if baby food is available

Some baby friendly restaurants serve baby food (puree). If you want to bring in you own from the outside, ask the server if that is okay. It just manner. Also, some restaurants prohibit food from the outside.

Useful Japanese phrases:

– Do you have baby (puree) food? (ベビーフードはありますか? Be-bi fu-do wa arimasuka?

– Can I feed baby from I brought from outside? (ここでベビーフードをあげてもいいですか? Kokode be-bi fu-do wo agetemo iidesuka?)

*Note: There are two words commonly used for baby food. Although there is no specific rule, 離乳食 (Rinyu-shoku) usually refers to home made baby food, and ベビーフード (be-bi fu-do) is used for packed, ready-to-eat baby food. The two words can be used interchangeably, but many Japanese moms use them like this.

Decide to take the stroller or not

In some small restaurants, strollers cannot be taken inside. If that is the case, you will need to store it near the register, or keep it outside. It is wise to ask the server if the stroller can fit at the table before you enter the restaurant.

Useful Japanese phrases:

– Can we go in with the stroller? (ベビーカーも一緒に入れますか? Be-bi-ka mo isshoni hairemasuka?)

– Do we need to fold the stroller? (ベビーカーは畳んだ方がいいですか? Be-bi-ka wa tatanda houga iidesuka?

– Can we keep the stroller open? (ベビーカーは広げたままでいいですか? Be-bi-ka wa hirogeta mamade iidesuka?

-Where should we keep the stroller? (ベビーカーはどこに置けばいいですか? Be-bi-ka wa dokoni okeba iidesuka?

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