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Destination: Kunitachi

Japan With Kids - Forums: Moving to and Leaving Japan: Moving To Japan: Destination: Kunitachi
By Grace Tan on Wednesday, June 25, 2003 - 3:47 am:

We are moving to Kunitachi in September with our 1 year-old son. While it seems there are lots of resources for foreigners living in Toyko proper, I'm wondering what life is like in the suburbs for someone with very limited Japanese language skills and a toddler. Any thoughts?

Also, I'd like to be able to go into Tokyo frequently with my son via train. How stroller friendly is the train system?

By Melissa Mcnulty on Thursday, June 26, 2003 - 11:44 pm:

Hi Grace,

Don't know about Kunitachi - where is it in relation to Tokyo proper? As to the train system, well it is not that stroller friendly, but definately getting better. I have noticed that more and more of the train stations are installing lifts, so you don't have to lug the stroller up and down stairs, however, there are usually escalators on most platforms, and if you are feeling daring, stroll the stroller on and off you go (most have stickers prohibiting stroller on them, but who is going to stop you? They would have the responsibility of helping you up the stairs...).

Subways are less stroller friendly, some have significant hikes up many flights of stairs to get to the exits. Japan produces some excellent, lightweight strollers though, so maybe invest in one when you get here.

Don't let the lack of facilities in the stations stop you from getting out and about though. You do get used to it - I promise!

Good luck with your move.

By Pato on Friday, June 27, 2003 - 8:07 am:

Comments on subway stations in Tokyo:
Tokyo With Kids - Forums: General Discussions: Pram-Friendly Subway Stations

Kunitachi is out past Mitaka (West of Shinjuku) just before Tachikawa (and a bit south of Yokota base). It is on the JR Chuo/Sobu line so access to Tokyo is pretty good. The shortest to Shinjuku would be on the JR Chuo line 33 minutes for Y380. ( Some Chuo trains are rapid and some are local. Unfortunately the JR stations are the least likely to have adequate infrastructure for handicapped people (I think of being loaded down with rugrats as a handicap!).

The good news is that if you are not in a hurry, the station staff will help you with your stroller and your child. But of course they have to see that you need help first, and sometimes there are stairs even before you get to the ticket gate and window manned by personnel. You also will need to learn how to ask for help in Japanese.

The positive side: After moving from the USA to Tokyo mostly one will get lots of exercise and lose weight.

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