Tell us about yourself!
Hi, I'm Megumi Oshiba! I'm a mother of two kids, a 5-year-old boy and a 3-year-old daughter. I run a maternity/motherhood e-commerce shop called Moto Koko in Japan where I introduce families to amazing parenting items I’ve found, mainly from Australia and the United States.
How did you come to run a retail shop for moms?
I moved to Sydney in 2019 due to my husband’s job. He was asked to station there for 2 years, so I followed him with a 2-year-old toddler and a 6-month-old baby.
While I was there, I bought my first pair of the Mumsie baby-carrying overalls, and they were such a game changer for me. I had been struggling to take two little kids out in an environment I wasn’t used to, and the Mumsie overalls literally saved my parenting life.
When I recommended these to my friends in Japan, I discovered that nobody knew about them. So I did a little bit of research and was surprised to find that no shops or companies in Japan carried these baby-wearing overalls.
For many Japanese people, buying things online from a non-Japanese webpage can be challenging. That’s when I thought, “Oh, I should open a store to introduce amazing products I find in the world to Japanese moms!” That was how Moto Koko started.
What are some of the key differences between life as a mom in Japan and Australia?
I was born in Kentucky and have lived in the States for about 7 years in total, but I have spent most of my lifetime in Japan. We were in Australia for about two years with our small children, and I have to say I was more laid-back and relaxed when I was in Australia. I was in a community where kids could be kids, being free and active as they should be.
On the other hand, social etiquette has a very important place in Japanese society, and people show relatively less tolerance for kids. So once I leave a house with kids, I feel like I'm in charge of supervising them every second, and you know that can be stressful.
Having said that though, I believe Japan’s healthcare system is one of the finest in the world. I can take my kids to the doctor very easily without an appointment, and it's free of charge. As a mother of 2 little kids who often get sick, it's reassuring to know that I can ask for help when I need it.
We dream of visiting Japan and can’t wait to hear your recommendations!
But before we jump in, tell us more about the cultural differences in parenting in Japan. If we’re traveling with our children in Japan, what might be different from the US?
Strollers: Avoid taking the train with a stroller at rush hour, from 7:30 am to 9:00 am and shortly after 5:00pm. It could be dangerous for little ones. Moreover, a stroller takes up some space, and it might upset some people.
Shoes off: Many people already know that we take off our shoes in our houses, but Japanese parents also take off their kids’ shoes during a train ride when they want to enjoy the view of the window so that the seats won't be soiled. The same goes for restaurants or any other public places.
Nursing rooms: There has been an increase in the number of nursing rooms in Japan recently. You can find nursing rooms in shopping malls, large train stations (such as stations serviced by the Shinkansen high speed train), and most of the public institutions like public government offices and children's centers. Also, Shinkansen have multi-purpose restrooms that can be used for nursing your baby.
If we had two weeks, what itinerary would you recommend?
Places you just can't miss:
- Yamanashi - Mt. Fuji
- Then, come back to Tokyo
Now for your advice for a one-week trip in and around Tokyo!
Best parts of the city to stay in or visit with your family:
Senso-ji, Asakusa, Tokyo
Toyosu Fish Market, Tokyo
Kyoto Railway Museum, Kyoto
Cup Noodles Museum Yokohama, Kanagawa
Best Accommodations (hotels or places to rent):
Best Places to Play/Kid-friendly Entertainment:
Best Adult Entertainment:
Best Places to Eat (kid-friendly and adult-only):
- Eat at a sushi train (like Sushiro, Uobei, Hamazushi)
- Zauo Shinjuku : You can fish INSIDE this restaurant!
- Ninja Tokyo : A ninja-themed restaurant for older kids and adults. Super entertaining.
- TREE by NAKED yoyogi park: An art-filled restaurant that is kid-friendly during the day, but highly recommended for dinner just for adults
- Ukai-tei Omotesando : Such a great place to grab dinner
- Kyoto Brewing: delicious beer brewery and tap room
Best Places to Shop:
MUJI Flagship Ginza
Daiso (100 yen shop)
3COINS (300 yen shop)
What is your next dream vacation?
Greece! I want to see the blue and white houses in person.
And lastly, what is in your Kibou? We’d love a photo to see!
Keys, Cash, Cards, Coin Case, Card Case, Alcohol Wet Wipes, Pocket Tissues, Candies for my kids, AirPods, Comb, Lip Tint, Lip Balm, Hand Cream, Gum, First-Aid Kit and Plastic trash bags
Interested in The Mumsie?!
Megumi’s first discovery when she opened Moto and Koko was the Australian, mom-owned brand The Mumsie. These genius baby-wearing, stylish overalls are a mind-blowing game changer, and we’re offering you 10% off yours today with code KIBOU10.
Curious about other Japan travel recommendations? Here are a few more family-focused itineraries we’ve found that are dreamy: