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Muji Continues to Simplify Our Lives By Offering In-Store Childcare

Written by Erin Feher

Photography by Photo Courtesy of Muji

As if strolling the curated aisles of Muji, dreaming of an exquisitely organized kitchen pantry, didn’t already decrease our stress levels, now a handful of store locations across Japan invite you to do so child free. At last count, 27 Muji stores in Japan have added Mokuiku Hiroba, or beautifully designed play spaces where children can slip off their shoes and play with instruments, crayons, wooden toys, and baths of smooth cypress-wood eggs.

Muji’s minimalist design ethos carries over to the play spaces, which were created through a partnership with the Tokyo Toy Museum—a three story wonderland housed inside a former elementary school and featuring a collection of over 10,000 toys from both Japan and around the world. The spaces are designed with soothing colors and warm wood materials, and are situated as to be visible from much of the store, so you can keep an eye on your charges while you shop.

But for those who truly want a few hours to themselves, there is the Mokuiku Room—a peaceful, enclosed space with cedar floors, shelves stocked with wood toys and staffed by childcare professionals who will watch your kids for up to three hours at a time. This service is currently available in the newly redesigned multi-level Muji store in Japan’s Shibuya Seibu and costs just under $10 an hour. Spend $30 in the store, and your first hour of care is free.

Like the play spaces, the Mokuiku Room is outfitted by the Tokyo Toy Museum, and there is a strict loyalty to wood. “The theme of the Mokuiku Room is to provide quality time to be spent with wood. In addition to being secure and safe in its operation, the Mokuiku Room aims to be a place that provides children the chance to feel the warmth and comfort of wood, and at the same time allows them to spend a good and fun time without restraint,” says a representative from Muji.

But beyond providing kids with a primer in the traditional design sensibility of Muji, the representative also points out that the brand was looking to fill a very real need by offering short-term childcare. “Facilities providing temporary child care services, especially for young children, are very limited in the Shibuya area. As a result, it is quite difficult for parents with children to enjoy their shopping. Since many of Muji’s customers are with families and children, Muji Shibuya Seibu, after its redesign and reopening, aims to become a place where families can take their time to enjoy the fun of shopping.”

As expected, the service has proven popular, so parents are advised to book their baby sitting sessions in advance.

For more on unique childcare options, check out this first look inside The Little Wing and get the 4-1-1 on SoCal’s Big and Tiny, a sleek co-working space with childcare

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