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Japan with a toddler- Found the best compact travel stroller: Contour Itsy

I may not know the recent news but ask me anything about baby gear and strollers I wouldn't keep shut!

Stroller used by a preschooler and Toddler in Japan
My 5 year old casually reclining on the Itsy stroller in street of Shinjuku, Japan

Hi, I am Dimple, mom of two small girls (2 yr and 5 yr at this time), and write all things related to travel with kids- guides, itineraries, tips, and hacks so you don’t have to. This post is dedicated to the best stroller I found by accident for our family trip to Japan with my two kids.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to purchase something, I may earn a commission. Thanks

We just returned from an amazing trip to Japan with our two kids (2 years and 5 years old at the time). Magical, life-changing would be an understatement to define it. I will definitely be back one day to explore the other areas of Japan to curb my unsatiable hunger for travel. Please see my travel guide to Japan with kids to learn more about our amazing 12-day experience.

When you are traveling with kids, one of the basic necessities and the most important gear every mom needs is a baby carrier and/or a stroller. Having these two items can drastically change the experience of the travel. I brought both of them with me during our Japan trip. If you are a parent, you would already know there are regular travel strollers, a compact travel stroller, an umbrella stroller, buggy strollers, and then there are strollers that are FIT FOR JAPAN TRAVEL! Yes, I'm very serious.

Enter Contours Itsy Ultra-Sturdy Compact Stroller for making my Japan trip with 2 kids a breeze! Something that I found by accident! Before I tell you that story, let's talk about why you need a travel stroller in Japan even if your kid outgrew them (and I'm talking 6-year-olds)

Factors to consider before choosing a stroller for Japan travel

While I was researching things to pack and carry for Japan on multiple Facebook groups and Tripadvisor forums, there wasn't a clear answer if Japan was stroller-friendly. Through all the forums, one of the top collective suggestions from parents was to get a super compact travel stroller for a Japan trip with toddlers and/or older kids. Now, that I'm back from our 12-day family trip to Japan, I know why! STAIRS!!!! not just any stairs, endless stairs!! To that add endless walking!

And let me tell you, after all the walking we did in Japan, I was starting to think my Apple watch was going to file for overtime! It is not even funny, how much my legs cried for help the entire time.

Even if your kid is a very capable walker, know this walking in Japan is part of sightseeing. They will be walking through and around the destination. For context, one day we spent 30 minutes in Shinjuku train station trying to get out. Their stations are massive! We all need a little rest. A little sit. A little snack – and sometimes we also need to keep moving, especially on a vacation.

As per Tokyo Chapter (famous Japan mom blogger), "A lot of the walking in Japan is a part of the sightseeing. "

Consider three factors when choosing a travel stroller for your Japan trip with kids (baby, toddler, or even preschooler):

  • Portability Japan is known for its tiny spaces as the Japanese believe in the minimalist concept. You would see a single space being used efficiently and with versatility. You would be fighting for space in those tinier restaurants or taxis. So ensure the stroller can be easily folded and stored even in the smaller areas.

  • lightweight design Japan's infrastructure doesn't always include elevators or ramps, particularly in older parts of towns and at shrines with numerous stairs. Given, that you will be walking A LOT and then going up and down the stairs, as a parent you will end up picking that stroller too. So ensure the travel stroller is lightweight to carry (for you! :)).

  • Versatile for all ages Now when I say kids, I mean ages starting from a baby until 7 years old. The amount of walking you will be doing as a family is incomprehensible. When you have multiple kids in that age range, you have to be prepared for anything!

Renting a stroller in Japan

Read the excerpt from the Tokyo Chapter for renting a stroller in Japan- "Renting a stroller for your baby or kid in Japan isn't a thing! And if you are lucky enough to find a company or a friend who will lend you a stroller in one city, what about other cities in Japan you may travel to?

When you are jet lagged how do you plan to navigate the airport with two kids and extra luggage and backpacks? Don't we all use our trusted stroller to throw bags on as well?

Most large department stores will rent out their strollers free of charge – but only for use in that department store

Disneyland rents out strollers for 1000 yen for the day. Once again, only for use in the park.

For stroller rental throughout Japan, there aren’t that many options (which is why I highly, highly recommend bringing a stroller from home) "

Get that stroller for your Japan trip!

Alternative Strollers I had

During my other travels with both kids, I have used a couple of strollers.

I have taken my Graco Modes Travel stroller to Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Mexico. It is a great stroller, but by no means it is compact or lightweight.

I took the Summer Infant 3D lite umbrella stroller to Brazil, Canada, and India. This has been my favorite since the first trip we made to Brazil when my daughter was 15 months old at the time.

Another option - A no-name brand stroller that I have been using for daily walks around the neighborhood area. Serves all the need of a travel stroller but very heavy.

Stumbling into Contours Itsy Compact Stroller

Now initially, I was planning to take my Summer Infant 3D lite umbrella stroller for our Japan trip as it is compact and lightweight. And as life would have it, my kids broke the attachment that closes the stroller! So now, 4 days before leaving I went on Amazon with the Prime filter on, to see which compact stroller could be delivered before our flight. (Mom life! !)

My backup option was to use my daily use umbrella stroller (no named brand) which I am not a big fan of as it is very heavy to carry.

Anyhow, after scrolling through the search results of a few umbrella strollers, I stumbled upon the Contours Itsy compact stroller. The first picture of its foldable size had me! it wasn't your regular umbrella stroller that folds vertically but horizontally! The best part it could be shipped in 3 days (on the date of my departure, but I took the risk). However, It arrived a night before our flight, thank god!

Super compact Itsy stroller  in Japan
overvieweing Katsura river with all items dumpled into Itsy stroller

My first opinion

My first opinion went from ecstatic to confusion. It was a great compact stroller but it felt flimsy. I had no option, so I decided to put it in our Uber. Now, that I am back from the trip, and have seen all the days of exhaustion, rain, stairs, walking, and two kids- I am in a better position to give my opinion which is - Contour Itsy is literally the Best compact travel stroller for any place not just Japan!!

Things I loved about Contours Itsy Stroller

Compact Contour Itsy stroller best for bullet train
Folded Itsy was super compact for Japan train travel

Super Compact: The very reason I bought it in the first place! It folds into this backpack-size case that can fit into the airplane overhead, or can be carried as a backpack (with cover), or stored in the bullet train luggage area. I saw the reviews about it, but didn’t expect it to wow me like that!


Super compact Itsy stroller can handles weight
Both kids would sit on the Contours Itsy stroller

Handles more than weight limit: Its weight limit shows 40 lb. However, both my daughters (2 years and 5 years old) could sit on it TOGETHER with ease. Their combined weight might be around 70 lbs. I could easily maneuver them around the airport, and on streets (with some rugged ones) while they both chatted together hugging each other. See for yourself!

Super compact Itsy stroller held by one hand in Japan
My husband carrying Contour Itsy stroller with one hand using its handle

Lightweight: The stroller weight is 12lb which made it perfect to carry up and down the numerous flights of stairs we had to take in Tokyo train stations.

Super compact Itsy stroller great canopy for toddlers
The canopy is decent size for kids to sleep in Itsy

Canopy: Japan's heat and rain could be a buster. That big canopy helped keep the sun off during those inevitable stroller naps on the go. For rain, however, I hooked an umbrella on the bar to save us from being wet.

folded Contour Itsy stroller is almost same size as a ragular backpack
Contours Itsy did not need any support to stand upright

Freestanding stroller: This wasn't a feature I knew existed for an umbrella stroller, and now there is no going back. This stroller when folded stands upright! this came in handy, especially in the bullet trains, Tokyo subway trains, and Kyoto buses where I could simply fold the stroller and not worry about it falling out if I didn't hold it.

Suitable kids of all ages: In addition to my toddler (2-year-old) using it to the fullest, my 5-year-old and a 7-year-old (a friend's son who accompanied us on our Japan trip) used it as well when they got tired from all the walking. In fact, I think my older daughter used it more :)

Contour Itsy stroller is lightweight and can be moved around with handle
My 5 year old could easily move the folded Itsy stroller

Carrying handle: Once it's folded, all you need if carry it with one hand from its handle. I could ask my toddler to roll it as well because of the convenient placement of the handle.

Places Contour ITSY Stroller wowed me

  1. Japanese trains - We went during cherry blossom season and let me restate the obvious- It was super super CROWDED. We were shoulder to shoulder most times in Tokyo subway trains. The compact case once folded helped us immensely in saving some space. We could simply fold the stroller and store it in the bullet trains overhead instead of storing it in the luggage area. As per Japanese etiquette carrying a backpack in the crowded subway is silently frowned upon which helped us not be a nuisance to anyone. If thats not best what is?

  2. Airports- We were about to miss our flights en route to Tokyo and had to change the terminal 30 min before our boarding. I cannot tell you the amount of stress we were in, We were running! My kids were holding each others hand, and meanwhile, I was carrying the small luggage, one backpack, and folded the stroller and topped it on the smaller luggage (see picture). It was so easy to move around without worrying about finding the elevator while finding transport to the new terminal. Travel made easier! yay!

Super compact Itsy stroller at airports with toddlers
Itsy stroller could be easily dragged along with carry on

  1. Taxis- Japanese Uber or taxis are pretty compact unless you order an XL (which isn't always available. We could hail any size taxi for our family of 4 during our trip without worrying about the trunk space. We simply stored the stroller in the leg space with our backpack sometimes in the back seat and sometimes in the front passenger seat. It was super convenient.

Things I could live without in Contours Itsy stroller

  1. Luggage storage- The basket isn't the greatest if you want to store a lot of items. However, we could easily store kids shoes, their jackets, and water bottles in it. Given, that most umbrella strollers don’t come with a big storage space, this isn’t a major issue for me.

  2. Seat size for older kids- it isn’t the best stroller for older kids, as their legs mostly hang out. My 5-year-old daughter runs a small size as compared to her age, so it worked for her. However, it wouldn’t work for older kids (over 5 years)

Things I don’t like about Contours Itsy Stroller

  1. Flimsy material- because it’s the best feature of folding into half, the stroller is a little flimsy and not sturdy enough. I was worried about leaving kids unattended in the travel stroller with the fear of it toppling at any time due to their weight or movements. So make sure to always have the rear parking brake on (that's another great feature :))

  2. No reclining seat- My biggest gripe! I would have wanted the backrest to at least recline to 45 degrees if not all the way down. Traveling in Japan, kids get super tired when they are out exploring all day, this feature addition would have made this the number 1 travel stroller for me. I wish they had worked on this feature.

Super compact Itsy stroller recline position
There is no recline in the backseat in Contous Itsy

Final Thoughts- Grab Itsy. Its really best travel stroller

A similar Gb Pockit gets more views for some reason. I am not entirely sure why this stroller isn't popular. It checks most of the boxes for a travel stroller- great for navigating the train stations or rugged terrains, folds compact enough to fit in an overhead bin on the plane, is lightweight, and got shipped super quick which is what I needed!

If you are traveling with a baby or toddler or older kids, and especially to Japan, I would highly recommend it!

Super compact Itsy stroller used by toddler
Both kids used to love using the Itsy stroller together

If you have used this stroller, share in the comments the best feature that made your travel a breeze.


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Apr 21
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Wow, what a comprehensive and informative guide to choosing the best travel stroller! Your attention to detail and personal experience really shine through, making it easy for parents like me to make an informed decision. Thanks for sharing your insights and recommendations – you've made planning our next family adventure a breeze! ✨👏

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