As you prepare for your trip to Japan, make sure to keep these essential packing tips in mind. Pack smart to avoid taking anything you don’t need or forget anything you do!
Packing lightly is a useful skill for any kind of travel and navigating Japan is much easier when you have a small, easily portable bag or suitcase.
Rather than trying to pack everything into one giant suitcase, try to pack light by using a smaller suitcase or a backpack with wheels. Unfortunately, Japanese trains and train stations do not cater well to travelers with a lot of luggage. Storage on trains is very limited, and Japanese train stations can be quite crowded and there’s often no access to elevators or escalators. A comfortable day bag like a backpack is ideal for quick trips.
Collapsible Travel Bag for Souvenirs.
If you plan on shopping in Japan, then you’ll probably end up needing extra storage space. Make sure to pack an extra travel bag or duffel bag that is lightweight and foldable inside your main luggage bag.
In Japan, you are going to walk a lot. Make sure that the shoes are well-worn, broken in and comfortable for walking. Unless you enjoy tying and untying your shoes every few minutes, the best shoes for Japan are ones you can slip on and off easily. Many places in Japan including ryokans (traditional inns), temples and shrines, and some izakayas and restaurants require you to remove your shoes. As a rule, if you see tatami mats on the floor, that means you’ll need to remove your shoes. In these cases, it’s considered rude to go barefoot, so make sure you bring a pair of socks with you.
The weather in Japan can be temperamental so finding the right clothes can be a bit challenging. Depending on when you want to visit Japan or what region you wish to visit, you can expect different recommendations. As a general rule, you should pack layers so you can always add or subtract clothes to be comfortable if the weather shifts. It’s probably best to avoid highly revealing clothing. Pack as sparingly as possible and re-wear items of clothing when you can. Some of the hotels and ryokans have laundry service or coin-operated laundry that tourists can use.
Since Japan is an island nation, you’re likely to get caught in the rain. Pack a light raincoat and/or small umbrella with you and have it in your backpack. You can always buy a cheap clear umbrella at 7-Eleven or Lawson.
Bring a few hand towels or handkerchiefs to wipe off the rain and/or sweat. Also, many public bathrooms in Japan don’t have paper towels or hand dryers, so it wouldn’t hurt to have something to dry your hands with.
Credit Cards and Debit Cards
VISA and MasterCard are accepted in Japan – American Express not so much. Be sure to inform your bank before you leave your home country that your card may be used in Japan. Also, bring an ATM debit card to withdraw Japanese yen from your checking account. International ATMs are available inside 7-Eleven convenience stores or at post offices and have English directions.
Make sure it has at least six months of validity and one empty page.
If you bring your cell phone (or tablet, Kindle, laptop, etc.) don’t forget the charger and charger cable. Japan uses a two-prong plugs, so you will need a universal adapter if you want to use three-prong plugs. If you forget to bring them with you, they are available at electronics shops in Japan.
Check to make sure your prescription and over-the-counter medications are permitted in Japan and carry them with you. For some drugs, such as narcotics and psychotropics, you will need to apply for permission from the Japanese government prior to your trip. You can also buy common drugs and first-aid items at convenience stores and drug stores in Japan.