Packing Guide for Japan

Off to Japan soon? Then you might be asking yourself, what will I need to pack for my trip. 

Well aren’t we glad you are here, we have the perfect solution to your packing woes. You might want to consider packing everything we mention on this list, as they will definitely come in handy and make your life in Japan a whole heap easier. 

Outside of the things mentioned on this list, you will need to have your passport, travel plans, toiletries, and the other essentials.

1. Slip on/off Shoes

Now keep in mind, we aren’t saying sandles or flip flops are the best option in Japan, but you will be taking your shoes off a lot and bending down to lace them up regularly if you don’t have slip off shoes. 

You’re likely to be doing a ton of walking around Japan as trains can only get you so far. So, one thing to keep in mind while selecting your shoe is that they need to be comfortable for long periods of time, and something that you are confident will withstand a lot of use.

2. An English-Japanese Dictionary (Of some form)

Even if you think you’re Japanese is flawless, or your confident with your ability, you should seriously consider getting an English-Japanese dictionary. It can be in the form of a physical book, or it could be a free app like JED (Perfect for offline use). 

You never know when you might need to research a work or Kanji. You will probably make the most use out of one of the dictionaries at a restaurant as you might not be familiar with some of the dishes, and will prove invaluable to have that kind of material so you don’t end up accidentally ordering Ox testicles, when you wanted a bowl of ramen.

3. Cash

If you have not already been made aware, Japan is a fairly cash based society, and the use of credit cards is rare. 

Personally speaking, for the first few days, it’s probably best to keep 10,000JPY in your wallet. This is a good amount of cash to have on hand for your first day. 

To get cash out, you can get at most ATM’s as long as they accept your type of debit card – will need to be a VISA or a Mastercard Card, as these are the most accepted cards at ATM’s. We do recommend bringing cash into the country right away because you might not have access to internet for a while, and might find it difficult to find a ATM easily.  If you’re having a hard time, try finding a convenience store, some of them will have an ATM in-store.

4. Coin Purse

So with the use of Cash, you are more than likely to somehow accumulate a mass amount of coins. If you don’t pay the exact amount for things, and just pay with larger currency – which is so much easier – then you are going to be soon overwhelmed with 1 yen coins! I knew someone who ended up having close to 200 1 yen coins in her wallet because they accumulated so fast, and there isn’t much you can use 1 yen coins on.

Nothing more embarrassing then opening your wallet at a store, and having all your coins spill all over the place. But if you have a coin purse, you can have a safe place to store all your coins without worrying about them making a mess! Most people prefer designs as pictured, but other prefer ones with a zipper. I couldn’t find my one today, but it’s an adorable black cat with a zipper close. Would have preferred showing that one but luckily our assistant had his to show! Even he has a ton of 1 yen coins.

5.Weather Appropriate Clothing

Most people are actually quite surprised of both how hot and how cold Japan really gets. 

In the summer of 2018 in Japan, temperatures soared to the high 30’s, low 40’s in some of the major cities. While in the winter, major cities can get down to 1°C, and much much lower the more northern you go. 

It’s important to do the research before you go to Japan. If you go during November – March, you will likely need some warmer clothes, particularly during December-February. Whereas the other months, you are definitely not going to want winter clothes, so pack something lighter. You can always buy clothing in Japan if you pack inappropriately for the weather.

6. Only pack the essentials

You really want to pack light for Japan. You’re likely to be running around all day, and if you don’t have access to a car, then you might have a hard time lugging around heavy suitcases from place to place.

To make your life easier in Japan you should just pack the basics. You can easily purchase many items in Japan which can take up a lot of room in a suitcase, such as umbrellas.  

In addition to the weight issue, if you’re like most tourists, you will buy a lot of souvenirs, and you obviously need a place to put all of them. If your suitcase is full of unnecessary stuff, you might run into some problems upon departure from Japan, so play it safe.

7. Don't bother with selfie sticks

I know that some of you might like taking selfies and all, but thankfully in Japan, most of the famous places prohibit selfie sticks, mono-pods, and tri-pods, as they tend to annoy people and take up a lot of space. Not to mention, selfies also tend to cheapen the cultural/historic  significance of a location.  So don’t bother taking a selfie stick to Japan and just take normal photos, it will be much easier and saves you carrying a selfie stick around, only to find out that you aren’t allowed to use it at most places.

That concludes our Packing Guide for Japan. Hopefully, it made your life a little less stressful leading up to the big day. Obviously, it goes without being said that trying to bring in illegal or dangerous items, is just a bad idea, so use your brain. 

If you would like to contribute to this list, you can contact us via the contact button on the top menu, and if we agree, we will add your idea and give you full credit.

About Author

Isaac Mills

Isaac Mills is the founder of Off The Track Japan. He has 4 years of experience in all things Japan related, and brings a wealth of knowledge to our team at Off The Track Japan.

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