How to pack for Japan | Travel Information

What to pack for Japan is a common question we get asked, followed by how to pack for Japan, and we think it's a great question to ask. Here's how

Heading overseas is a stressful experience for a lot of people, and heading to a completely foreign culture or country can also be a little daunting. Among the many questions going on in your head leading up to departure, surely, what to pack for your upcoming trip to Japan is also ringing through your head. How should you pack is also a very serious thing to consider as well, as airlines have different policies and carrying around your luggage can be a pain. So, if you are uncertain about what or how to pack for Japan, hopefully we can help.

How to pack for Japan - Our recommendations

1. Know yourself

Knowing yourself is important to figuring out how and what you’re going to pack for your trip to Japan. Are you a big spender? Are you more frugal with your money? Are you going to live an experience, or are you going to buy memories of your experience? Answering this question is important right off the bat. If you are a big spender, then you need to consider your luggage fees and size restrictions. If you don’t buy many souvenirs, then you need to make sure you have enough space for all your clothes.

2. Know when you are going

Like a majority of the western world, Japan is in the Northern Hemisphere, so the seasons are likely to be very similar to your home country, so you can pack according to the current season in your home country. However, if you live in the southern hemisphere, then the seasons on Japan are inverted from what you are used to. In the main tourist areas of Japan, the summers are extremely humid and hot, and the winters are more milder, but still can get below 0. If are travelling to Japan in the winter, make sure you have appropriate clothing to deal with the climate there, thick jackets, gloves, scarfs, and thermals are all necessities. In the summer, make sure you have shorts, T-shirts, and sunglasses. Of course, always bring some clothing for the opposite season as well, as the winter can also have warm days, and the summer can have cold and rainy days.

3. Make sure you got the right suitcase

Having a good suitcase makes all the difference for travelling to Japan – regardless of your travel style. In Japan, you are likely going to have to be walking around a lot, and as such, having good wheels on your suitcase are a necessity. I like having the wheels that spin 360° as it makes it easier to navigate through dense crowds of people.

Have a look at some good suitcases that you might want to upgrade to if your suitcase is getting a little dated. Seriously, having a good suitcase makes all the difference.


4. Pack the essentials

There’s no point in bringing things you don’t think you’ll need with you. It’s just extra weight and an extra hassle having it there. Just pack clothing, chargers, camera, healthcare products / amenities and your handy travel guide (But you can buy those online and have them downloaded to your phone).  If you need anything that’s important, buy it in Japan. 

5. Take a quality backpack with you

Taking a backpack to Japan is a very size idea. and taking a quality backpack is utterly genius. Seriously. Throughout the course of the day, you’d be surprised how much stuff you’d accumulate. From drinks from the vending machines, to education materials given out at tourist attractions. Keep in mind, you also need to have your passport with you at all times as well. Having a place to store everything with you is so handy, and with the latest advancements in backpack development, you can have anti-theft backpacks that you can store your valuables in and not have to worry about having them stolen in transit or out and about. 

Have a look at some of the quality backpacks you should consider packing for your trip. 

6. Avoid the big stuff

No, your life sized teddy bear does not need to come with you to Japan. I don’t care if you say otherwise, it doesn’t. While you might think that example is a little ridiculous, I have seen it attempted…But it brings up a very valid point. Don’t waste space with the big and bulky items in your suitcase or bags. The biggest offender I think is tri-pods for cameras or drones (including their protective cases). And as much as we all want to get those sick drone shots, or those perfect camera angles, most places in Japan have banned drones unless they have prior permission, and tri-pods are frequently banned at major tourist hot spots as they take up space. Just like they take up space in your luggage. Unless you are a professional photographer, you probably could make do with not having one. If you really think you need one though, you can just buy a cheap one from a second hand tech store like Book off, and that will do you wonders. 

7. Have shoes that are both comfortable, and easy to take off

Slip off shoes are a beautiful thing in Japan as a tourist. If you go to restaurants, Japanese style hotels, certain temples, castles, wherever, there’s a chance that you might need to take your shoes off to go inside somewhere. That’s because in Japanese culture, it’s customary to take your shoes off before going into a house or sacred place, as shoes and feet are dirty, so often you will be asked to remove them and slip on some slippers that are of a questionable comfort for the duration of your visit. So, if you plan on exploring a lot, it’s handy to have shoes you don’t have to lace up every time you need to put them on again. Also, it makes traveling on a plane so much more comfortable – as long as you got clean socks and your shoes don’t smell.

8. Last and least, remember it's not the end of the world if you forget something

If you forget your toothbrush, your favourite sweater, or those jeans you love, then it’s not the end of the world. When getting on a plane, you want to make sure you have what really matters, which is your passport in a convenient location, and your necessary items. If you forgot some clothes or something like a hair dryer or a bathing suit, then don’t worry. Japan has shops just like your home country. You can find the non-essential and some essential  items you might have forgotten, so relax a little. 

Are you planning a trip to Japan soon? Then you really should consider purchasing a JR Rail Pass, especially if you are planning on hitting all the major tourist cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, and Sapporo. 

The JR Rail Pass makes getting around the country easy, and can save you several hundreds in travel expenses. All you need to do is just show your pass at the ticket gate, and you have access to any and all JR rail lines across the country, and not just the standard commuter trains, but luxury trains, and even the world famous Shinkansen (Bullet Train). A JR Rail Pass is an essential item for any visitor to Japan. Buy your pass today by clicking here now!

On the topic of what to and how to pack for Japan, you might also be curious on where to store luggage in Japan, as I assure you, you do not want to be travelling across the country carrying a heavy suitcase with you every step of the way. 

Feel free to check out our other article ‘Where to store luggage in Japan’ to help find out where you can store luggage in Japan. Click the link below:

coin lockers in train stations are a great place to store luggage in Japan

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