What to pack for Japan

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Most Viewed What to Pack in Japan

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Pack for all weathers

    by toonsarah Written Nov 4, 2013

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    Luggage and bags: During our two and a half weeks in Japan we experienced a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions, from mild but drizzly on our first day in Tokyo, through pleasant and sunny in Hakone and Osaka, hot and sunny in Kyoto, cool and sunny in Takayama and a typhoon in Kamikochi - followed by a frost! If you're staying in the one place you may find temperatures at least easier to predict, but wherever you go, whether touring or staying out, you can pretty much count on rain on at least a few days.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: So pack clothes you can layer, with a waterproof outer layer. An umbrella will also come in handy, as that will protect your camera as well as keeping you dry. They can be bought very cheaply here (as we found when the typhoon winds broke ours) but these tend not to be the collapsible sort so are less practical when you’re out sightseeing all day.

    You’ll also need comfortable shoes as you’ll be doing a lot of walking. And as you’ll need to take them off when visiting temples and shrines and going into any traditional buildings (ryokan, some restaurants), make sure that they can easily be slipped on and off – zips or Velcro fastenings are better than laces.

    Unless you are planning to eat in very high-end restaurants you won’t need any fancy clothes – “smart casual” is as dressy as it gets in most establishments.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: You can buy most toiletries very easily but not necessarily the known Western brands, so if you have favourites bring supplies. I took sunscreen as a matter of course but only used it on a handful of days. And of course take whatever medicines you need, especially prescription drugs, though the basics such as aspirin are easily found.

    Photo Equipment: You will take a lot of photos, I promise you! So take plenty of memory and ideally a way to back up your best images, just in case. These days I travel with a mini iPad and download my images to it each evening. As further “insurance” I uploaded my favourite shots to Dropbox when I had spare time online.

    Batteries are easily bought and Chris also bought an extra memory card in Kyoto’s large branch of Yodobashi Camera, at a similar price to what we would pay at home.

    Miscellaneous: Although we were on a tour we had plenty of time to explore on our own and I found Lonely Planet’s guidebook both helpful and informative. Also, note that the Japanese tend to eat early and some of the towns we visited had limited nightlife, so you’re likely to find yourself with a couple of hours to spare at the end of each day. Bring a book to read, or playing cards, or whatever else you like to do to fill your time – when not writing up your journal for VT, that is!

    Next tip: flying to Tokyo

    Chris with Japanese umbrella in Shinjuku Japanese tourists in Kamikochi

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  • sheherezad's Profile Photo

    Taking medication into Japan

    by sheherezad Written May 30, 2011

    Miscellaneous: I recall someone asking this question - so here it is! Via VT's keywords' search! It worked wonderfully! :-)

    I had to declare upon arrival at NRT if I had any psychotropic drugs with me - I wrote I had 30 'sleeping pills' (max allowed into Canada) and the customs guy at NRT (where I stopped over for one night enroute to YVR) just waved me through! The air stewardess was right: they would let it through for personal use!

    So my doc't letter was redundant! Though I actually brought it for Canada, I didn't even need to declare these/other prescription/nonprescription drugs/supplements at YVR, so my doc't letter was redundant for Canada! Though it might have been useful for Japan, I didn't even need it there, either!

    So, OP, be rest assured you'll be all right! I had 30 tables of xanax 0.5mg generic equivalent for my chronic insomnia ( to help me get over the initial jet-lag/time difference) and they let them throu at NRT! :-) Zzzz..

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  • tzuki's Profile Photo

    Lonely planet JAPAN guide

    by tzuki Written Jun 5, 2010

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Light clothing and good shoes to walk everywhere.
    Some raincoat is good always when traveling and a swim dress if you are planning to go to the Japanese communal baths house called Sentō (銭湯), where customers pay for entrance. Traditionally these bath houses have been quite utilitarian, with one large room separating the sexes by a tall barrier.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: The normal AID box will serve you. Not too big is better.

    Photo Equipment: Bear in mind that you will need and not regret a great camera and lots of cards to store your photos.
    There are beautiful and awesome paths, events, signs, very different from what in Occident know, so It is good to deserve a good camera and eye will capture those :)

    Miscellaneous: I think this is a very USEFUL book while traveling to/around Japan.
    There are good tips and recommendations as well as the culture history in any region!

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Seniors
    • Backpacking

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  • Gili_S's Profile Photo


    by Gili_S Written Mar 12, 2010

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    Miscellaneous: We used in Japan the guidebook of Lonely Planet. That was good enough for all the basic information we needed, especially in some locations outside the major cities where information in English in the internet was not easy to find.

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  • Gili_S's Profile Photo

    Electric Plug

    by Gili_S Updated Mar 12, 2010

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    Miscellaneous: The Japan electric system is more similar to the one they use in the USA with electric plug of two thin flat pins (see image). So just in case, if you need to charge some of your electrical items have a plug converter to be able to plug your items as I have and you can see in the image. You do not need usually power converter as most electric items these days, from laptop to cameras can use 100-240v.

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    by Gili_S Written Mar 10, 2010

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    Miscellaneous: Japan is known to be one of the biggest economies in the world and so also very expensive. That might be true, but I must tell that Japan is not as expensive as its image and if you do wisely you can save a lot on your expenses.

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  • Gili_S's Profile Photo

    General stuff

    by Gili_S Written Mar 10, 2010

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: We were in Japan in the summer, we had very light tropic climate cloths as it is hot and humid. We had sandals for most of the time.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: If you go to the countryside in the summer, have mosquito repellent with you.

    Photo Equipment: The good part is, that all the best photo equipment is made in Japan, so if you miss something, here you can easily get it :)

    mosquito repellent

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  • walterwu's Profile Photo

    What Hotels in Japan Provides

    by walterwu Updated Jan 5, 2010

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Yukata
    Bath Robe (not all hotels)
    Slippers (some are personal disposable type)
    Disposable Body Wash Towel (not all hotels)
    Hand Towels
    Bath Towels

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Soap
    Body Foam
    Disposable Razors
    Disposable Brush/Comb
    Sewing Kit
    Disposable Toothbrush with Paste
    Disposable Shower Caps
    Hair Dryer

    Miscellaneous: In-Room Pants Press (not all hotels)

    Toilet Amenities Hyatt Regency Tokyo Excel Hotel Tokyu (Sapporo) Granvia Hotel Osaka Hyatt Regency Tokyo
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel

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  • walterwu's Profile Photo

    Go Lite

    by walterwu Updated Jan 4, 2010

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: In winter, why bring lots of winter clothes when you can buy them at Daiso (100Yen Shop) in Japan.

    Some of the items spotted in Daiso:
    Thermal Wear
    Wool Shoes In-Sole
    Ear Muffs

    I was at Kinshicho and visited the Daiso at the Acrakit Building. It is big and besides the Daiso, there are other individuals shops selling various kinds of products.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel

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  • syrin's Profile Photo

    Things that were nesscary

    by syrin Written Nov 14, 2008

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    Luggage and bags: Preferably if you are backpacking all across Japan do no bring a suitcase but rather a back pack that can roll like a suit case. This came in so handy, you can roll it when your backs hurting and pop the handle down instantly and throw on your back when you need to climb stairs. When you do not need them you can get a locker for a few dollars and store it as long as its not to big.

    Another good thing to have is a water proof camera backpack that way you can store extra things and it will keep your camera dry when it is pouring down rain.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: An umbrella, the weather can change drastically and never trust the weather man. Also bring a jacket, when its cool outside. Sunglasses are a must since many times it can be very bright especially in Tokyo. All the glare from the buildings makes it hard to see at times.

    Sun screen is a must. All the glass windows from the buildings can easily give you a sun burn if your not covered up from the reflections, so while it may not be hot out you will get burnt.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Toilet paper. Not all places supply it but rather have vending machines to buy it. Take some with you. Good deodorant especially if you plan on walking a lot. It can get really muggy and hot.

    Headache medicine.

    Photo Equipment: Tripod, mini tripod are musts along with extra batteries and a lens hood. If you try to buy a lens hood in Japan its going to cost you double what it would cost in the states. Prices start out at $50 and most stores do not have universal hoods. Waterproof case for camera or at least a bag.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Good hiking shoes.

    Miscellaneous: Lots of places do accept major credit cards like visa, and mastercard however some of the best shops do not. I would take both with you.

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  • markpart1's Profile Photo

    all carry-on in check your bags in on the way out

    by markpart1 Written Apr 22, 2008

    Luggage and bags: I like to travel light, in all my travels i have always just brought carry-ons. A large backpack to hold all my travel essential (not the huge 1 week hiking ones) and a smaller day pack to hold my electronic gear, travel books, map etc(thing that i would carry while i am wandering around the area. Shoulder bags seem to hurt my lower back if i walk around with them alot and i do tend to overpack them so maybe it does get to be heavy, but i tmight be nice to have a day pack that converts into a shoulder bag so you can more easily carry it with your bigger bag and have your hands free. I am also thinking of getting those portable thin duffle bags that you can fold it too a packable size, i tend to buy alot of gifts and souveanirs at the end and end up checking in most of my luggage on the way out of the country, but i could also stick to buying a cheap dufflebag like i always do towards the end of my stay, they usually cost no more then 10 dollars.

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  • peachfront's Profile Photo

    Pack Small Bags for the Trains!

    by peachfront Written Nov 20, 2006

    Luggage and bags: If traveling by train from Nagoya airport to Kyoto, then do not have a big backpack or big suitcase. Pack very light so that you can more easily place your luggage on the train. Instead of a full-sized backpack, I used a smaller student's bookbag from Walmart which held all I needed and took up little space.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Trains

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  • Pixiekatten's Profile Photo

    When visiting a mountain town

    by Pixiekatten Written Sep 27, 2006

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    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Bring a warm PJ! Thick wool socks to wear at night. And a beaniehat. I wished for a pair of gloves too. It was the beginning of June in Takayama. Days were HOT & SUNNY. The nights absolutely freezing!
    Keep that in mind! And you won't wake up with a major cold like I did!

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Backpacking
    • Hiking and Walking

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  • Pixiekatten's Profile Photo

    1 month in Japan - this is what I brought:

    by Pixiekatten Updated Sep 4, 2006

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    Luggage and bags: 1 60litre backpack
    1 flat moneybag to tie around my waist and that doesnt show beneath clothes, for passport and travellers chegues. Always kept money loose in my pocket

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: 1 pair of cargo trousers
    1 pair of jeans
    1 skirt
    1 pair of sandals
    1 pair sneakers (were on my feet when I left home)
    2 tshirts
    2 singlets
    1 hoodie
    1 rain poncho

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Toothbrush and toothpaste
    1 btl solution for my lenses + case
    1 packet of aspirin (most for the long flight)
    1 packet of prescription tablets for allergy

    Photo Equipment: My digital camera with 560mb memorycard. When full I got pics copied onto CDs. Photobooths are everywhere!!! And its pretty cheap.

    Miscellaneous: My diary
    MP3 player
    Lonely Planet guide
    Traveller's cheques
    JR PASS vouchers (2x7 days)

    Thats is. I rented towels and sheets at the hostels. Was never a problem. All places had shampoo and soap in the bath areas. Pharmacies got everything you need and more. Only if you have special prescription you should bring them with you!!
    I washed clothes at hostels. Cost only 100yen. But then on the other hand, I was backpacking on my own. A few stains was not of any concearn to me!

    Not once did I feel I needed anything else from home!

    On the train..
    Related to:
    • Trains
    • Backpacking
    • Road Trip

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  • cheesecake17's Profile Photo

    Remember these...

    by cheesecake17 Updated Jul 20, 2006

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    Luggage and bags: Compared with westerners, who often travel with large suitcases, it's not common for Japanese people to travel with a large suitcase around the country.

    Consequently, there isn't usually a wide space to store large luggage in trains, and the coin lockers aren't large enough to hold them either.

    I recommend keeping your luggage small when you travel around Japan. You might want to bring several small bags so that you don't have to carry a large suitcase

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Since it's a Japanese custom to take off your shoes indoors, you might have to take off your shoes often in Japan.

    I recommend bringing a pair of shoes that you can slip off and on easily. Make sure to bring, and wear, a nice pair of socks or pantyhose to avoid any embarrassment when you take off your shoes

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: It's important to carry a handkerchief in Japan. Many restrooms in Japan don't have paper towels. Be sure to bring a handkerchief in your pocket to dry your hands! Also, pocket tissues are good to carry, since they are often needed while traveling ..
    ...... many times on the street you will see people handing out little tissue package with advertisiment..dont pass it up...it will come in handy later..:)

    Photo Equipment: The electricity in Japan is 100 volts, and there are two cycles (50/60).
    In Tokyo and areas northeast of Tokyo, the electricity is 50 cycles. In the southwest Japan, it's 60 cycles. Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagoya are in the southwest side

    If you need to bring any appliances from your country, make sure to bring a converter or plug.

    American appliances can be used in Japan without a converter although they will have less power

    If your appliances are three-pronged, you need a plug since Japanese appliances are two-pronged.

    You can buy converters and plugs in the airports or travel equipment stores in Japan. But since it could be a hassle for you to find a store that sells the converters, it's better to purchase them in your own country. It shouldn't take much space in your luggage.

    plug lockers at shizuoka station
    Related to:
    • Family Travel

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