Packing for any trip is always important and requires some planning ahead. Depending on the season, packing for Japan may vary based on the weather. Taking the extra step to check the temperatures ahead of time can make all the difference, and ensure you are properly prepared. With neighborhoods like Harajuku leading the trends, it is also fun to see the latest trends and fashion styles in Japan, so make sure to leave room in your suitcase! Here is a helpful Japan Packing Guide for your upcoming trip, regardless of the season.
Depending on the type of trip, packing may also vary. For example for those planning to hike iconic Mount Fuji or spend time outdoors, packing needs will differ from those travelers planning to explore the busy streets of Tokyo.
Universal Power Adapter
A universal power adapter is ideal for all electronic devices that are traveling with you. While it is possible to plug North American two-pronged cords into the outlets in Japan, it is not possible for three prongs. For those traveling with laptops, cameras, or other electronic devices it is recommended to bring a universal adapter.
Comfortable Walking Shoes that can slip on/off
Regardless of your trip style, good walking shoes are a must when exploring a new city on foot. In Japan, it is particularly useful to wear shoes that are quick and easy to remove. When visiting temples, restaurants or even private homes in Japan, you will likely be asked to remove your shoes. It is important to note the distinction between shoes and sandals, and note that flip-flops are not an appropriate choice when traveling in Japan. In fact, flip-flops are considered impolite. When removing shoes in somebody’s home, it is also impolite to have bare feet, so it is best to always have some spare socks on hand.
As mentioned above, it is important to have feet covered when shoes are removed so it is always good to pack some extra socks along and bring them in your day bag when walking around.
As is traveling in any foreign country, if you do not speak the language it can be difficult to communicate. Understanding a few key words or phrases can make all the difference. Bringing a small phrasebook can make it much easier.
For those traveling in Japan in the summer months, packing a rain jacket is less relevant although always good to have. For those traveling in winter, spring or even autumn, a rain jacket is good to have on hand. Picking a water-resistant shell-type jacket that can pack very small won’t take up too much room in your suitcase. On the same note, packing a small portable umbrella can always come in handy, but don’t worry, you can buy umbrellas everywhere in Japan.
Regardless of the season, packing for Japan means packing layers. Since the weather can change throughout the day it is always recommended to bring clothes that can be worn together. For example, layering a light sweater over a t-shirt, and a light jacket over top. Choosing to pack clothing that is made of breathable fabric is ideal for traveling, especially for days spent outdoors walking around. Even when traveling during the summer months when it is hot outside, most indoor buildings in Japan have air conditioning, meaning it is cold inside and good to always have a light layer.
Light cotton scarf
On the same note of layers, a light scarf can come in handy when traveling doubling as a blanket when necessary. Ideal for impromptu picnics in Yoyogi Park, or for long train rides.
It is safe to drink the tap water in Japan, so packing a water bottle along is a great way to save money, reduce waste and always stay hydrated.
Want more packing ideas? Take a look at what to wear in Japan?