What to Pack (and Not to Pack) for Your First Japan Trip!

Published March 18th, 2022

A lot of us are hoping for travel to get back to normal again, especially travel to Japan! And with rumours that Japan is opening up their borders this year, it’s about time we start planning for that trip we have all been waiting for.

Whether or not it’s your first time travelling to Japan, packing is always a headache. I know it is for me. But don’t worry, we have made a short but very useful guide on what to pack and what not to pack for your trip to Japan! Read our article so you can skip to the fun part of your Japan trip!

What To Pack

What you should definitely pack are clothes, that’s for sure. But there are specific items to pack when travelling to Japan. Even the best of us miss out on stuff when packing. And when travelling to Japan, I think there are a few things to take into account. For example, the voltage in the power sockets isn't the same as in some parts of the world, and the weather here can get unpredictable… These are 5 things to definitely pack in your suitcase.

1. Plug Adapter or Power Converter

As I said, the voltage in Japan is different. Here, it’s 100 volts. Most of your appliances will work if you’re coming from North America. But if you’re coming from Europe or other Asian countries, where the voltage is 230, you might find yourself into a bit of a problem. Because of that, you will need a power converter.

In addition to that, Japan’s sockets are different. It’s a 2-pinned polarised outlet where one slot is different from the other one. If your home country uses a different one, bring plug adapters with you.

Oh, and one more thing: Dyson appliances, specifically, cannot work in Japan.

2. Cash & Credit Card

You’ll shop quite a lot in Japan. There’s no doubt about that. All those tiny trinkets you purchase will add up, and soon you realise that your purchases stack up while the stack of bills in your wallet slim down.

I recommend converting some cash in your home country first. You can also bring your home currency and exchange them in Japan if you need more cash. Japan uses quite a bit of cash, but credit cards are also accepted in a lot of modern places too.

3. Shopping Bag

Speaking of shopping, Japan has been charging for plastic bags since July 2020. I suggest bringing a foldable shopping bag that’s light and easy to carry around. If you don’t have one at hand, you can purchase them at Daiso or any other ¥100 store in Japan. Not only will you be helping out with limiting plastic use but it’s also very convenient for yourself. You won’t be carrying tons of small plastic and paper bags.

4. Comfy Footwear

You will be doing a lot of walking in Japan. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. While the train and bus systems in the big cities are convenient, they can’t get you everywhere. Regardless of where you are going to go to the country, you’re going to be doing a lot of walking.

So I highly suggest bringing some comfortable footwear, especially because Japan's streets aren’t smooth either. There are bumps and humps, uphills and downhills, and you will be walking on literally by the sides of the roads. If you’re amazing with heels, sure, pack them in your suitcase. If not, give them a pass.

5. Medication

Even though there are drug stores almost everywhere in Japan, navigating in them takes up a lot of time. I personally would recommend packing your own medication that you would need. Just the essentials would do, like painkillers, flu, cough, headaches, stomachaches, diarrhoea and hay fever. Also, if you’re prone to jet lag, it’s good to have that prepared as well.

What Not To Pack

So now we know what to pack, what about what not to pack? Try to keep your suitcase light as you’ll be filling them up when you’re in Japan! So here are just a few things to take out of your suitcase for your Japan trip.

1. Toiletries

Skip the toiletries! I know you’re thinking I’m crazy, but hear me out. Pack the makeup, sanitary items and skincare stuff you need, but leave out the shampoo, conditioner and body wash.

This is because almost all hotels and other accommodations in Japan provide them, and they’re pretty high quality too. Toothbrushes are also provided. And if they're not, ¥100 shops like Daiso and Seria are your best friends!

2. Revealing Clothing

Japanese culture is very big on modesty. You should not be visiting holy places like temples and shrines in a tank top. As much as you can, leave the mini skirts and spaghetti strap tops out of your luggage.

On the positive side, this has been changing. Especially in Tokyo and during the summer season, you see lots of people in sleeveless tops and shorts. While it’s not a strict no, we should still be respectful when it comes to visiting sacred grounds and more traditional places.

3. Umbrella

Even though I said that the weather can get unpredictable in Japan, don’t bring your umbrella. Leave it at home and just buy one here. Everyone just buys an umbrella instead of bringing one in Japan, anyway.

Start Packing Now!

When packing for Japan, be mindful of the local etiquette, weather and luggage space! The last one you need for all the shopping you’re going to do. On the plus side, if you miss anything out, the ¥100 shops have almost everything, so you won’t be spending too much. Good luck and have a fun trip!