Nov 9, 2017
I often went to Japan for like two or three weeks of traveling – in total four times before moving here. And for sure, there was always the one question: WHAT SHALL I PACK IN MY SUITCASE?!?!?
When I went to Japan for the first time, I took a lot of things with me. Too many, for sure. Later it got less and less and on my last travel journey I was more like, “Oh, there is still so much space in my suitcase!” And that is actually the way it should be, because when you are traveling to Japan, you surely want to take some souvenirs home with you. And for this you need space.
But have talked enough. Here are my tips about the most important things you need to pack inside your suitcase for Japan.
1) Passport + Documents
For traveling abroad you will need your passport – probably the most important thing to have with you. Depending from which country you come from, you may need a visa for entering Japan. (For me as a German citizen I don’t need to prepare anything. I get a temporary visitor stamp in my passport at the airport in Japan). And just for your own safety: take a copy of your passport with you (or at least take a photo with your smartphone), so if you lose it you still have a proof.
The other documents you need depends what you have planned. Do you want to use the Japan Rail Pass? Then you shouldn’t forget the exchange voucher. You can take print outs of hotel reservations with you and other things you have booked in advance. And don't forget your travel insurance!
2) Money + Credit Card
I always exchanged some money in my home country to Japanese yen before travelling, but you can also change it after you arrive in Japan. If you don’t want to take too much cash with you, or are not sure how much money you will need, take a credit card and withdraw money at the ATMs in Japan.
3) Clothes + Shoes
This is a little bit dependant on the season and your type of person. Don’t take too many clothes with you, especially when you plan to buy new ones. Also, think about using a coin laundry to wash your clothes during your trip, so you only need half of the amount of clothes. When it comes to shoes: take the ones you can walk best in. Normally, when traveling around Japan, you will be walking the whole day and this will be a horror when you don’t have the right shoes.
4) Toiletries + personal hygiene
Just take the most important things! You don’t need your whole huge make up case, girls, just a few pieces are enough. Same goes for accessories like pierces, sunglasses and hair clips. Furthermore, you will probably find a lot of these things you want to buy in Japan.
Depending on where you are staying, most accommodations have shampoo, body soap and so on provided, so you don’t need to take it with you (only if you really need to use your own one). The same goes for towels and brushes, which you can get at most of the hotels or rent at hostels. If there is anything missing, you can always get it at the konbini (convenience store), supermarket or 100 yen shop close by.
If you need to take medicine you surely shouldn’t forget this. Some things you also can get in Japan (especially if you suddenly get a cold), but when you don’t speak Japanese well it can be a challenge to get. So be prepared, but don’t take a big first aid set with you.
As it is common nowadays I always have my smartphone with me. But what other electronics do you need on you travel? For me, it is my camera and that is all. I can pass on my pc while being on a trip and for surfing the internet and social networks my phone is enough. Surely, you need the chargers for your electronic gadgets – and for this an adapter! I bought mine back home on Amazon, but you also can get them in Japanese electronic shops. If it is just about your phone and a USB connection, you even can buy cheap plugs for USB cables at 100 yen shops.
Depending on who you meet, you should take some presents from your home country with you. Something for friends or maybe some sweets for the nice people in the hostel or ryokan where you are staying. The Japanese people will be super happy and this is a great way to make yourself happy, too, and maybe make some good connections with the country.
These are – in my opinion – the most important things you should think about when packing your suitcase. And don’t worry if you forgot something. It is not like you are traveling to a jungle – Japan is a civilized and modern country where you can buy nearly everything.
Anything left? What shouldn’t be missing in your suitcase while traveling in Japan?
Young German woman who made several trips to Japan, did one year Working Holiday and started living in Japan again since Oct' 2016. Love music, cats, traveling and food.
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