Expert Tips for Packing for Your Trip to Japan

japan travel kit

As you get ready to embark on your journey to Japan, it’s time to turn your attention to your packing list. Luckily, preparing for a trip to Japan can be surprisingly easy. However, there are a few essential packing tips to keep in mind that may surprise even experienced travelers. In this article, we will provide you with expert tips to make your packing experience more enjoyable and efficient.

1. Bring shoes that are easy to slip on and off

No one wants to waste time untying and lacing their shoes every few minutes. In Japan, many places, including traditional inns, temples, and certain restaurants, require you to remove your shoes. So it’s best to bring shoes that you can easily slip on and off. If you see tatami mats, which are traditional Japanese straw mats, it’s a sign that you should take off your shoes. It is also considered impolite to be barefoot in these situations, so make sure to bring a pair of socks with you. Additionally, it’s a good idea to bring comfortable walking shoes, as Tokyo and other cities are great for exploring on foot.

top 5 Japanese words and phrases traveler with luggage

2. Pack as lightly as possible

Packing lightly is essential when traveling to Japan, especially if you plan on using the country’s comprehensive and efficient railway networks. Japanese train stations can be crowded, and many do not have enough elevators or escalators to accommodate travelers with large amounts of luggage. It is recommended to travel with a small rolling suitcase or backpack if possible. This will make navigating train stations and crowded areas much easier.

Not willing or able to pack light?

If you prefer not to pack light or have a lot of luggage, you’re in luck. Japan offers an incredible luggage-forwarding service called takuhaibin or takkyubin. This service allows you to easily and efficiently send your suitcases from one location to another, such as from one hotel to another or even to the airport. It’s a convenient way to travel without the burden of carrying all your luggage with you.

3. Use takuhaibin, Japan’s incredible luggage-forwarding service

For those who choose not to pack light, Japan’s luggage-forwarding system is a game-changer. This service, known as takuhaibin or takkyubin, allows you to send your luggage from one destination to another with ease. It’s a fast, reliable, and reasonably priced service that can save you from the hassle of dragging heavy bags around Japan’s train stations or rural areas. You can even travel with just a small overnight bag or backpack while your main luggage is delivered to your next destination.

How to use Japan’s luggage forwarding

Using the luggage-forwarding service is simple. Most hotels and ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) can make the arrangements for you. Just inform the front desk a day or more in advance, and they will take care of everything. The cost of the service depends on factors such as luggage size and destination, but it typically ranges from $15 to $30 per suitcase.

Bullet train passing Mt. Fuji Japan

4. Style and fashion: what to wear

When it comes to fashion in Japan, the options are endless. It’s not necessary to buy a new wardrobe for your trip; in fact, we recommend leaving space in your luggage for shopping. Japan is renowned for its unique and high-quality fashion, with Tokyo being a shopper’s paradise. You’ll find cutting-edge and vintage styles throughout the country, including cultural centers like Kyoto and Osaka. Dressing casually is generally acceptable in most situations, but it’s always a good idea to dress respectfully and use your best judgment when dining out or attending special events.

Packing for the weather: the seasons in Japan

Japan is known for its four distinct seasons, so it’s important to pack accordingly. The weather can vary widely depending on the time of year and the region you’re visiting. Spring and fall can be fickle, with temperatures ranging from warm to cold and wet. Layering your clothing is recommended during these seasons. It’s best to check the weather forecast a couple of weeks before your trip and pack accordingly. Make sure to bring appropriate clothing for each destination you’ll be visiting.

5. Japanese yen: you’ll need it!

Japan is still a cash-oriented society, so having enough yen on hand is essential. While credit cards are accepted at some shops and restaurants, especially in major cities, you’ll find that many places still prefer cash, especially in rural areas. To save time, consider getting some Japanese yen before you arrive. Your local bank can order yen for you even if they don’t have it readily available. If you don’t have yen upon arrival, you can exchange currency at the airport or withdraw cash from ATMs. However, it’s important to note that currency exchanges are not as common in Japan as they are in other countries.

6. Visas, passports, and travel insurance

Before traveling to Japan, it’s crucial to check if you need a visa for your stay. While citizens of many countries don’t require a visa for short stays related to tourism, it’s always best to double-check with the Japanese Embassy or Consulate. Additionally, make sure your passport has at least six months’ validity from your trip end date. It is also recommended to have 2-4 blank visa pages in your passport. Comprehensive travel insurance is highly recommended to protect yourself against unforeseen circumstances and emergencies.

mobile phone cell phone iPhone boutique japan

7. Essential extras: pocket Wi-Fi, hand sanitizer, and more

In addition to the essentials, there are a few extras that can make your trip to Japan more convenient. Renting a pocket Wi-Fi device, also known as a mobile hotspot, is highly recommended. Wi-Fi coverage in Japan is not as widespread as many people imagine, so having your own reliable internet connection can be invaluable. You can pre-arrange a pocket Wi-Fi device through various providers. It’s also a good idea to carry a small towel and hand sanitizer, as public restrooms often lack soap and hand towels.

8. Leave space for some shopping!

Japan is a shopper’s paradise, and it’s hard to resist the unique and high-quality items you’ll find there. Even if you’re not a big shopper, it’s worth leaving extra space in your luggage for unexpected purchases. From beautiful crafts to handmade clothing and futuristic electronics, Japan offers a wide variety of items that make for great souvenirs or gifts. Even if you don’t plan on shopping for yourself, you’ll likely find something special for friends and family back home.


As you prepare for your trip to Japan, following these expert packing tips will ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience. Remember to pack light, bring comfortable shoes, and leave room for the amazing things you’ll find along the way. Japan offers a unique blend of tradition and innovation, and by following these tips, you’ll be well-prepared to explore this fascinating country. Safe travels!

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