My first trip to Japan was one of my most favorite travel memories! It is such a beautiful country with the most friendly and helpful people you’ll ever meet. It is so different from the U.S. and from any trip I had ever taken before. We visited in the middle of July so this essential packing list is geared a little towards those looking for a must pack guide for summer! But, you’ll still find plenty of items great for summer or winter in Japan!
There were some things I wish I had packed in my bag and many things I was grateful I packed! Pack these 10 things on your next trip to Japan and you’ll be glad you did!
No time to read now? Pin for later:
Heads up: This is post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small percentage if you make a purchase using this link. However, all the products recommended below are ones I buy regularly and personally recommend- all opinions are my own.
1. Wet Wipes- Napkins and paper towels are not as common in Japan as they are in the United States. If you’re visiting in the summer, Japan is particularly humid and sometimes a simple thing like a wet wipe can help make you feel so much more comfortable! You never know when you’ll need one and you’ll be glad to have these on hand. Get it HERE.
2. Backpack- The rail system in Japan is incredibly efficient and by far the most popular way to get around, especially for tourists. Toting your items around in a backpack is a comfortable way to carry all you’ll need for the day. It’s always good to be smart with your belongings. However, pickpockets aren’t common here so don’t worry too much about having your backpack on your back. Check out one of my favorites HERE.
3. Comfy Shoes- You will do a lot of walking in Japan. Their transportation system is amazing but you will still do a lot of walking! Comfy shoes are an absolute must! I’m a big lover of Nike shoes and I just bought a pair of THESE. They’re so light, I love them! Get them HERE.
Need more reasons to visit Japan? Take a look at 20 Photos of Beautiful Sites in Japan
4. JR Rail Pass- Japan consists of a nationwide JR Rail Line as well as local rail lines. To get around efficiently, you’ll want a JR Rail Pass and a PASMO or SUICA card for the local lines. For more information, check out my Guide to Using a JR Rail Pass.
5. Umbrella- In Japan you’ll find people use umbrellas in all weather. They’re helpful for protection from the rain AND the sun! An ultra compact umbrella is great to have for traveling in any country. Take a look at my favorite one HERE. But, if you’re not picky, you can usually find one for pretty cheap in Japan at their 100 Yen stores!
6. Pocket Wifi- Pocket wifis are very popular in Japan! It’s a great way to stay connected while out and about on the streets of Japan. You don’t have to change the SIM card on your phone and the best part is, of course, you won’t use any data or incur roaming charges. They can be purchased outright HERE or there are several places where you can rent them for the duration of your stay in Japan.
Another option is to purchase a SIM card. It is a little more complicated but it is one less thing to carry. If you have multiple people traveling together, a pocket wifi will most likely be more cost effective as it can handle multiple devices.
7. Travel Adapter- Americans- you might not need this! Outlets in Japan look just like the ones in the US except they don’t have the third round prong. As long as you’re just plugging in two prong devices, skip the travel adapter! If you still need one, check out THIS ONE.
8. Portable Battery- I use my phone for everything! Taking photos, checking e-mails and using tons of great apps to help navigate my way around. There’s nothing worse than getting stuck somewhere unfamiliar when your phone dies. I always take a portable battery with me when I travel and I used it a ton in Japan! I highly recommend THIS ONE or any battery under 10,000 mAh.
9. Cooling Towel- If you’re traveling to Japan in the summertime, you’ll find 90 degree days and extreme humidity. These cooling towels are a life saver! Simply wet them down and use them to keep your face and head cool. Get it HERE.
10. Yen- With all the vending machines, you’re going to want lots of local currency. There aren’t a lot of places to exchange currency when you get there, so plan ahead. We like to take out the equivalent of $100 a day and we found this to be plenty! Travelex has tons of locations but for a better exchange rate, check with your local bank!