7 essentials every Japan packing list needs to include

Less is more when you’re thinking about what to wear and finalising the perfect Japan packing list. You’ll want to squeeze a bit of retail therapy into your Japan trip planner and that means keeping space aside for the perfect souvenir. Perhaps a casual kimono or two to wow your friends back home?

What to wear in Japan

Lucky for those keen shoppers out there, there are plenty of places you can pick one of these up. Even more randomly, you could add bizarre mementoes like toe socks, pocket-sized lucky charms and Daruma dolls to your shopping list.

Importantly, even if your Japan trip planner doesn’t include shopping, you’ll want to add the right footwear to your packing list. Comfortable shoes are crucial, whether you’re heading up Mount Fiji or soaking up the scents of Osaka’s delicate cherry blossoms. 

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Essentials to include on your Japan Packing List

Pack for the cold when you're thinking about what to wear in Japan in winter

While your Japanese hosts may dress modestly, they certainly have their own unique sense of style. So, when you’re planning what to wear in Japan take into consideration that your wardrobe should err on the conservative side if you’re trying to keep up with their trendiness. And, whatever you do, pack an extra pair of decent socks. 

Focus on footwear

It’s a Japanese custom to remove one’s shoes before entering a home, and even some businesses and buildings like temples and museums. You’ll know, by spotting the signage indicating whether shoes are allowed. There are even separate toilet slippers in some restrooms. Essentially, you’ll want to pack shoes that are easy to slip on and off, and that means without laces. Another handy tip is to pack a pair of good socks as going barefoot is considered rude. You’ll also want to leave your flip flops at home.

Small towel, hand wipes and hand sanitiser

You’ll find that public restrooms in Japan often don’t have soap and towels. Your fastidious Japanese hosts are well prepared for this and carry their own handkerchiefs wherever they go. You would do well to follow their example and carry hand sanitiser, hand wipes or a small towel with you.

Warm layers

Add layers to your Japan trip planner

Of course, this tip on what to wear in Japan will depend on when and where you plan to visit. Even in summer, you’ll be happy to add a few warm layers to your Japan packing list, especially at night. Many Japanese buildings, especially the traditional ones, are generally not heated so have a warm fleece at hand to keep you cosy at night.

Cash is king

Japan remains a cash society which means you should carry some Yen on you at all times. Merchants and ATMs often don’t accept credit and debit cards issued outside of Japan. Also, take note that ATMs at banks close before 9 pm, while convenience store and shopping centre ATMs are open 24 hours. Even restaurants and shops outside of the main cities may sometimes only accept cash.

Pocket-size lifesavers

Include pocket-size lifesavers like portable batteries on your Japan Packing List

A portable charger really has become a non-negotiable to add to your Japan packing list, no matter where you’re going. The last thing you’ll want to do is chase down somewhere to charge your phone because the battery is dead after a day of selfies, translations and following GPS directions. Keep exploring without having to worry about conserving battery power by keeping a portable charger on hand. We also recommend having a pocket WiFi device because WiFi isn’t as prolifically available as it may be in other parts of the world. If you want to use Google Maps and a translation app when you’re out exploring, you’ll want the convenience of being connected.

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A fold-up bag

We mentioned souvenir-buying opportunities earlier. Having a fold-up or collapsible backpack is always a good idea, even if you’re not a keen shopper. Keep those pocket-size lifesavers, your shoes, that extra pair of socks (pack a plastic bag), and a rain jacket, in case it rains.

Ready to put your stylish hosts through their paces with your newly acquired knowledge on what to wear in Japan? Perhaps you have a handy tip to add to our Japan trip planner. Share your recommendations in the comments below!

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