13 Essential Items to Pack for Japan

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Is Japan one of the places that you have been dreaming to visit for so long? Have you finally decided to make your dream a reality and booked tickets, hotels, and others? How do you make sure that your Japan trip is stress-free?

Before you fly to Japan, it is important that you have everything necessary to ensure that your trip is hassle-free. There are various travel documents that you have to gather days, weeks, or even months before your trip. Without them, you will not be allowed to board the plane and leave your country or be refused entry once you land at a Japanese airport. You also need to pack clothes, electronics, and others make getting around comfortable, easy, fun, and enjoyable.

Below is a comprehensive list of things that you have to pack for Japan:

1. Passport

You have to have a passport in order to travel to Japan. Depending on where you are from, the passport application process may take a few days to a couple of months. And, if you already have one, check if it has at least six months validity and one empty page left.

2. Japan visa

Many nationalities are required to have a Japan tourist visa to be able to enter Japan as a tourist, while some do not need one as long as they stay in Japan for a certain number of days. Months before your trip, you should check your country’s Japanese embassy website or get in touch with your country’s Japanese consulate to know whether you need a visa or not.

3. Plane tickets

To be safe, print out paper copies of your flights, in addition to your electronic tickets. An airport employee, airline staff, or immigration officer may request to see your travel documents, and having paper copies ready offers convenience.

4. Hotel reservations

Having paper copies of your hotel or hostel reservations, with the English and Japanese addresses and the contact number of your accommodations included, is also helpful. You will need to write these information on your landing card to be presented to the immigration officer. Also, if you will take a taxi to your hotel, you can just show your print out with the Japanese address to the taxi driver and avoid communications problems.

5. Travel insurance

If you are traveling internationally, you have to get travel insurance. In case you get sick, lose your luggage, get your flights cancelled, and go through other untoward circumstances while in Japan, travel insurance can make things a lot easier for you and protect you against high costs and expenses.

6. Credit cards and ATM debit cards

Credit cards are becoming more and more accepted at many hotels, restaurants, malls, department stores, shops, and tourist attractions in Japan, so you will have no problem paying for your purchases using them. However, at many smaller diners, cafes, souvenir shops, tourist spots, and other businesses, cash is still the only acceptable method of payment, so you can use your ATM debit cards to withdraw Japanese yen from ATMs in Japan. Just remember to inform your bank that you are traveling to Japan so as not get your cards blocked.

7. Copies of your passport, visa, credit cards, and ATM debit cards

It is vital to have copies of your important travel documents and cards with you in case you lose any of them. You can photocopy them and keep the paper copies in your suitcase, and/or take photos of them using your phone and store them to your Dropbox, Google Drive, or iCloud account so that you can access them online anytime, anywhere.

8. SIM card

With a Japan SIM card, you can enjoy 24/7 superfast 4G internet access whenever you need to, wherever you are in Japan. Nowadays, you can purchase a SIM card for Japan online prior to your trip to Japan, or collect it from the airport once you arrive in Japan.

Order your Japan SIM Card NOW by clicking this link.

9. Japan Rail Pass

Buying a Japan Rail Pass or JR Pass may save you a lot of money on Shinkansen and JR train fares, depending on your itinerary. If you plan to travel from Tokyo to Kyoto and back, for instance, and then make a day trip from Kyoto to Himeji and Nara within 7 days, a 7-day Japan Rail Pass will definitely pay off.  About a month or so before you fly to Japan, you can order your JR Pass from an authorized JR Pass online seller or from an authorized JR Pass travel agency in your home country.

Book your Japan Rail Pass by clicking this link.

10. Luggage

Traveling light makes exploring Japan a lot more convenient. If you are only staying for a week or two, just bring enough stuff that can fit in a carryon size backpack or wheelie suitcase, which you can easily store at train station lockers if you want to explore a town or city for a few hours before heading to your next destination, or place at overhead storage racks on trains.

11. Clothes

The kinds of clothes that you have to pack for your Japan trip depends on when you are going and where you are going in Japan. If you are sticking to the common tourist route of Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto and visiting in the summer, make sure to pack clothes made of breathable fabric. If you are heading north to Hokkaido for the winter festivals and skiing, pack winter jackets, sweaters, snow boots, gloves, and scarves to protect you against the below zero temperature and snow. If you are arriving in the autumn or spring season to explore Kyushu or Okinawa, a light jacket for the mildly cold days should be sufficient to keep you warm.

12. Electronics

Do not forget to pack your smartphones, cameras, and their chargers and cables. If your gadgets have three-prong plugs, you should get a universal adapter as Japan has two-prong sockets. You should also have a power bank to be able to be able to recharge your smartphone while on the move.

13. Toiletries and medicines

There really is no need to bring shampoo, soap, toothbrush, and other toiletries with you to Japan, as these products are widely available at the convenience stores and drug stores that you can find at almost every corner. When it comes to medicines, you should read Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s guidelines on bringing medications for personal use into Japan, as some over-the-counter or prescription medications available in your country may be illegal in Japan.


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