Updated on November 30, 2022 by Axel Hernborg

Axel Hernborg

About to take a trip to Japan, the land of the rising sun? Maybe you’ve already booked your ticket, maybe you’re looking for the best possible price? Japan is a country that many have on their bucket list, and for good reason. A trip to Japan can really make memories for life.

Japan can offer an incredible variety of experiences. Vibrant metropolitan pulse, Japanese food, striking scenery, sumo wrestling, amazing temples, cherry blossoms, traditional hot baths, incredible shopping, even skiing.

Packing list tips for Japan

Below you will find a suggested packing list for a trip to Japan. The gadgets, clothes and important documents are sorted under different headings. You’ll find just about everything you could ever need in your suitcase.

Of course, since our suggested packing list for a trip to Japan is so extensive, you won’t need everything. Choose the one that suits you. Before you leave for your flight, check your packing against the list one last time!

Most people who travel to Japan do so to either go on tours with themes such as culture and nature or to visit a major city (especially Tokyo). We have taken this into account in our packing lists!

Below are suggested packing lists for winter and summer. What about autumn and spring? It depends a bit on where you’re going. It’s quite hot throughout Japan in spring and autumn so you may want to focus more on “summer clothes”, but double-check with climate and weather forecasts before you travel.

Clothing for culture and nature – summer

  • Tops/T-shirts in breathable materials
  • Linen
  • Shorts/skirt
  • Long trousers/chinos
  • Long sleeve sweater
  • Skirt
  • Dress (Buy at a great price at Wallis with a discount code)
  • Cap/Sun hat
  • Rain jacket
  • Rain pants
  • Rain Hat
  • Autumn/spring jacket in breathable material
  • Scarf
  • Waterproof shoes with durable soles
  • Sneakers/jogging shoes

Clothing for culture and nature – winter

  • T-shirts/tops
  • Long-sleeved t-shirts in breathable fabrics
  • Work trousers/garden trousers
  • Chinos/jeans
  • Skirt
  • Yellow socks
  • Underwear
  • Neck scarf
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Puffer jacket
  • Functional jacket
  • Rain jacket (Buy at a good price at Jack Wolfskin with a discount code)
  • Waterproof boots with heavy sole

Clothes for the big city – summer

  • T-shirts/tops/linen in cotton or functional material
  • Thin long-sleeved sweater
  • Shorts/skirt
  • Chinos/linen trousers
  • Dress
  • Sarong
  • Shirt/blouse (for restaurant visits)
  • Cap/Sun hat
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sandals
  • Fine shoes/heels

Clothing for the big city – winter

  • Cotton T-shirts/Tops
  • Jeans/chinos
  • Tuned long-sleeved t-shirts
  • Knitted sweater
  • Shirt/blouse
  • Functional jacket/waterproof jacket
  • Puffer jacket
  • Neck scarf
  • Hat
  • Walking shoes/sneakers/boots
  • Fine shoes/heels

Electronics and smart gadgets

  • Local SIM card (can be ordered online in advance)
  • Adapter (a must in Japan)
  • Crossover socket (charge several gadgets at once)
  • Sleeping mask
  • Apps (download to mobile in advance)
  • Portable wifi
  • Powerbank (Buy at a great price at Currys with a discount code)
  • Ear plugs (Japan is often noisy!)
  • Inflatable travel pillow
  • Reading tablet/tablet
  • Electronics bag
  • Camera and SD card
  • Smartwatch
  • Small umbrella
  • Card holder
  • Fanny pack
  • Currency exchange (Japan is far from cashless)
  • Travel Guide to Japan/Various Places (Buy at a great price at WHSmith with a discount code)
  • Dictionary/Phrasebook
  • Map reading
  • Portable washing machine/reset washer
  • Packaging cube
  • Handheld fan
  • Small quick-drying towel

Hygiene products

  • Deodorant
  • Hair care products
  • Skin care
  • Things for shaving
  • Hairbrush (humidity can cause unexpected effects!)
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Makeup
  • Hand Alcohol
  • Glasses/lenses & accessories
  • Mosquitoids
  • Sun protection factor
  • Sanitary products
  • The medicines you need
  • Pain killers
  • Pills for an upset stomach
  • Melatonin (may help with jet lag)

Money and travel documents

  • Passport
  • Passport wallet
  • Visa (free and automatic on arrival)
  • Travel documents
  • Transcript of travel insurance
  • Bank cards/credit cards
  • A small amount of cash in yen
  • Transcripts of bookings and reservations

More tips for your trip to Japan

Packing bag

With our packing lists for your trip to Japan, you’ll hopefully be able to pack easier, faster and smarter. Are there other tips that might be useful to know? There really is! Read more below now.

Don’t forget rainwear!

It rains a lot in Japan regardless of the season and region. The capital Tokyo, for example, has over 130 rainy days a year. Lots of rain is of course great for the lush countryside, but most people probably prefer sunshine to rain-heavy clouds.

The rainy season in June and July is when it rains the most in the country. In most regions, however, rain falls heavily every month. Whether you’re visiting Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe or Kyoto, you can expect the risk of rain to be high.

So what does this mean? You should simply pack rain gear and water-resistant shoes. Don’t forget to add rain gear to your packing list!

Good to know is that there little difference in climate between the different parts of the country. For example, Sapporo in the north has a continental climate with cold autumns and winters, while Tokyo has an almost tropical climate.

Choose thin or lined rainwear depending on where you are going. Also remember that rainwear should preferably be made of breathable textiles. The humidity is always high in Japan!

Folder and automatic translator

Japanese people are generally not very good at English. Surveys show that less than one in ten people can speak reasonably fluent English.

This means that as a tourist, you can’t expect to speak English with everyone you meet. You must assume the opposite. So how do you solve this little dilemma? With a dictionary of course!

Japanese dictionaries come in a variety of formats. Some just have the Japanese characters next to the translation. It helps if you have to decipher signs, menus and the like, but it will be difficult to speak Japanese.

Others have both Japanese characters and a “regular letter” translation. Choose such a dictionary!

Perhaps even more clever is to use an automatic translator. There are small electronic devices that automatically translate between languages. There are also apps for smartphones that work in the same way.

Choose the smaller suitcase

If you can, try to pack a little more economically. Then you can use a slightly smaller suitcase on your trip to Japan. The fact is that Japan is generally a country of minimalism and it is crowded almost everywhere.

Hotel rooms are small, doors are small, bars are small and cramped, escalators are small (and often very short!) – there’s a lot that’s small. Lugging around and trying to manoeuvre a large suitcase can be tricky.

It’s a good idea to pack minimally for a trip to Japan. Should you need to add something, you can be sure that what you need is available!

Pack the travel adapter in the first thing you do

With an unlimited number of photogenic and instagram-friendly locations, your smartphone and/or camera will probably get hot. In addition, you need electricity for your other electronic gadgets.

To charge in Japan, you need an adapter. It may not be the first thing you think of when making a packing list, but an adapter just has to be included!

As a bonus tip, we can mention the brilliant idea of including a branch socket. With one, you don’t have to settle for charging one gadget at a time.