Prepare Before Entering Japan!
Pretty big question: well it depends (sorry for the vague answer : ) )
The question really is, what do I intend to bring back from Japan?
Well if you want to bring back plenty of non-perishable food, alcohol, figures, toys, souvenirs, etc. then I suggest you pack VERY LIGHT! If you don’t care for bringing back many things then pack however you see fit.
On my last 2 week trip to Japan, I brought one big suitcase, a carry-on suitcase, and a big duffle bag. The big suitcase was half empty, and I put my small carry on/duffle bag into the big one. So I hauled one big suitcase at the beginning of the trip. But by the end of it, everything was out and filled completely. I love Japanese snacks and their rare sake/whiskey you can’t get anywhere else. I stuffed my big suitcase with those. My duffle had most of my clothes, electronics, etc. and my carry-on had all my anime figures.
So if you are like me, pack the same way!
What to Actually Bring!
This depends on which season you intend to go!
- Bring clothes you can re-wear (ex. I re-wore dresses for several days at a time)
- Dresses and/or skirts for women in the summer
- Dresses are easy- no need to pack many pants
- Skirts are easy- bring 1 skirt and bring different shirts to wear with it
- Maybe one pair of leggings or pants on cold days
- Re-wearable pants for men
- My brother brought many shirts but only two pairs of pants
- I don’t recommend for anyone to re-wear undergarments/socks, so bring plenty of those
- Shoes- WALKABLE!
- You will walk A LOT in Japan so bring shoes that
you can walk easily and for long periods of time
- I brought one pair of Vans and flats (I destroyed my vans in Japan and end up leaving my Vans there)
- Bring warm shoes/boots in case of snow in winter
- You will walk A LOT in Japan so bring shoes that you can walk easily and for long periods of time
- Hat/cap plus sunglasses in the summer is a must!
If for some reason you run out of luggage space, no worries! Go to a Bic Camera store and buy a suitcase to bring home. They offer tax free shopping to foreigners.
Don’t bring expensive clothes! Many Japanese washers and especially dryers can be rough with clothes. So if you don’t want delicates to be ruined, don’t bring them unless you plan on handwashing it.
- If you cannot handle pollen, bring allergy meds (not over the counter)
- There is a good chance you can get sick even in the summer in Japan
- With travel fatigue, extreme heat/humidity outside, and blasting air-con indoors, you might catch a cold or the flu.
- Vicks Dayquil/Nyquil is illegal to bring into the country (however, I had some in my luggage and brought some anyways …I guess security wasn’t too tight)
- Japanese cold meds aren’t very strong, but you can get them easily at medicine shops or convenience stores
- Please check Japanese government travel guidelines for any prescription meds you want to bring in. https://jp.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/doctors/importing-medication/
- Japan is extremely strict about any type of narcotic. They are illegal and you can be imprisoned in Japan if found on you.
- To keep your immune system up while traveling, take the convenient Vitamin-C drinks, foods, etc. found at almost any convenience store
Always bring your Tourist Visa and/or passport with you! (Please note, that some countries like China require a Japanese tourist visa in order to enter the country. Check online or visit a Japanese embassy to see if you need to do this. US Citizens only need to bring a passport if stay is less than 90 days).