Japan What to Pack
When you’re heading out to Japan, packing everything you need is absolutely essential, especially when language and cultural differences can make it difficult to purchase forgotten items.
Japan has four seasons, but they start a bit later than those in North America might expect. For instance, September and October can still be quite warm in Japan. Check the weather forecast and pack appropriately. If it’s likely to rain or snow, you’ll want waterproof shoes to keep your feet dry. Japanese people tend to be smaller than Americans, so even average-sized Americans will have a hard time finding clothing that fits. Be sure to pack everything you need.
If you’ll be traveling in large cities, many signs will be in English, but this isn’t always true in more rural areas. Don’t expect everyone to speak English. A Japanese phrase book can help you navigate the basics as you travel around.
Japan is primarily a cash-based society, so you should expect to pay cash at most places. It’s not uncommon for Japanese people to carry hundreds of dollars in their wallets. You can convert money at the airports or through your bank if you give them enough time to receive the money. Many tourists also take money out from ATM machines in Japan. The ones in the post offices typically take American debit cards and have an option for English on the screen.
Toiletries and Medicines
When you don’t speak or read Japanese, it’s hard to find the things you need in a drug store. Even if you are able to find the right medication, Japanese medicines tend to be weaker than the medicines you’d normally use. Pack yourself a little first-aid kit that includes ibuprofen or acetaminophen, bandages, first aid cream for cuts, and cold medicine, along with any prescription medications you take on a regular basis. The hotel is likely to provide shampoo and soap, but if you have a particular brand you like, bring that along as well.
Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews on what to pack for a trip to Japan.