Travel Essentials – What to bring to Japan
If you are reading this blog I am assuming that your tickets to Japan have already been booked and now you are trying to figure out exactly what you’ll need for your trip to Japan. Some of the things listen here may be common sense, some things may be things you are hearing for the first time and others may be things that you remember hearing about but completely forgot about. Either way, when traveling to a different country for the first time it’s always good to have these types of information to fully enjoy your trip. So now i’ll get into some essential things you’ll be needing for your trip to Japan!
1. Light travel bag
(picture source: Anne Worner <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/28652129@N06/15249193196″>Bag It (Mono version) – Explored September 17, 2014</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>)
While you are going from place to place in Japan, you’ll notice that MANY people use the train as it is their main form of transportation used. There are actually many people in Japan who do not own cars and even those who do often end up using the train as it is much more convenient than using the car because it is often very hard to find parking space and even if it were possible to find parking space it is often very expensive. Therefore, with all the Japanese people trying to get to and from certain places the trains can get pretty packed. ESPECIALLY during rush hours and also last trains on the weekend. Also, you’ll notice that you’ll be walking up and down a lot of stairs and you’ll probably be doing a lot of walking around just in general. Because of this is probably best to have a light bag and to not bring much stuff with you.
(picture source: marcoverch <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/149561324@N03/38726369801″>Auf deutsch übersetzen: Different kinds of pills</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>)
It is probably best to bring your own medication especially if it’s prescription medication. But be sure to check all the rules in Japan about what can be brought into the country as they can be very strict. There are pain medication and other medication that can be bought at local drug stores but first it will be all in Japanese and two it may be difficult to find someone who speaks English at the drug stores. But if absolutely necessary then just know that Japan does have a great selection of medicine at any local drug stores.
(picture source: http://www.epa.govt.nz/hazardous-substances/at-home/Pages/cosmetics-and-toiletries.aspx)
Unless your hotel doesn’t provide you basic toiletries or you have specific shampoo, conditioner or toothpaste that you like to use then you really don’t need much. Plus if you ever need good shampoo, conditioner or toothpaste then you can always get them when you are in Japan. And usually if you go to places like don q then they have a lot of imported toiletries as well. But i know for some of you you do have a special skincare routine and so i would bring all the skincare routine stuff with you.
4. Maps and guidebooks
(picture source: Rob Ketcherside <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/29056926@N02/5851530709″>Tokyo Tourist Map 1918</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>)
It’s not very necessary to have these. Plus at this day and age we are able to download guidebooks and maps onto our phones. Also, if you go to any train station their usually have travel guides and maps in English that are free that you can take a look at. Also, there are many information desks at the train station, malls etc where you can ask for direction.
(picture souce: mL. <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/43918254@N00/5268437133″>Etnies Jameson 2</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>)
Make sure to bring shoes that you can slip on and off easily. Depending on where you go to there are certain temple/shrines, restaurants, museums where your shoes will need to be removed before entering. Therefore, just to make your life easier make sure to bring shoes that you can easily remove and easily put on again.
6. Hand towel
(picture source: jeevs <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/67801451@N00/123943068″>concentric, on the rack</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>)
It would probably be best to bring a small hand towel with you as there are many bathrooms that do not have paper towels or a dryer in the bathroom. Although there are many bathrooms with dryers there are also many without any dryers so your left with wet hands and no way to dry them. Also, when you go to temples and shrines there is a Chozuya which you are supposed to use to wash your hands and mouth to purify yourself before saying your prayers. However, there are no paper towels that are there to dry off your hands. Therefore, it would probably be most convenient to bring a hand towel with you. If you’re ok with having wet hands then you can completely skip this.
7. Adaptor or Plug
(picture source: Wouter de Bruijn <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/26646199@N05/14158475984″>Day 90</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>)
The standard voltage in Japan is 100 v and the standard frequency in Japan is 50/60 HZ. If you are someone who travels a lot then you may already have a worldwide travel adaptor and if not then you should probably purchase one as it will be very convenient for you during your trips. You could purchase one once you arrive in Japan as there are so many different electronic shops but you may be able to find a good one for cheap online. It is definitely worth the investment if you plan on traveling a lot.
8. Extra Phone Battery
(picture source: https://www.androidauthority.com/best-portable-chargers-409078/)
When you are walking around all day and you’re someone who takes a lot of pictures with your phone or you are using your phone to use a map app then you’ll probably run out of battery quickly. Coffee places like Starbucks, Doutor, and Tully’s which are all chain coffee shops that can be found anywhere often do have an outlet where you can charge your devices while having your coffee. However, with that being said there are also some starbucks, Doutor and Tully’s that do NOT have outlets either. There are actually many coffee shops in Japan where you cannot charge your devices. Therefore, just to be safe it would be best to carry around your extra battery. And it’s always more convenient to bring an extra battery so that you can charge your device while still being able to do sightseeing.
9. Clothing Depending on the Season
(picture source: davidstewartgets <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/141436406@N04/32053456398″>Art baggage business – Credit to https://homegets.com/</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>)
Summer: It starts getting pretty warm in Japan around end of May to beginning of June. So you could probably wear t-shirts by this time. But you’d still probably need a sweater because it may be still be a bit chilly at times. June it starts to get warm but is also known to be rainy season in Japan. So it is probably best to bring waterproof shoes and bring a rain coat. Once the rainy season passes, in July it starts to get pretty warm/hot. In August it gets extremely hot. It is the hottest month in Japan. So you can wear tank tops and shorts. With long jeans or long sleeve shirts you’ll be sweating buckets.
Autumn: September it is still warm and may even still be hot at the beginning of September. In October it starts to cool down and will become chilly. November you’ll start to feel pretty cold so you’ll need light jackets at this time.
Winter: In December it will get really cold so you will need coats that will keep you warm enough. You will need to layer shirts, sweaters and then have a coat on top. January and February will also be very cold. You’ll still need your full winter gear to keep warm.
Spring: March will still be chilly and you may still need a coat but it’ll definitely start to get warmer. April and May will definitely be much warmer so you’l just need a light jacket or sweater to go out.
If you are looking to rent a pocket wifi device or a prepaid SIM card in Japan take a look at the following website: https://www.genkimobile.com/